Confused about photo released in public settings

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Sue Bruce, Apr 22, 2008.

  1. Sue Bruce

    Sue Bruce TPF Noob!

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    I am new here ... but not to photography.

    I need to get something cleared up once and for all! It's driving me nuts!

    If you take pictures of people in a public setting (yesterday's example: the re-enactment on Lexington's Battle Green, MA) do you need a photography release to publish or reprint them?

    I have some great photographs of the 'battle' with muskets blazing and the drummer boys drumming, etc. Some contain children (all dressed in their costumes for the battle) .. others are just adult re-enacting.

    I know that the same answer will apply to a school field day (public event) or photographs take at a market, festival, etc. But I am concerned because some are close-up and clearly identify several individuals.

    Please help!

    Sue Bruce
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Welcome to the forum.

    A big factor will be the use of the images.

    In most cases, it's OK to take photos in any public place. As long as you aren't intruding on some one's 'reasonable expectation of privacy'....so as long as you aren't shooing into the window of their house...it's probably OK. That's for taking the photos.
    What you do with them...that's another matter. For your own personal use, that's OK. For editorial use, that's probably OK as well. If you use those photos in a commercial manner (to make an ad etc) then you will probably need a model release for anyone who is recognizable.

    Of course, laws and rules will vary from place to place...so it would be best for you to consult someone in your area...a pro photographers maybe or better yet a lawyer.
     
  3. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    There was a case in CA (I think that's the right state) where a photographer was being sued by a rabbi for selling his picture for $$$$, a four digit figure. The photographer didn't have a model release and it was a street candid. The photographer won as the judge said that the photo was being sold as art and in limited numbers.

    Something to consider.

    In the US, editorial use does not need a photo release. At this point, just commercial.
     
  4. notelliot

    notelliot TPF Noob!

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    time for a sub-forum.. "photographer's rights, obligations.. ethics, morals, etc etc"..
     
  5. Mystwalker

    Mystwalker TPF Noob!

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    Interesting ... did the rabbi get a share of the profit for this "piece of art"?

    This type of stuff is reason I keep every photo on flickr as "private/friend" - no chance of confusion or misunderstanding.
     
  6. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I don't think so. I seem to remember that he was suing for plenty but got nothing.
     
  7. RacePhoto

    RacePhoto TPF Noob!

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    Ditto to what Big Mike wrote. You can take photos almost anywhere, it's what you want to do with them after that leads to rights and legal issues.

    OK it was New York, the guy was a street photographer, he shot people for years. It was part of an exhibition of his work. Loads of mitigating circumstances. Good reading.

    Here's the case. http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/03/17/news/lorca.php

    Photography and the law is interesting. Keep in mind that answers on this forum are usually referring to the United States, (it seems) unless mentioned otherwise. Copyright laws vary from country to country. Privacy rights vary. You can't take a photo of a government building in some countries. You can't take photos inside royal buildings in Great Britain. You could take photos in casinos, then you couldn't, now you can in Las Vegas, but not in other parts of Nevada. :lmao:

    You can sell just about anything as News or Editorial. Same as what Mike said. You can't sell illegal or photos that were taken beyond the privacy laws. (don't ask me how the tabloids get away with many of theirs)

    No you can't sell reprints of the re-enactment, but you could sell them for a book or magazine or newspaper. You can make prints for yourself. If you wanted to sell prints you would have to have signed, witnessed, model release from everyone in the photo. There are exceptions to this if you had permission from the group and the participants had already granted the group rights or permission for their photographs to be used.
     
  8. artray

    artray TPF Noob!

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    Big Mike,
    I was wondering if you know what the laws are for portrait photography as an art installation in a public place? I also live in Edmonton, AB, and I am researching a proposal for the City of Edmonton for an art installation in a new public library. I have some wonderful portrait photos that I think would be excellent in this setting- I took them at the Heritage Festival in 2009 and 2010- and in MOST cases I asked for permission to shoot first- especially with children.
    Would I need to 'morph' the images to disguise the person or could I use the originals? My original plan was to paint from my photos- but this could be one HUGE project and I'd like to incorporate digital photography with 'traditional' art.
    Thanks for your advice.
     
  9. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    To avoid privacy issues as much as possible, by the way, many photographers and publishers blur out, crop out etc. license plates, names or anything in the shot that would positively identify the individual, his/her address, etc.

    skieur
     
  10. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    This is not entirely true. There are editorial situations when a release is needed.

    Mike said it best, how an image will be used detrmines if it needs to be released.

    It also requires a good understanding of the legal definitions of 'publication' and 'commercial', not the urban legend definitions.
     
  11. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    What does taking a photo have to do with being the subject of the photo? The subject of the photo is never entitled to have a share of anything, the only right they have is not to endorse a commercial product.

    I.e. I invite you to my house and take a photo of you as you come in the door, I can sell the photo for whatever I want and you're entitled to nothing. I can even sell the photo to marketing company and you're still entitled to nothing. The marketing company however can't add a logo or slogan or something too it and publish it publicly without a model release which shows your consent to endorsing the product.

    These rules exist in part not do defame, and have absolutely nothing to do with monetary compensation.

    Heck I could do a model shoot with a paid model with no release, and still sell the photos.


    Your Mileage May Vary. Given the mix of laws you have.
     

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