I broke the law!! Advice please


TPF Noob!
Jan 17, 2010
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New Zealand
Can others edit my Photos
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I broke the law I think, but only in theory.

My Kart shots from the other day "crossed the line", and I did not even realise until the marketing manager of the place contacted me and asked me to remove the commerical offering of prints that I had.

Which I did immediatlely.

Her reasoning here was that the drivers of the Karts did not sign a release, nor did the owners of the complex (private property etc) sign a release. I hadnt even thought about it to be honest, but I sure am now, lol. Lesson learnt the easy way.

My idea (still in its testing phase) was to sell prints back to the drivers themselves, not to sell for advertising/promotion etc, but I was on private property at the end of the day, so my bad.

So that prompted me to look up my legal rights and obligations etc only to be end more confused than when I started :confused:

Basically, what I would like to be able to do is go out and shoot whatever I like from a public place and sell the results as prints, ideally back to those that were involved.

For eg: Surfers doing there thing, shot from a public place.

If the surfer was identifiable (kinda the whole point, make the person look epic doing epic things) would I need a release from that person in order offer the shot for sale as art?

NB: Not to sell for advertising/promotion etc.
It seems to much depend on the country you're in.
In Germany you would need release for that purpose, but from what I learned on this very forum, in the States you don't need to unless you want to use it in promotion. Or was it "make a profit" from a picture? :scratch: Selling it as art (to anyone, not only back to the person who can be seen) would be that :scratch: ... oh dear. I don't know... I must admit that I don't really know.
All I do know is that German regulations are kind of strict. Stricter than the American ones...
Thanks Lafoto

I think our laws are closer to the States than to Germany perhaps for photography, I might be best to ask a local pro as you suggested, on their take as to how it applies here.

Ive not sold an image with a recogniseable person yet, so I really should know exactly what I am permitted to do before I get myself into trouble.
Reading through this article it would seem that having a release is the best idea. Although that only refers to ”commercial” use. I'm not sure if selling art prints counts under that or not. As always with legal matters, the best idea is to check with a lawyer, or even just pop into a court and ask someone there if they can give you some advice on how it works.
Thanks RobWyse, thats the same damn articile that is confusing me, haha.
Contact the marketing manager and see if you can stike a deal with them on taking pictures of the kart drivers if you share the profits. I see this at amusement parks all the time without releases. Of course if they dont buy that day at the park they're deleated.
A judge has ruled in a pretty high profile case that you don't need a release when selling as art in New York (I think it's New York). That at least sets a precedent.

But then it would be up to you to prove that doing bulk photos at a place or event of people to sell back to them is art or blatant commercial sales. You'd have to have a way to control the sales to the clients who's likeness is represented in the photo. I'm sure they wouldn't care that you're offering them their own photo. It's when you have all the photos listed in a gallery the all the people have access too. Some one could purchase one of every photo in the gallery.

I'd contact an attorney to be completely sure of the law.
Contact the marketing manager and see if you can stike a deal with them on taking pictures of the kart drivers if you share the profits. I see this at amusement parks all the time without releases. Of course if they dont buy that day at the park they're deleated.

I believe this would fall into the, "You agree to our terms by entering our facility category." Pro sports stadiums, amusement parks, concert arenas, etc... do this.
good point above. You can take photos from your seat at a concert or sporting event, but you can't put those on the net, or anywhere, and sell them. Don't know exact details, but I think even most concert shots are not to be posted on the net even if not for sale. You see them on FaceBook all the time, but I guess it depends on how much they want to enforce it.
Most places don't bother trying to say you can't post the photos online when they have general public access and allow cameras - its simply not feasible and not practical in the modern world - however most will have limits on commercial use of photos taken on their sites. I encounter this with most zoos - you can shoot all you want and post the photos where you please, but you cannot make any income of those photos without the zoos direct permission (it then waves into individual cases as to if you just need their sayso or if they want a royalty from each sale or a one time fee etc....)

I suspect for the gokart place its a case that you don't need the model release (since you are technically selling the photos back to the people in the karts) but that you need a commercial permit from the site owners to take the photos and sell them. As said by others check all this out with a proper lawyer and also consider approaching the place and getting a deal setup with them to allow you to shoot and make your income whilst also not stepping on their toes
I do not know too much about law, but at least here in El Paso,TX I used to do that very often at the speedway without any release form and I never had any problems.
I know that in the UK if you were shooting at a public event and not posing anyone then you wouldnt need a model release / property release. As long as there wasnt any signs or documentation stating that photography is forbidden.

Can you imagine the the total mess it would be if you had to obtain any release at a public event everytime you pressed the shutter button?
Even if you were in the right, a lawsuit could possibly bankrupt you - even if you win. since you are planning to contact the people in the photos (to sell to them) why not just get a release and solve the problem once and for all? Most of them will be flattered and will agree.

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