What are the laws...

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by LittleMan, Feb 11, 2005.

  1. LittleMan

    LittleMan TPF Noob!

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    What are the laws about taking photos of different subjects that are on display in people's yards?

    Like for instance... If you were walking by a house and saw a nice swing in their yard and you took a picture of it... do you have to get permission from them before you post it on the internet?

    Or cars?

    How about people? If you take a picture of a person like in a public place can you post your photo up on the internet? Or do you have to get permission? What if you take a picture of a lot of people in a public place.... like a mall or somewhere like that... is it still the same?

    I just think it would be good to know the laws before I break them and find them out the hard way.. lol

    I know it's probably different from state to state.... so this is mainly for Texas.

    Thanks everyone!
     
  2. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

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    Hey Chris,

    The laws about photographing people in the USA are mainly about suing people for degrading, insulting or mis-representation AFAIK. I really doubt you'd get legal trouble from taking a picture of someone's property, as long as you shoot from public property (i.e. not on their land). However, as you live in gun-totin' Texas, there is a good possibility of being shot by someone, so do be careful not to be mis-recognised as an "evil-doer". I would strongly recommend asking first to be polite.

    People are a different matter. In the UK, the law is simple - a photographer can take any picture they like, use it for what they want and be completely safe (that's why we have the best gutter press in the world). However, in the US, it's my understanding that they can sue you if you mis-represent them - hence the ridiculously long model-release forms. I would guess that you're completely safe in a public area taking multiple subjects, although many malls are private property and ban photography.

    Cars you should be completely safe with. It's common courtesy to remove the number plates (if appropriate) as this can be a way for someone on the internet to steal your plate and get parking tickets / speeding fines etc.

    The rules with photography are very subjective and are probably state-specific with wierd exceptions. There have been several threads on here about street-candids which touch on this subject.

    I would advise you to write a really nice polite letter to the chief of police explaining what you are, why you do it and enclosing an example landscape picture. Ask him/her what the law is regarding the above and when/if you get a reply, photocopy it and carry it around with you. When stopped by a peaked-cap security moron, you can then produce a letter from the chief of police officially authorising you to take pictures.

    All photography is about judgement and psychology. Capturing "real life" involves taking some risks and pushing some boundaries. Have your story prepared, smile a lot, be warm and enthusiastic and people probably will not mind at all. Look shifty, dodgy and sneaky and be prepared for a very hostile reaction.

    Rob
     
  3. Big Mike

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

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    Your safest course of action would be to ask a professional photographer or a lawyer in your area.
     
  4. LittleMan

    LittleMan TPF Noob!

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    Not a chance... I can pull a gun faster then they can:gun:

    Why didn't I think of that... LOL I am good friends with the police chief! I just never think of asking him about it when I'm around him. lol

    I will do that also, I just want to know this bit of info for future referance.

    I got that down already ;)
     
  5. Jeff Canes

    Jeff Canes No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Do you spend a lot of time in his jail? :lol:
     
  6. Artemis

    Artemis Just Punked Himself

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    The March Issue of practical Photography has an article answering these exact questions, you should get it :)
     

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