candid shots & permission

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Ian Hurst (Troyka), Dec 6, 2003.

  1. Hi all, I'm the new owner of a canon A80 digital camera, and i've been
    experimenting an awful lot since I've had it.

    I have been taking a series of photos on buses and in cafes and other
    pubic places and need some advice or guidance.

    The pics I've taken so far are natural unposed and without the
    knowledge of anyone, so my questions are should I be asking the
    permission of people in public spaces to take photos? Should I ask
    permission of the café owners or transport operators?
    Ian Hurst (Troyka), Dec 6, 2003
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  2. Ian Hurst (Troyka)

    Larry Lynch Guest

    I take (most) of my pictures at AQHA horse shows (independantly and as
    official Photographer for Connecticut Quarter Horse Assosiation (CQHA)).

    Since horse shows are considered "public" events, and I am expected by
    the event coodinators (CQHA) to take pictures, I simply festoon the
    general area with signs telling people "If you see me with a camera in
    my hand, ASSUME I am taking pictures, if you do NOT want your picture
    taken, let me know and I will keep you OUT of the picture or remove you
    from it". Most of my pictures are "action shots" or "Candids".

    After 5 seasons I have only been asked by ONE person to NOT TAKE HER
    PICTURE. (and she asked me not to at LEAST 25 times during the 3 day
    event even though I told her I would NOT and I NEVER aimed a lens in her
    direction)Later I found out this girl had some problems with unwanted
    publicity in her recent past.

    These are LARGE events with from 500 to 2000 people attending.

    That having been said, I will follow-up with this:

    I would not consider taking photos on a public bus, in a Dining place,
    or anywhere that the persons involved might have an expectation of
    privacy, without FIRST getting permission, and making an announcement.

    My only exception would be a news event, and then only if I considered
    the subject PUBLISHABLE.

    A car crash comes to mind, where a pile-up of 6 or 10 vehicles is strewn
    about the Tarmac... It might be a useable photo.. On the other hand, if
    you are "ON THE SCENE" would pictures of dead bodies and or body parts
    be suitable?? I dont think so, even injured/dead people have a right to
    expect SOME courtesy.

    A recent plane crash in my area is a good example. I took photos of the
    crash scene, and the burning houses, and of the wreckage of the plane,
    but when the Pilot and co-pilots bodies were being raised from the
    wreckage, I shut the camera OFF.. Let the long lenses in the TV news
    choppers overhead shoot the gore for the 6 o'clock ratings war.

    They did show the footage, it was insulting to the public, and
    disrespectfull to the families involved, but they got the ratings.

    Just randomly shooting pictures while out amongst the cranky public
    COULD get you a punch in the nose if you are seen. Some people are VERY
    cranky about having thier picture taken. It hasn't happened to me, but I
    have seen it happen.
    Larry Lynch, Dec 6, 2003
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  3. Ian Hurst (Troyka)

    Mxsmanic Guest

    As long as you're in a public place and you don't intend to sell the
    photos for commercial use, you don't need to ask permission (in the
    United States--other jurisdictions may differ).
    Mxsmanic, Dec 6, 2003
  4. Now you're just asking for trouble. Keep the shots from the waist up. ;-)
    Check with your local laws, but usually if the person is recognizable, you
    need a release if the picture will be used for commercial purposes.

    Juan R. Pollo, Dec 6, 2003
  5. Ian Hurst (Troyka)

    Larry Lynch Guest

    I agree, and so does the LOCAL law, but the "punch in the nose" syndrom
    sure looked painful to me.

    You can call a cop, but that wont fix the nose.
    Larry Lynch, Dec 6, 2003
  6. Ian Hurst (Troyka)

    Mark Herring Guest

    I've often wondered about this. Does "commercial puposes" include
    selling a print at an art show? ie do you need a model release to
    sell a print where people are recognizable?

    Suppose you take a picture in Europe and sell it in the US?
    Mark Herring, Pasadena, Calif.
    Private e-mail: Just say no to "No".
    Mark Herring, Dec 6, 2003
  7. Ian Hurst (Troyka)

    Tomgo1 Guest

    if you intend to sell the pictures (a commercial purpose) you need a

    If the subject of the photo finds out later that you sold the photo and
    profited from it you are liable.
    Tomgo1, Dec 6, 2003
  8. Ian Hurst (Troyka)

    Mxsmanic Guest

    No. "Commercial" usually means things like product endorsements, works
    of fiction, advertising, and so on. Mainly uses in which the person
    appears to be something he or she is not, or appears to be endorsing a
    product or service. An art print is just art, so it isn't really
    commercial. Postcards or calendars would be commercial. A photo in a
    textbook or magazine usually would not.

    Potentially defamatory or embarrassing uses such as pornography also
    require a release.

    It's true that the line is a bit fuzzy, just like everything else in the
    realm of intellectual property.
    Not in most jurisdictions.
    Usually it's the jurisdiction of the sale that will take precedence, not
    the jurisdiction covering the place where the photo was taken.
    Mxsmanic, Dec 6, 2003
  9. Ian Hurst (Troyka)

    eas Guest

    notice the spelling of public in the second paragraph! i hope you meant
    public at least.... ;-)
    eas, Dec 6, 2003
  10. Troyka Makes everyone a cup of Earl Grey tea while we hear what "eas"
    Ian Hurst (Troyka), Dec 6, 2003
  11. Take a look at

    It's a court transcript of the ruling against Barbra Streisand in her
    lawsuit against a photographer who simply posted an aerial shot of her home
    on a website.

    Seems that California has very strict anti-paparazzi laws against
    photographing people without their permission. I doubt that this is the case
    anywhere else, but it gives you an idea of the mentality behind the issue.

    Juan R. Pollo, Dec 6, 2003
  12. Ian Hurst (Troyka)

    Mark Johnson Guest

    She's become a real flake in recent years. In fact, wasn't the shot
    part of the coastal project records, which just happened to swing by
    her house dangling over a cliff?

    So every unkind shot in the Inquirer has the permission . . of the
    offended party?

    Copyright is just a right, that even an original artists might not
    own, himself (which is often typical in the music biz, where those
    hoarding copyright may even refuse, suppress, further release of
    certain songs against the original artist's expressed wishes to the
    contrary). It's all just nuts. Copyright law is a shame on the
    international community.

    As for photographs, it's pretty much the same. D. Lange shot photos of
    people. One was made a national symbol. The woman knew about people
    using her likeness. I don't know if they always got signed legal
    documents at the scene, from all the people they photographed. I would
    think - not. Maybe those foundations will now be sued for
    'reparations'. I wouldn't be surprized, at least. And same for all
    those Time, and Look, and NG photos. I can't believe those folks all
    signed the necessary and official forms. I think it's more a matter if
    a) your photos become worth money or b) if you're worth money.

    There is the case of these concerts and various shows, now, posting
    signs that say the use of your likeness by others is permitted. But I
    don't know that you could limit yourself to just taking in shows, with
    those signs. But I can guess, in these times, if you take someone's
    picture they first, will be upset, and they will be much more so if
    you then proceed to pull a legal document from your pocket and ask
    them, in your best lawyerly voice, to please sign here . . and here .
    .. and.

    Mark Johnson, Dec 6, 2003
  13. Hi, Ian,

    The problems are legion. :-> See
    for some of the issues involved.

    I take photos in pubic spaces all the time. And in public, too, but that's
    another story. Have fun.
    Phil Stripling, Dec 6, 2003
  14. The Streisand case was thrown out this week.

    Larry CdeBaca, Dec 6, 2003
  15. Larry CdeBaca, Dec 6, 2003
  16. Ian Hurst (Troyka)

    Paolo Pizzi Guest

    The same applies to all signataries of the 1980 Berne
    international agreement on copyrights: almost the entire
    world with China as the most notable exception.
    Paolo Pizzi, Dec 6, 2003
  17. Ian Hurst (Troyka)

    Paolo Pizzi Guest

    The law in CA makes an important distinction between photos
    taken in public and in someone's home/backyard etc., but the
    wiggling room for lawyers on both sides is pretty ample,
    especially when it comes to celebrities (who typically enjoy
    much LESS protection than regular citizens.)
    Tabloids spend millions of dollars every year in punitive
    damage and legal fees, it's just part of their business and
    they consider it an "investment"...(usually the return is much
    higher than what they have to pay to their victims.)
    Paolo Pizzi, Dec 6, 2003
  18. Ian Hurst (Troyka)

    Mxsmanic Guest

    Copyright has nothing to do with this topic.
    Mxsmanic, Dec 7, 2003
  19. Ian Hurst (Troyka)

    Paolo Pizzi Guest

    The Berne convention also covered image rights.
    Paolo Pizzi, Dec 7, 2003
  20. Ian Hurst (Troyka)

    Mxsmanic Guest

    If you give up your rights because you're afraid of the occasional
    bully, you'll lose them.
    Mxsmanic, Dec 7, 2003
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