Photographing the public in public displays - Legalities and more?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by WhoTurnedOffTheLights, Nov 9, 2005.

  1. Hello,

    I'm curious about something. I've recently educated myself (or at least
    barely tried) on the subject of photographing or videotaping the
    public....something I don't care much about. I respect every tom, dick and
    jane's privacy in this regard.

    BUT, I wonder what rules or laws there might be in regard to photographing
    and/or videotaping folks participating in a parade or a major sporting
    event? I understand how the laws may very well differ from state to state in
    the US. But wouldn't people taking part in a major parade be subject to
    losing their rights to some extent in as far as being photographed by anyone
    other than the major media? I mean as long as the photographer isn't
    profiting from these photos or videos?

    I'd appreciate any experiences or constructive comments on the subject.
    Thanks in advance.
     
    WhoTurnedOffTheLights, Nov 9, 2005
    #1
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  2. WhoTurnedOffTheLights

    Shawn Hirn Guest

    Free legal advise is worth exactly what you pay for it. I am not an
    attorney, but it seems to me that any participant in a public event on
    public property has no reasonable expectation of privacy. Still, I doubt
    that gives you or any other photographer the right to use a photo of
    someone for commercial purposes, such as an advertisement, without
    getting a signed agreement from that person.
     
    Shawn Hirn, Nov 9, 2005
    #2
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  3. Granted and well appreciated.
    I think I might post this message within a LEGAL NG.
    Thanks by the way.
     
    WhoTurnedOffTheLights, Nov 9, 2005
    #3
  4. WhoTurnedOffTheLights

    cjcampbell Guest

    http://www.krages.com/

    This attorney has written extensively about photographers' rights and
    his book is worth getting.

    As a fundamental rule, though, you have the right to photograph anyone
    anywhere as long as they do not have a reasonable expectation of
    privacy there, such as washrooms, their own homes, etc. Selling those
    pictures is another matter and might have some strings attached.

    As a photographer you have the same legal protections as any member of
    the press. That does not necessarily protect you from people who break
    the law by assaulting you, smashing your equipment, or threatening to
    have you arrested. But it helps.
     
    cjcampbell, Nov 9, 2005
    #4
  5. The question may be more complex that you are thinking. It is not only
    a question of what photos may be legally taken, but also what uses may be
    made of them.

    Some very general comments.

    If you are on public property and those you photograph are also you can
    usually legally take the photo.

    If you ask someone to be in the photo or even to just turn this or that
    way, all bets are off.

    It is not wise to photograph children when you can identify them as
    individuals, or for that matter to photograph them at all.

    Use of identifiable images for any commercial use requires a model
    release.

    If you really want to know, get specific details and consult a local
    attorney.
     
    Joseph Meehan, Nov 9, 2005
    #5
  6. WhoTurnedOffTheLights

    Bill Funk Guest

    Why?
    All they can do is refuse or comply.
     
    Bill Funk, Nov 9, 2005
    #6
  7. Thank you Christopher and everyone else. But it's funny, I would've thought
    this to be an easier issue to target than others. Considering how I
    mentioned Specifically, Parades and Major Sporting Events. Alas, I would be
    off now to post this question in a legal Newsgroup.
     
    WhoTurnedOffTheLights, Nov 9, 2005
    #7

  8. If you walk up to a stranger in the street and ask if you can take their
    picture, they could comply but that doesn't mean they know what your
    intentions are thereafter.

    Of course if they're marching in a Major Parade
    then I'd think they would know that they're going to be videotaped and
    photographed repeatedly....Say, a hundred thousand times or more?

    In a city such as mine, virtually every single parade is covered by the
    local media....Of Course, some more than others with attendances usually
    surpassing beyond half a million.
     
    WhoTurnedOffTheLights, Nov 9, 2005
    #8
  9. WhoTurnedOffTheLights

    Bill Funk Guest

    Parades and major sporting events are very different things.
    Parades are, for the most part, very public, while major sporting
    events aren't.
    Public events can be shot to yoru heart's content, while the sporting
    events very often have limits placed on all sorts of things by the
    owners of the event. Like photography.
     
    Bill Funk, Nov 9, 2005
    #9
  10. WhoTurnedOffTheLights

    Bill Funk Guest

    So?
    If they don't know, but want to know, they can ask. I don't have to
    answer. They don't have to say yes. I can still take their picture.
    So what's that got to do with asking someone to be in the photo or
    turn this way or that?
     
    Bill Funk, Nov 9, 2005
    #10
  11. OH, you see, I didn't know that. That is your mention of limitations on
    photography at sporting events.
     
    WhoTurnedOffTheLights, Nov 9, 2005
    #11
  12. Of course you can. Actually in almost any major city that attracts throngs
    of tourists, you can easily find them shooting photos and video to their
    hearts content with total disregard for their surroundings and those folks
    around them.

    BUT, they would not know what your intentions are after you take the photo.
    That is, whether you're going to go off and post these photos on a website,
    or put up a video on the web. THUS, the legal ramifications.

    Nothing at all Bill. I'm simply trying to revert the direction back to my
    original question which IS ABOUT parades and sporting events. I in turn
    could of course ask what your input had to do with the original
    question?...but your input is appreciated by me regardless....So thanks.
     
    WhoTurnedOffTheLights, Nov 9, 2005
    #12
  13. WhoTurnedOffTheLights

    PTRAVEL Guest

    Always, not usually.
    More nonsense. There's no _legal_ impediment to photographing anyone in a
    public place.
    It may, depending on the jurisdiction.

    Good idea.
     
    PTRAVEL, Nov 9, 2005
    #13
  14. That last sentence is the key. Our original poster has asked the wrong
    question. I assume that when he asks his question in a legal newsgroup, his
    error will be pointed out to him, and he'll get more nearly accurate
    answers.
     
    Phil Stripling, Nov 9, 2005
    #14
  15. Point taken and appreciated Phil.
     
    WhoTurnedOffTheLights, Nov 9, 2005
    #15
  16. Once you ask your use of the photo becomes greatly restricted. You will
    need a model release for most uses. While they may never object or likely
    will not know what you do or care, the liability has been opened up.

    This like all issues is not as simple as it may seem, or as simple as I
    have presented it. If you really want to know, you need to know all the
    details and ask a local legal authority.

    Keep in mind, I did explain there was a difference in taking the photo
    and using it. Just try using someone's embarrassing photo in a commercial
    advertisement without a model release.
     
    Joseph Meehan, Nov 9, 2005
    #16
  17. Generally you can still take the photo, but you may not be allowed to
    display it publicly. Again, you need to check with a local legal authority.
     
    Joseph Meehan, Nov 9, 2005
    #17
  18. WhoTurnedOffTheLights

    Mike Mc Guest

    For me, this begs the question: Do photo journalists or reporters have any "special" privileges in taking or using photos. They don't need a model release to put pictures of kids on the front page of the sports section AFAIK.

    For instance, I had the same question about taking photos at the State Volleyball Finals (High School). If I put these photos up on PBASE for instance, do you think I am in violation?

    Just Curious...

    Mike

    --
    --
    Michael C. McDonnell



    If you walk up to a stranger in the street and ask if you can take their
    picture, they could comply but that doesn't mean they know what your
    intentions are thereafter.

    Of course if they're marching in a Major Parade
    then I'd think they would know that they're going to be videotaped and
    photographed repeatedly....Say, a hundred thousand times or more?

    In a city such as mine, virtually every single parade is covered by the
    local media....Of Course, some more than others with attendances usually
    surpassing beyond half a million.
     
    Mike Mc, Nov 9, 2005
    #18
  19. WhoTurnedOffTheLights

    PTRAVEL Guest

    Sorry, but you're wrong. If you are in public you have no expectation of
    privacy and anyone can take your picture -- no permission is necessary.
    Taking the picture and using it are two completely different questions.
    Regardless of whether you are in public, right of publicity laws in most
    jurisdictions preclude the commercial appropriation of likeness without
    permission (note the word "commercial").
    Sorry, but that's completely wrong.
    I am an attorney.

    Paul N. Tauger, Esq.
    Cal. State Bar No. 160552

    There is a difference. However, if a minor is in public, they are fair
    game, just like anyone else.
    That's a completely different issue and unrelated to the statement re: not
    photographing minors in public.
     
    PTRAVEL, Nov 9, 2005
    #19
  20. WhoTurnedOffTheLights

    PTRAVEL Guest

    Why not? Commerical appropriation of likeness is precluded, as are uses
    that might constitute defamation. The mere act of public display, however,
    is not precluded.
    All the more reasons why the non-attorneys in this group should be careful
    about their pronouncements regarding what is and is not legal.
     
    PTRAVEL, Nov 9, 2005
    #20
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