The legal point of view...

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by Laura_R, Nov 14, 2009.

  1. Laura_R

    Laura_R TPF Noob!

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    I am new in the photography world, and my question is, can I take a picture of whoever I want and publish it (internet, magazine…)? I guess each country should have their law, but generally speaking, it is regulated? Or how it is in your country?
    Thanks for your help!
    Lau
     
  2. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    In the US, no, you can't just take a picture of whoever you want and publish it. To publish an image of someone you need their permission. Photographers carry Model Release forms for such purposes.
    If a person is out in public, they have no reasonable expectation of privacy so you can take their picture. But, you can't publish it without their permission (model release). You can have the image printed and hang it on your wall at home, because that's not publication, it's personal use.

    The requirements for model releases varies by state, in the US.

    A discussion of exactly what constitutes publication is needed.

    You are not allowed to violate someones privacy to take their picture. You can't put a telephoto lens on your camera and snap shots of them through the windows of their home, or hide a remotely operated camera in a public restroom. If you're on private property you have to abide by the property owners rules.

    You can sell prints of the image to people to hang on the walls of their home, but you can't sell the image to a company that will make 100,000 posters of the image, to sell to individuals to hang on their walls at home.

    As a final note: a model release is for the protection of the publisher of the image and the people in the image. It does not exist to protect the photographer, because the photographer cannot be held liable. Unless, the photographer also happens to be the publisher of the image.

    Be very careful in other countries: other legal systems don't accord the same rights the US judicial system does, like assuming you're innocent until you're proved guilty. In some countries it's the other way around, AND you don't get a phone call.

    Another consideration if you are in another country is copyright law. To a certain extent, international copyright law is bound together by the Bourne Convention, so that is something else you will need to investigate and become familiar with.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2009
  3. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    KmH was not accurate related to the US. See Photography and the Law in one of the forums higher up under Articles.

    You can take a photo of anyone in a public place which does NOT mean public property, but rather a place where the general public has access. You require a model release ONLY for advertising use of the photo. You can publish it in an editorial or artistic use or sell it in a gallery for example without a release.

    skieur
     
  4. Plato

    Plato TPF Noob!

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    I wouldn't do that without first talking to a lawyer. I certainly wouldn't rely on advice from a stranger on a web forum.
     
  5. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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  6. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Ok, I'm willing to learn, what did I mis-state. I didn't mention public property anywhere so......and I take it you CAN sell the image to a company that then makes 100,000 posters to sell?
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2009
  7. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    The New York Court of Appeals didn't address the central issue:

    "The Court of Appeals did not reach the core dispute between privacy rights and photographers' rights of free expression.", though they essentially found for the photographer.

    "The Court of Appeals limited its opinion to the timeliness issue, holding for the first time that claims under New York privacy law must be brought within one year after first publication, whether or not the plaintiff learns of the publication during that period." My emphisis.
     
  8. taskoni

    taskoni TPF Noob!

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    Interesting topic. I was wondering if the "fair use" term can be applied for a still photo as for the film footage
     
  9. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    Here is what you misstated KmH:

    "If a person is out in public, they have no reasonable expectation of privacy so you can take their picture. But, you can't publish it without their permission (model release). You can have the image printed and hang it on your wall at home, because that's not publication, it's personal use." Your statement.

    skieur
     
  10. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    That's somewhat out of context, however.

    Every prior court that took it up sustained both rulings... the one that dealt with photographer's free expression AND the timliness issue. The Court of Appeals limited their opinion to the timliness issue... in other words, they didn't want to touch the privacy issue and realized they could sustain the results of previous rulings with just the timliness issue, so they concluded on that and side-stepped the other.

    This does not diminish the precedent... it only raises an eyebrow and suggests that there could be more debate on this topic... but... this is law... there can always be more debate on any topic.

    I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV. However, this one is pretty evident if you ask me.
     
  11. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Ok that line. I'm still not sure I follow you though.

    Are you saying that you cannot make an image of a person out in public, if they are on private property? :confused:

    Or, how about if you could state it they way it's supposed to be?
     
  12. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    You can take a photo of anyone in a public place and you CAN publish it without their permission (model release) if the use/publication is editorial or artistic. A model release is required only for ADVERTISING USE.

    skieur
     

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