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Old 08-04-2012, 22:37   #1 (permalink)
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Question on a legal issue

This past week I was in arizona taking pictures ( I live in Indiana) and going through them I food one I might want to try to show (and if people like it then sell) it is of a man asleep on a bench but he has his arms over his face to keep the sun out of his eyes. In the picture you can't tell who he is and I dint know who he is. I was wondering if I can legally show/display it and sell it. I do not have consent/permission/a release from him because well he was out cold. There are a few others of people just in the streets on many other of my pictures and I don't know if I am able to display/sell those either, so I haven't yet. All my research has contradicted itself. One website says I need no permission due to the fact that the subject was in public, another say I definitely need permission. I've read two articles by lawyers who contradicted eachother as well. I may end up going to a lawyer myself but I was hoping I could get a factual answer from someone here. Preferably an answer that is well supported or one giving a link I can visit that has a defined rule on such things. I really don't want to get involved in a big ordeal with someone I took a picture of trying to sue me or restrict me from using te picture. Thanks for all help given
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Old 08-04-2012, 22:47   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Question on a legal issue

This is going to depend on the law where you are. AFAIK, in the UK you have to have a model release if you are going to use the image for commercial purposes - and that includes selling copies of the image or charging people to view it.
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Old 08-04-2012, 23:18   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Question on a legal issue

not entirely true to the selling of it Graham; in the UK you can sell the image as long as the said image is not used for commercial purposes,it can be sold without permission if it is used for editorial purposes.
model releases where possible are morally right but not always a legal requirement.
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Old 09-04-2012, 00:18   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Question on a legal issue

So in indiana would I not be allowed to sell it ?
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Old 09-04-2012, 10:31   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Question on a legal issue

I was under the impression that (in the UK anyway) so long as the image was not offered for sale, it could be used without a model release. For example, using an image on a website as an example of your work, but the image is not for sale. If you want to sell it you would need a model release. In the case of street photography, the person photographed would have to be immediately and easily recognisable. If the person is not known and cannot be identified, how can anyone subsequently claim payment? How would they prove it was them? (beyond reasonable doubt of course)
Thats just my thoughts, and only applies to the UK Im afraid. We need one of our US contributors to help with the US legal system.
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Old 09-04-2012, 10:51   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Question on a legal issue

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So in indiana would I not be allowed to sell it ?
I live in the UK and know nothing about US law.
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Old 09-04-2012, 10:55   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Question on a legal issue

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not entirely true to the selling of it Graham; in the UK you can sell the image as long as the said image is not used for commercial purposes,it can be sold without permission if it is used for editorial purposes.
model releases where possible are morally right but not always a legal requirement.
I thought the act of selling is in itself a commercial transaction. Profits from the sale are taxable income.
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Old 09-04-2012, 14:54   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Question on a legal issue

I know if you can throw a rock across the mississippi and hit Indana from the west side of the river you can sell anything you want. I say if your face is hidden in a public domain it is fair game. Have you ever been to a mall opening and have your little camera with you. The security there will take your camera away from you after one warning. The store fronts are copyrighted. I was in New Orleans one time on a trolly,,,rolling along at a photographers pace and this old gentle man was sitting behind the driver, I guessed he was his grandfather, beautiful lines and color to his skin, I did all I could do not to ask for a picture because I didn't want to mess with model release. I could have gotten away with it and I wish I would have tried, what a face, I will take it if he lets me next time. I would say between the UK and the USA that we are not that much different in laws for your face on a magazine. I bet PE could put a bottle cap on this as he has all his faces as the main subject
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Old 09-04-2012, 16:00   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Question on a legal issue

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I thought the act of selling is in itself a commercial transaction. Profits from the sale are taxable income.
it is a commercial transaction BUT it doesnt make the image useage commercial.
wither there are profits from the sale or not has nothing to do with the use of the image, for example someone could give an image for nothing to a magazine for example. the magazine could print the image and sell the magazine, thereby making money. but the image itself could be used in an editorial storyline. no model release needed.
If the same thing happened and the magazine used the image to advertise something , thereby making as if the model was endorsing the use of something.... commercial use and model release needed.

the model may have been paid for the image wither by TF or cash, so it doesnt matter if the image is sold after the fact, what matters is the use of the image.

being recognised in an image has nothing to do with it.( only if its a commercial image does it matter )
If you own the copy right you can sell the image its yours.
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Old 09-04-2012, 16:04   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Question on a legal issue

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Old 09-04-2012, 17:55   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Question on a legal issue

I have no idea sorry about the law where you are Jared

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Originally Posted by Dabhand16 View Post
Me too.

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I bet PE could put a bottle cap on this as he has all his faces as the main subject
I've never done a model release form. All my images have 'editorial use only' inserted in the file info which as far as I know is ok for the newspapers I submit too......not sure about images I've sold for advertising
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Old 09-04-2012, 19:34   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Question on a legal issue

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I have no idea sorry about the law where you are Jared



Me too.



I've never done a model release form. All my images have 'editorial use only' inserted in the file info which as far as I know is ok for the newspapers I submit too......not sure about images I've sold for advertising
I have read about it and at one time was going to carry them around with me sort of on the fly permission. When you think about it, and you haven't taken some educational direction, it takes the fun out of it. I have expecteded some leagal ballywho but for the average joe I don't think there's enough money toi be made for anybody to worry. I should ask you more questions as I like to talk to you,,,now how about posting one of your famous black and white pictures,,
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Old 09-04-2012, 19:45   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Question on a legal issue

Chat to me anytime Boofers

Not sure about 'famous black & white pictures'
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Old 09-04-2012, 19:47   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Question on a legal issue

I've done a lot of candids and used/given away/sold a few. I don't give the legal aspects a second thought, no-one has ever questioned me and I wont worry about it until someone does.
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Old 09-04-2012, 19:55   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Question on a legal issue

I've just remembered I sold an image of one of the Royal Family to someone who wasn't using it for editorial purposes.......wonder how I would have obtained I signed model release form.
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Old 09-04-2012, 19:59   #16 (permalink)
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Re: Question on a legal issue

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I've just remembered I sold an image of one of the Royal Family to someone who wasn't using it for editorial purposes.......wonder how I would have obtained I signed model release form.
Maybe they are preparing a room in the tower.......

Or maybe the civil list includes a royalty (if you'll pardon the pun)
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Old 09-04-2012, 20:03   #17 (permalink)
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Re: Question on a legal issue

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Maybe they are preparing a room in the tower......
What and off with my head
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Old 09-04-2012, 20:46   #18 (permalink)
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Re: Question on a legal issue

I wouldn't take a trip if that happens,,,do you think maybe the black and white before anything happens
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Old 09-04-2012, 21:38   #19 (permalink)
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Re: Question on a legal issue

In the UK it used to depend on the use that the image was put to; provided it wasn't used to suggest that the person photographed endorsed a particular product or opinion, it was fine. It was only when the use went beyond that. There was a case in France where a well known image of a couple in a bar had been published all over the place for years; it was only when a bright spark used it to illustrate an article on prostitutes picking up clients in bars that the girl sued for defamation.

These days UK law is somewhat muddied. All this has no bearing on the law in the US, but I expect that it's similar. Google FSA woman or similar for an example from over there.
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Old 10-04-2012, 15:01   #20 (permalink)
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Re: Question on a legal issue

Firstly in the UK you may take photographs of people and buildings etc. in public and you do not require a model release form; the copyright is with the photographer. It is only when/if you publish a photograph that any restrictions might apply. A model release form is just a form of a contract so in many cases other types of contract may be used. So a model release form can be a useful way of setting out an agreement particularly if the photograph(s) may be used commercially. Many stock photo libraries may insist that you have a model release form. If you defamed someone in publishing a photograph, it would not matter even if you had a standard model release form you could still be sued. I think common sense can usually be applied.

We usually use a model release form at my Club's Studio Group particularly when we use professional or semi-professional models. We normally agree that they can use the photographs for their own portfolio to advertise themselves and we will only use the images for non-commercial purposes. This is then fair as no money is involved.
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Old 19-04-2012, 07:56   #21 (permalink)
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Re: Question on a legal issue

... So I take a photograph of a crowd of people...............

Oh heck.....
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