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Author Topic: Street Photography - legal use  (Read 4820 times)

rdonson

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Street Photography - legal use
« on: November 26, 2005, 04:18:46 PM »

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Legal Use. In most places in the world photographing people in a public place for non-commercial purposes is legal. As long as you are not using these photographs in commerce (advertising for example) or holding the person up to ridicule, you're OK. The use of such photographs as fine art, or for editorial purposes, is generally allowed. But do get appropriate legal advice if your photographs are intended for other than fine-art use.

I really love street photography but I was under the impression that if an image contained a recognizable face you couldn't use it without a model release, even for fine art.  

Can anyone explain?
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Ron

Tim Gray

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Street Photography - legal use
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2005, 05:02:39 PM »

In North America you only need a release if the purpose is commercial, and commercial basically equates to advertising or promotion.  Selling a pj or fa print of Mr. X is not considered commercial.  How would newspapers or magazines operate if they needed model releases for each person in a shot?
« Last Edit: November 26, 2005, 05:04:21 PM by Tim Gray »
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Gary Brown

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Street Photography - legal use
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2005, 06:11:21 PM »

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In North America you only need a release....
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And (in the US, at least), there's no law saying you "need" a model release; rather, it's a defense in case you get sued. Thus, in many cases, it's a judgment call, depending on how paranoid one wants to be.

I thought this was a good, comprehensive writeup on the topic: [a href=\"http://www.danheller.com/model-release.html]http://www.danheller.com/model-release.html[/url]
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rdonson

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Street Photography - legal use
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2005, 09:19:24 PM »

Good point, Tim.  I just didn't know.  I'm also assuming that papers have attorneys on staff and on retainer.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2005, 09:19:56 PM by rdonson »
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rdonson

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Street Photography - legal use
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2005, 09:21:28 PM »

Thanks for sharing the link, Gary.  It's good reading even if my initial impression is that at the end of it the message is "it depends".  
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Ron

John Camp

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Street Photography - legal use
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2005, 11:45:15 AM »

It always "just depends" -- everything is contingent on the circumstances in which the photo was taken, and its later uses. That's why you should absorb what the guy is saying on the danheller site. You still have quite a bit of freedom, but you have to spend some time thinking about it.

Basic rules for the U.S.: If you shoot from public property, and if it's not used for advertising or other commericial purposes, and if it doesn't hold a specifically identifiable person or business up to ridicule or disapprobation, you're okay.

And, of course, you have to be aware that there are some circumstances where taking a photo, even on public property, may be a crime in itself, as in many courtrooms, some military bases, etc.

JC
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Deb

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Street Photography - legal use
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2006, 03:24:10 PM »

There is a good website for legal issues by a photographer that is also a lawyer.  Her blog is photoattorney.com
« Last Edit: January 20, 2006, 01:20:05 PM by Deb »
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