Skip to content

The Public in the Copyright Issue

While I was photographing the cycling for the Bay Crits, I received a question, Brad said “I’d like to see your thoughts about the ‘ethics’ of publishing photos that identify individuals”, and then Heather said that she also wanted to know and asked if I could do a post on it.  So for those of you are interested, I thought I would do a post on Copyright and taking photos in public.

More CorneringThis is one of the photos that came into question.  The riders can clearly be identified, so can I publish them without their permission.  The answer to that question is yes.  The race takes place on a public road, and, according to our copyright laws (Australian) “A personʼs likeness is not protected by copyright.”  It is generally considered fine to take photos of people when they are in public.

The only time this becomes as issue is if you are going to use that image for commercial purposes, which would mean making money from it.  If you are going to do that, they you probably need to get a model release to cover yourself.

There are different rules if you ask people to sit for you or pose.  Did they pay you? Did you pay them?  Who owns the copyright of the photo?

Daylesford Market - 3Another area to consider is what is considered a public area.  You can take photos of people out in the street, streets are generally considered public, but a shopping centre (mall) aren’t usually, they are owned by private companies and they allow the public to enter.  I know many shopping centres don’t allow photography.  The image above was taken at a market.  The market is held in a public area, so it would be safe to assume that it is okay to take photographs.  Though, it is nice to ask people first, but having said that, I don’t think you should feel obligated to.

Some buildings are owned by the federal, state or local governements, and would be considered public buildings, but that doesn’t mean you can go in there and take photos.  Often buildings have rules about the taking of photographs and you should find out what they are.

The place Brad was concerned about was cemeteries, are they private or public?  Good question, I would have thought that most are public, well the ones in this country.  We don’t have many private cemeteries.  By law everyone has to be buried in a public cemetery, unless special permission is gained.  So you would assume that you don’t need permission to take photos of people in them, however this then raises other ethical questions, is it okay to photograph people in times of grief?  Or when they are visiting people who have died?  I can’t answer those questions.  By law, it is probably fine, but ethically, it is a grey area.

Peoplesʼ likenesses
People and peopleʼs likenesses are not protected by copyright. Sometimes, however, other areas
of law, such as defamation, can affect the circumstances in which a personʼs likeness can be used.

That is according to the law here.  To find out what the Australian Copyright laws are you look up the Australian Copyright Council.  They are have lots of information on copyright in Australia.  Another place to check out is “Australian Street Photography Legal Issues” the legal isssues are more for NSW, but most of the laws aren’t that different from state to state.

So, for those of you who aren’t in Australia, where do you go?

U.S. Copyright Office

Copyright Act of Canada (Wikipedia page, sorry, couldn’t find the gov office)

UK Copyright Service

Copyright Council of New Zealand

You get the idea.  It is a very good idea to find out what the laws are and make sure you know them.  Even if you aren’t doing commercial photography, you should know where you stand as far as copyright goes.  You should also know how to protect your own copyright, or that of your images.

To Brad and Heather, I hope this has helped you to understand a little about copyright laws.

About these ads
88 Comments Post a comment
  1. Thanks for the info!

    January 16, 2013
  2. Very good post. The issues of use, fair use, copyright can be so very confusing.

    January 16, 2013
  3. Jerry Stolarski #

    Well written and well explained. However, like you suggested, get that information from the horses mouth. In this case and country (US), I agree, go to the U.S. Copyright Office for full details and laws governing photography.

    January 16, 2013
    • Absolutely, it would be wrong to assume that the laws in Australia are the same in the US. I only know the ones here.

      January 16, 2013
      • Jerry Stolarski #

        I for got my manors, thank you for the informative post.

        January 16, 2013
  4. elchicomorado #

    can you blogging “el camino de la vida” in soloviveysefeliz.wordpress.com please?
    thanks

    January 16, 2013
  5. Good things to think about. Once I took a photo with my cell phone in the grocery store( a rhubarb stalk and some cabbage or something) and was told I was not allowed to photograph in the store. How embarrassing. I never meant to violate any policy just loved the red and green next to one another.

    January 16, 2013
  6. Very interesting and well done review. Thank you for sharing.

    January 16, 2013
  7. Very interesting to know. Thanks for the info!

    January 16, 2013
  8. This is interesting because we had the same problem when we took a photo of kids playing in a public playground. The parents didn’t like it so in the end we have to delete the photo just to appease them. Anyway, we’ll check the links you pointed out in this post. :)

    January 16, 2013
    • Kids are very tricky. If you are photographing kids then you MUST be a pedophile, it is so ridiculous. Though, if they are in a public park, they can’t really stop you, if they don’t want their kids photographed then don’t take them to public places, that is the problem that celebrities have.

      January 16, 2013
      • We know for a fact that people in certain places give a whole lot of story for a photo, and in this matter we were taking photos of the whole park were kids were playing. Its not even something were taking photos of single one of the children. We wanted an atmosphere in our photos that the place is conducive for children and family to bond, but in the end, we just didn’t bother.

        January 16, 2013
      • It can be so frustrating. I used to do netball with kids and I always had parents coming up and asking me who gave me permission to take photos of their kids. They just don’t even get that it isn’t always up to them. I didn’t need their permission. Now putting the kids photos up on the internet and identifying them is whole other ball game.

        January 16, 2013
      • That’s very true. In our case, we always make sure no photos of children are seen in our blog.

        January 16, 2013
      • I would put photos of kids playing netball and when cycling, but there was usually no way to identify who they were and if someone asked me to remove a photo of their child, then I did, but usually it was not a problem.

        January 16, 2013
  9. Appreciate the insight! Thanks!

    January 16, 2013
  10. Deb #

    Just thought I would mention that with my portrait and wedding photography I have all my customers sign a release that the images may be used for publicity purposes (blog, facebook, website, print, etc.). I figure it is just easier to be proactive.

    As for public pictures, I figure if you are at an event that will attract a crowd or media coverage it is fair game, especially if it is adults participating. I try not to photograph children in these circumstances….but of course I have a whole herd of children myself that I can pose so I am lucky in that department (LOL!).

    Copyright is such a battle everywhere.

    (yes, I’m a photographer and I’d love to give everything away for free….said sarcastically….can you tell I’ve had my issues!)

    January 16, 2013
    • Oh yes, it sounds like you have. It can be so hard.

      January 16, 2013
  11. Paul #

    Leanne, I would have thought that being given permission to be photographed was essential. I gather that that’s what you were given when you took the photos of the market musicians and the cyclists.

    They’re also performers (rather than people just passing by in a public space and minding their own business), so there’s no invasion of privacy involved. The granting of permission was implicit in their cases.

    But a private individual going about their personal business could object if they were photographed without permission.

    What are your thoughts on this?

    January 16, 2013
    • Ethically or morally you should probably get permission, but by law you don’t have to. You can take photos of people without their permission. Again, where they are is imperative. They have to be in public. If you had to get permission then there would be no photographs of celebrities out in public going about their business as it would be illegal. I think if you are out in public and you don’t want to be photographed, then look for people with cameras and avoid them. That’s what I do.

      January 16, 2013
  12. Copyrights… Our countries have become political on every aspect of life. It’s epidemic. YouTube is a huge violation, no matter what ‘controls’ they have invoked, once the information is on the Web it becomes public property, like it or not.

    January 16, 2013
    • I don’t think it is politics totally, I think people have just become so paranoid and afraid of the world they live in that has caused all this. Thirty or forty years ago, no one worried about this sort of thing. But today, people are so scared of the internet, of pedophiles, (because if you have a camera and are taking photos of children you must be one) and terrorists, again, if you are taking photos of a public building you must be a terrorist. It is so sad the paranoia people have, and then they pass it onto their kids and their kids become so scared of the world.

      January 16, 2013
      • John is talking about video, though. That’s a whole different ballgame. Legally, you should get permission of people in a video before posting on the web.

        January 17, 2013
  13. A nice compact yet detailed guide to the basic principles of copyright and taking photographs of people and public places. The laws vary in each country and as you say it is the responsibility of the photographer to know what those local laws are. The consequences can be life changing if you get it wrong. Two computer games developers involved with forthcoming military game Arma3 were recently held in prison for 4 months for photographing a military base in Greece. Many others have been imprisoned for longer over the last few decades for similar acts, that elsewhere in the world are commonly allowed.

    January 16, 2013
    • Actually, I can understand them getting into trouble for photographing a military base, I think most of us know that that would be really wrong and could only end badly. I think you have to find out what your rights are and what you can photograph just to be on the safe side. I usually ask permission if I want to take photos inside a public building.

      January 16, 2013
      • Here in the UK many plane spotters take photos of military jets from the roadsides outside military bases, (of UK and USA forces) all perfectly legal, with a few visits from passing military or local police. Because of that relaxed attitude in the UK a few plane spotters from the UK visiting Greece have ended up in prison, which the UK press often react to with outrage. I agree with you, always be polite and ask permission, much safer, especially when in a country other than your own.

        January 17, 2013
  14. Thanks, Leanne! I was just thinking of these very issues since I have many photos of identifiable people depicted in them. Steph

    January 16, 2013
    • Steph, I wouldn’t worry about it if they are in public places, especially in Australia.

      January 16, 2013
  15. Awesome post – thanks for the info – just wondering, if I am asking for donations for my webpage, do I need to get waivers from people that are featured in my blog?

    January 16, 2013
    • I wouldn’t think so, you aren’t selling images of the people, so it is different, I would think.

      January 16, 2013
      • no, i’m not… just trying to get donations so i can stretch my dollar a bit further! Thanks heaps for the info!

        January 16, 2013
      • Good luck with the donations, I have it on mine too, but almost no one has ever made one.

        January 16, 2013
      • ah well – it’s still worth having it on! :)

        xo

        January 16, 2013
      • Maybe you will have better luck. :)

        January 16, 2013
      • You can still images of people without their consent as long as it’s say a fine art print and not selling the image for a commercial purpose.

        January 17, 2013
  16. This is really useful information, Leanne. But no matter what the laws say, there are situations in which I feel conflicted about taking photos (http://beeblu.wordpress.com/2011/11/12/weekly-photo-challenge-wonder/#comments and http://beeblu.wordpress.com/2012/07/02/weekly-photo-challenge-fleeting-moments/) As you say, ethically it is a grey area.

    January 16, 2013
    • I think you are fine with those images, you aren’t invading their privacy. You aren’t coming into their workplace to get them, Did you know that in Australia, you can stand on the footpath and take photos of people in their home, as long as you don’t go onto their property. How strange is that, I don’t think anyone would do it.

      January 16, 2013
  17. I’ve referred to this question once or twice and have the intention of doing a post about it when I find my photos which will illustrate it best. In the UK there is total paranoia about photographing children, in public place or not, so many of the pictures I take of my grandchildren in Germany, eg, in a play-ground, would raise a rumpus in the UK. As far as adults in public places are concerned, asking permission would kill off much of ‘street photography’, which plays a big part in many great WordPress photo blogs. On the other hand, until I went to Romania I would never have thought of taking photographs of a wedding service in church or at a funeral. There it was normal. Fairly recently I was told I couldn’t take photos in a shop; I took them anyway, from the waist!

    January 16, 2013
    • I can remember growing up and my aunty would go to weddings and take photos of absolute strangers, meaning she had no idea who was getting married. It wasn’t an issue back then. I think the total paranoia about the internet, pedophiles, and terrorism have ruined it for normal people like us. One day people will wonder why there is a whole generation that the public have forgotten, because in our public archives there are no images of them.

      January 16, 2013
  18. Thanks, Leanne, for taking the time to respond so thoughtfully. I hadn’t even thought about the issues that might arise from taking photos in shopping centres. I found a surprising definition of ‘commercial purposes’ at the Arts Law Centre of Australia – “Commercial purpose” involves using the photograph to sell something ‘other than the photograph itself’. So apparently it’s ok to sell a photo of a person or persons taken in a public place provided it doesn’t endorse another product or defame, etc.

    I also read today that pictures can be taken on trains and train stations in NSW (public property) but not in Victoria (owned by Connex)!

    I guess the most important thing, as you have pointed out, is to know the local laws. The Arts Law Centre also recommends keeping a copy in your pocket just in case you get harassed – which is bound to happen, as some of the comments above show.

    Thanks again, Leanne. I’m going to start making a list of ambiguous laws around photography and see how many I can challenge – in the name of Art, of course!

    January 16, 2013
    • I think that sounds right Brad. The train thing is a funny one, you can take photos on trains and in train stations in Victoria, but only if you get a permit, to get a permit you download a form from Connex and sign it, that’s it. They don’t approve you, but you have to have that on you. However, that permit doesn’t cover you for the city loop, there is no photography allowed there at all. Paranoia in the extreme. I think Flinders STreet station is the same.
      I don’t really photograph people in public, except in an official capacity, so I never worry too much about the laws concerning it. I prefer my images with no one in them.

      January 16, 2013
  19. Reblogged this on La Lunatica and commented:
    For those who don’t wanna be invaded

    January 16, 2013
  20. Thank you for sharing this, and there has been a discussion over taking photos in public area, mostly among the street photographer. You are absolutely right, that we have to check the law’s regarding taking photo in public area in one country and try to obey it :)

    January 16, 2013
  21. This is a great, informative post!

    This is something, even as a strictly amateur, non-commercial photographer, that I’ve run into. Like you; it makes me sad (and sometimes a bit annoyed) how some people react to seeing someone take photos in a public space. Of course discretion and sensitivity is needed, but being shouted at/abused for taking photos can be off-putting.

    I hope you won’t mind a link to a post I wrote last year about this. It does have links to other information on laws in England, Scotland and Wales. http://imaginationisspicy.wordpress.com/2012/10/03/photography-in-public-places/#more-1521

    January 16, 2013
  22. My understanding is in the US as you say is if you plan on selling it you must have a model release. There have been examples of a National Geographic photographer who photographed people in other parts of the world without their permission and was sued a number of years later after the photo became famous.

    January 16, 2013
  23. I’ve stopped taking photos of my sister’s animals and posting them as she has hinted that she doesn’t like it, and they are in her house, I have to abide by that. Had it been in my house, that would have been different. I also try not to capture children in my pictures.

    January 16, 2013
  24. Wonderful post, Leanne. I don’t do much street photography, but I love what others do…
    Oh, and if the Old Homeless Guy in Paris has his dog dressed up in a costume for the holidays, toss a Euro in his hat before you take a photo…I saw what was almost an ugly confrontation once with a tourist who didn’t understand that!

    January 16, 2013
  25. Liz #

    Great post Leanne – interesting, clear and informative. One thing I think worth considering when making an ethical calculation about the appropriateness of photographing a particular individual is that there are people who have both religious and cultural objections to their images being captured and its not always as simple as paranoia.

    January 16, 2013
  26. Great post Leanne. I do a lot of stock photography so copyright is a big thing. Even for commercial purposes provided the subject is in a public place ‘in theory’ there is no need to get permission provided you do not attach values to the subject that are not theirs. There was a case in the USA where a waterskier was photographed and the shot used to advertise Bourbon (I think) anyway they threw in a model in a bikini for good measure, turned out the waterskier was a lay preacher who successfully sued, not for being photographed without permission but because they had attached values, women and booze, that were not his. Most agents now want a model release just to save any hassle

    January 16, 2013
  27. great post!

    January 16, 2013
  28. Interesting article.

    Whenever practical, I will ask if i can take a photo of people but if I think it will spoil the moment by asking, I will take the photo and tell the person what I have done and then ask if it’s OK. I usually give them a flyer with my contact details and encourage them to contact me if they object afterwards. Usually these photos are on my blog and not for commercial purposes. If there are any objections I delete the photo, simple.

    There are very few objections and mostly people are flattered. Of the objections I do get, nearly all of them are not because the person objects to their likeness being used, or me taking a photo, it’s because they want to make money out of me and I won’t play that game, simply and plainly this – they see a red-light opportunity, even though the photograph is not for commercial purposes. Well, I don’t subscribe to this school of extortion so I will simply remove their photo rather then give them any money.

    January 16, 2013
  29. This is very timely (for me, anyway) even though I live in the US it gives me an idea and reminds me that i need to learn the laws before i embark on my next adventure.

    January 16, 2013
  30. travelrat #

    A grey area indeed! Generally, in UK, you’re all right if the picture is taken in a public place, and used for editorial purposes only. Entirely different story in France … or so they say; if it’s so, why aren’t all the paparazzi in jail?

    I took a photo in France with a recognisable person in it to illustrate a magazine article. The Editor rang to ask if I had permission; I told him she was Dutch.

    ‘That’s all right, then’ he said.

    January 16, 2013
  31. As always…you rock! ;oD Thank you for your awesome information. (I just said that in my best–which isn’t all that great–Austrailian “accent.”)

    January 16, 2013
  32. Hi, may I post my two cents on this issue? It’s a public place so the answer would be, Yes. ;-)

    This is the key to the question at hand. Public versus private. If you are in your home and we photograph you we’re in trouble if you are in a public place and part of the background then that’s life, get over yourself. You have the right to get out of the way, you do not have the right to hinder me in anyway. In matters of law the rulings are already made for us. The next time some stranger debates you in a public place on this issue point to the nearest CCTV and ask them if they are going to see the person behind that camera and make the same demands. Wish them luck with that.

    If we photographers were in the wrong there would be no CCTV in public locations. Our very freedoms are used against us to make those things legal. But that’s a debate for another day and moot considering the subject at hand.

    You should never show or delete images on your chip. Couldn’t do that with film. Now John or Jane Q Public are breaking the law if they make this request. Can you see the contents of his pocket? The police need a search warrent, so do they. To obtain a search warrent either the police or a member of the public must ‘Show Cause’ that is to say they must first convince a judge that there was malicious or illegal intent. As long as you are not hiding in the bushes with a 600mm lens then you are safe as you are not breaking any law standing in a park with a camera. If you manage to make a commercial picture of a public space you can still sell it without their permission. If the person in question recognizes themself then you’ll have to cough up some dough, 25 or 50 bucks, scale, if they are in an entertainment union. If you sell it to your local paper then thats journalism even less permissions are needed and no one gets paid except the photographer and thats a paltry sum indeed. If they seek to sue you a lawyer will tell them the same.

    Photography copyright isn’t complicated at all. It’s the easiest copyright to establish. Who owns the negative holds the copyright. It’s that simple. It may be a picture of you but it’s my picture. The subject has no claim unless they wish to buy some. I discount my fees for those who don’t mind me using their likeness for ads. Conversly I charge more for those who wish to buy the full copyright. In the digital age the negative is the same as the ‘RAW’ format in your camera. For my Nikon the file extension is ‘NEF’ cameras have the ability to shoot in smaller file formats such as JPEG. My advice, don’t do it, ever. Save your RAW files to a disk before manipulating the file. Keep an unedited copy, thats your protection. In the old days if you worked for a newspaper they gave you the film they processed the film. They owned the copyright. This is one reason why the digital age has killed the staff photographer.

    When I am shooting outdoors I hand my card to anyone who asks, diligence and research are their protection.

    When we are outside and using available light or an on camera flash we are journalists recording our lives as we see fit. It is a protected right in most countries. Add some stand lights and reflectors and you’ve just gone commercial you only need the permission of your subject. Since they are sitting there lifting or lowering their chin or tilting their head this way and that then permission is implied, and those people in background should get the hell out of the way anyway. To make it a ‘closed set’ you will need a permit from someone then you hire the police to chase them away. ;-)

    January 17, 2013
  33. In the U.S., the issues you have discussed would come under the names copyright and privacy. The copyright refers to who owns the photograph (or other produced work). If you are just out shooting, it is obvious that you own it. If you are shooting for hire (or as a job), it will depend on the terms of the contract. I would expect that wedding clients would want to own the photos, but you would retain the exclusive right to reproduce them. U.S. copyrights go on forever and ever (or 75 years after the death of the artist, whichever comes first).

    The right of privacy is difficult to define, since it is based on case law, rather than written statute. And yes, it could differ from state to state. But it generally centers on whether a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy. There is no reasonable expectation of privacy for things that happen in public places. It is more reasonable for things that happen in private places. Permissions can always be given to expand on the photographer’s abilities to shoot.

    Two issues are related to this. One is whether the subject of the photo is a “public figure.” Public figures (think celebrities) have a generally lower expectation of privacy. But they still have one. If they sued more often over inappropriate photography, the paparazzi would need to rethink their trade. The other issue is photos taken for commercial purposes. Generally people have the right to not have their images used to sell things. They can give permission, though, and if they are paid, permission is part of the contract. A few years back, a windbreaker company took a public photo of President Obama in their product, and used it to sell the windbreakers. The White House was within its rights to ask that the ad be taken down. It was.

    Finally, children. And here is the moral question. Fifty years ago, shooting children would not have been an issue, but since then, stalkers, pedophiles, and other bad people have been far more publicly active than when I was a child. In fact, I use the word “shooting” above, but it is probably not the best choice of words, since it has multiple meanings. Certainly, if one is asked to stop photographing children, one must. And certainly, given the issues involved, asking permission is a good thing. If permission has not been gotten, it would be best to avoid posting photos of kids that are easily identifiable. And all you have to ask yourself is “how would I feel if my photo resulted in harm to that child.”

    January 17, 2013
  34. Great article. I’ve had people ask me if I asked permission to post photos of people I don’t know (street photography) on my blog, and I just explained to them that I didn’t need to ask permission since they were in public. But this is a much better explanation.

    January 17, 2013
  35. very useful info! thank you!

    January 17, 2013
  36. thank you Leanne for taking the time to post this information, I can see from the comments those from Australia definitly appreciate your effort! I just did some research on the Canadian laws when it comes to photos and as you pointed out it is difficult to find the information…the Wikipedia site is copyright information…I’m interested in the laws regarding taking photos…I’ve found a personal blog published by a Toronto photographer who has a complete section on the laws in the Toronto area(unfortunately the blog appears to be dormant at this time), he also published a printable pdf on Ontario Photographers Rights, of course he also published a disclaimer with it…apparently we in Canada have to contend with Civil Law, Federal Law, Provincial Law and Municipal Law! I do have four government links for further information but not one specifically geared towards the legalities of the taking of photos…as you can see it will take time to figure it all out…I may send this fellow an email?
    I’m wondering if I should do a post to publish the information I’ve come up with…
    Again…thank you for this post…I’m sure many will find it a valuable reference tool…

    January 17, 2013
  37. I’m really a bad one, at times to use .. somebodies photos – but if there is only one copy through google, I don’t do it. Especially if I write about people, companies or places in Sweden … one guy contacted me – but because I had stated his name on the photo link – he forgave me. A tricky one … Thanks for all this great information. I think the laws are the same .. in most countries.

    January 17, 2013
  38. i have to say that this is a very well balanced piece

    January 17, 2013
  39. Very helpful. Thank you.

    January 17, 2013
  40. Very well written and thorough.

    January 17, 2013
  41. Good info and food for thought. Thanks

    January 17, 2013
  42. Great shots, and an interesting post, Leanne. The law seems to be slightly different everywhere. From time to time in the UK they try to tighten it up (ie make it more difficult for street photographers), but we’re OK at the moment.

    January 17, 2013
  43. Nice post – and good work on demystifying some of the tough bits on some very confusing legislation!

    January 17, 2013
  44. Food for thought. So many grey areas and getting muddier by the day with masses of instant images flying around social media and the image libraries.

    January 17, 2013
    • That is so true, our new smart phones are making it muddier and muddier.

      January 17, 2013
  45. Wow … you certainly stimulated interest with that post didn’t you? It’s really nice that folks could come together to exchange information in this way … and your post was the nucleus around which they all spoke out. I particularly liked the reply by Savage … was quite informed and seemed to side with the rights of the photographer which would have been my position as well. As long as you’re not identifying folks by name I do not think there is an issue. 300 likes – impressive … 66 responses – even more so. Nice job. D

    January 17, 2013
  46. bev #

    Reblogged this on RIM productions and commented:
    I think this is a great article on copyright in regard to using public images

    January 17, 2013
  47. U.S. law is very similar, with the same restrictions. If it can be seen from a public place, it is considered public. You need no permission and owe no royalties. Like in Australia, it all changes if you use someone’s image in a way that it can be construed as an endorsement, or a works for hire.

    January 17, 2013
  48. LizzieJoy #

    Personally I’m not comfortable taking photos of people without their permission. It feels like an invasion of privacy and I would hate it if someone did it to me. I remember, when I was in Morocco, I wanted to take a photo of a water seller in colourful costume. I gestured to him my wish and he held out his hand. I put some money in it and he smiled and posed beautifully for several photos. I was happy, he was happy – no infringement of privacy. On the other hand, if a person is in the public eye – celebrities, sports people etc, then they have to expect to be photographed.

    January 18, 2013
  49. Wow really useful information, you’ve helped explain a lot of things for me as well! Thank you Leanne!

    January 18, 2013
  50. Here in Africa we have to be careful about pictures of the police or army or any government building. In certain other African countries the people who have been scarred or maimed dont really want their pictures taken, and I cant blame them. Though if you did take a few shots of their ‘good’ side and showed them that their disability or scars arent display, then they seem to be quite happy. In some Muslim countries you need to be careful of taking pictures of the women as this is really frowned upon.
    Before we were in Rwanda everybody told us that photographs at the airport were a no-no due to the shooting down of the previous presidents plane at the airport. Yet when we visited the country in December 2012 they had no problem with clicking away to my hearts content. So it just goes to show that what may be forbidden today might be allowed tomorrow.

    Your article was well written and there were mainly very good comments which were food for thought. And the pictures of the trees and the attempts to replicate infra red photography were pretty good.

    January 18, 2013
  51. Great info here, Leanne…and thanks for the various links!

    I tend to shy away from including recognizable faces in my work, and will normally ‘smudge’ them out. It’s a matter of ethics with me…I would never do ‘graveside’ shots, because I feel that is disrespectful–and respect for others doesn’t seem to be too widespread these days.

    I am, however, going to start carrying small ‘releases’, in triplicate, just in case. A verbal release just doesn’t hack it, as I found out last summer after taking some portraits of two little Dutch boys at the beach (with their parents’ permission and the understanding that I would be posting them on my blog. Several days later, I had an angry comment from the father, demanding the pix be taken down, as he “didn’t realize’ they would be posted–all over the world! Apparently, they ended up being Re-blogged by some pedophile, and of course, all hell broke loose!

    Since then, I have avoided people shots, though I could have taken some great ones! Unfortunately, there are some really nasty people out there…which is why I stick mostly with Nature and Architecture!

    January 18, 2013
  52. My thoughts are that if you can be seen in the public, you can be photographed.
    Most cities have CCTV, do people object to being filmed by that?
    Even TV networks use footage from the streets without consent.

    January 18, 2013
  53. Great post with useful information. A question every photographer should consider.

    January 18, 2013
  54. Your post and all the comments make for very interesting reading. I think it all comes down to common sense. If I take a photo of someone with Justin Beaver for his blog I always say it’s for a blog and is it okay to post their photo. I haven’t had anyone say no yet. I make an effort not to post photos where people I don’t know can be identified on my own blog. I think it’s just good manners. And if you are in attendance at something like the cycling then I would think the people photographed would be thrilled to see themselves in such great photos on your blog.

    January 18, 2013
  55. petit4chocolatier #

    Leanne, informative and excellent post !!

    January 19, 2013
  56. I shoot a lot of reference photos for my artwork. This is very useful info…I wonder how similar US laws are?

    January 19, 2013
  57. Good n very valuable information..thanks for sharing as i usually never thought about it

    January 19, 2013
  58. I think on this sensitive issue, the photographer has to be aware of a number of points.

    Ownership of the shot/image/photograph remains until death do you part, with the photographer who took the shot.

    The ability or freedom to do what you like with that shot, is an entirely different matter.

    A shot taken in a public place, where photography is allowed, is up for grabs in everything except selling it. You can publish it wherever you like, but you may not sell it. Unless you have written permission to do so.

    When I started out in model photography, I took a lot of shots of a certain girl. Published them on flickr and in my portfolio etc. We then had a row and the friendship fell apart. Happens all the time. But then she asked that I remove all shots of her from everywhere I had them.

    Now bearing in mind that they were part of a portfolio and my online presence, removing them would just diminish overnight my collection. She had no problem with anyone else posting shots, just the ones I had posted.

    The same day, I got an email from ClikPic where I host my site, stating they’d had a complaint that I was displaying images without the owners permission.

    In short, I decided to fight it. The owner of the shots is me. They were taken with full permission of the subject matter, and, I was not attempting to sell them. I explicitly had stated none of my online portfolio model shots were for sale.

    So I replied to the email asking them [ClikPic] if they trying to deny me my photographer rights. I explained to them that the shots were legally mine by copyright and intellectual property rights. I was not selling them, therefore to insist I remove them, was denying me my rights. As they were/are a photographer hosting site, were they making a ruling on this for all photographers?

    They replied, nothing to do with them, sort it out between me and the subject.

    To sell an image that clearly depicts someone, whether in public, private, street candid etc etc, you must have permission. The recent row with the William and Kate story has brought this law to the forefront in photography circles.

    To end this comment :) I ended up removing all shots of the girl, for one simple reason. I do not want shots on display of someone that does not want me displaying them.

    As photographers, me always be aware of other people and their opinions. We don’t always have to agree with them, but sometimes it’s best to concede.

    January 19, 2013
  59. Little Brown Tomato (LBT) #

    I appreciated the information about copyright. I’ve really had to research in relation to photography. Thanks for the reminder! And about these photos… you’ve always been able to capture motion very well. I like these!

    January 20, 2013
  60. Excellent post Leanne. Topical and well put together. The subject brings out many & varied comments. I try very hard not to include clearly discernable people images in my pics. It was a good reminder for me about private & public places… and to think before I assume I can freely click :)

    January 22, 2013
  61. Thanks for initiating such an interesting and thought-provoking set of responses, Leanne.

    January 23, 2013

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. The amazing Contax AX and ‘forbidden’ photography | grumpytykepix
  2. That Belongs to Me – More on Copyright « Leanne Cole PHOTOGRAPHY

Discussion and comments are encouraged here, as long as the spirit is the same as this blog.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 26,784 other followers

%d bloggers like this: