Pixalo Photography Community

Go Back   Pixalo Photography Community > Photography Tutorials, Links and Guides > Tutorials and Guides

Tutorials and Guides: Discuss The law and photographers...A year or so back I did a post on photographers' rights. Now that I work part time as a ...
Welcome to the Pixalo Photography Community. As a Guest you are free to browse the site, but see what extras you get as a Member here.


Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 24-12-2010, 09:39   #1 (permalink)
Forum Regular
 
Larne's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Warrington, Cheshire, UK
Posts: 738
Larne has a spectacular aura aboutLarne has a spectacular aura aboutLarne has a spectacular aura aboutLarne has a spectacular aura aboutLarne has a spectacular aura aboutLarne has a spectacular aura aboutLarne has a spectacular aura aboutLarne has a spectacular aura about

Image editing O.K.
User's Gallery
Users Camera Equipment List
The law and photographers

A year or so back I did a post on photographers' rights. Now that I work part time as a professional my understanding has continued to develop beyond the dry wording of the legalese into a feel for the application. I thought it was time to put up a new post, share my views, see if people agree / disagree or can add anything.

I know there is a lot of confusion these days about what is and is not permitted so hopefully this thread may help a few people feel more comfortable with their photography.

Copyright

The first thing to cover here is copyright. The relevant piece of legislation is the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 which defines a photograph as an artistic work and so covered by the act. This means that irrespective of the status of the photographer as either professional or amateur any photograph is a copyrighted artistic work and as such has legal rights and protections associated with it.

The act provides the copyright owner (the creator of the work in almost all cases) with the following restricted rights in the United Kingdom: (the following is a direct quote from the legislation)
  • to copy the work
  • to issue copies of the work to the public
  • to perform, show or play the work in public
  • to broadcast the work or include it in a cable programme service
  • to make an adaptation of the work or do any of the above in relation to an adaptation

The act then goes on to state: “Copyright in a work is infringed by a person who without the licence of the copyright owner does, or authorises another to do, any of the acts restricted by the copyright.”

What this means in simple terms is that if someone does any of the activities listed in bullet points above and does so without a licence from the copyright owner then they are infringing the copyright and are therefore in breach of the Copyright, Design and Patents Act 1988.

Expectation of Privacy

People take photographs all the time and in all sorts of places. In some cases the law is very clear cut, in others it is less so, meaning that it is important to know where you stand (sometimes quite literally). It is also extremely important to know how you can use a picture you have taken as there are many cases where it can be perfectly legal to take a picture but not to use it.

Firstly the easy part; aside from certain specific prohibitions under terrorism legislation (and at the moment these generally apply to specific areas) there is no law that can stop you taking a photograph if your feet are on a piece of public property. Even if the subject of your photograph is on private property the fact that you are located on public property means you can shoot away to your heart's content. However, think carefully about who really does own the piece of ground you are standing on - places like shopping malls, train stations and so on are not public property even though as a member of the public you can easily walk in. The owner of a private property can place whatever restrictions on photography they wish so if they want you to stop taking pictures on their property you have to comply.

Rather more complex is how you can use an image. There is a lot of talk about model releases which is where an individual gives you permission to use commercially a photograph of them. Less talked about but just as important are property releases where you want to use pictures taken on or of private property. What is not commonly known is that you do not always need a model release in order to use a photograph or a person or place. For example, do you think the media stop to get model releases for everyone they show?

There are two way in which you can use an image; editorial or commercial. An editorial image is one that is used as part of a story. It attributes no opinions to the person being shown, does not use their image to endorse anything, and makes no statement about the individual beyond the bare fact of their presence in a particular setting. News pictures are editorial (which I guess is where the name comes from) as are street candids, shots captured at events, and other such similar images.

Commercial images are those used for advertising or marketing. It is where the image of the person or place is being used to sell something or where the appearance is being given that they endorse a particular product. To use an image for commercial purposes a model (or property) release is required.

So for example, I can take a picture of you at a public event and put that on my blog without your permission stating that you attended the event; that would be editorial use. However, if I were to say that you enjoyed the event and would recommend it to other people then I am using your image to advertise the event (or future ones) and would need your permission, ideally via a release.

There are some limits to the use of pictures for editorial purposes and this has to do with the 'expectation of privacy'. When a complaint arises the courts should judge whether or not the individual had a reasonable expectation of privacy. So for example if I, standing on public ground, use a long lens to take a picture of you sunbathing in your back garden, then you would have a reasonable expectation of privacy and I would be in breach of your human rights (which is likely the legislation that would be used). If you were walking along the beach then there should be no real expectation of privacy as you are in a public place where it might be reasonable to expect people to take pictures.

I hope that's all fairly clear.

Deletion of images

Can anyone order you to delete images off your camera? Yes, but only a court of law. Not even the police can insist that you delete images and any attempt to forcibly delete images would count as assault (especially as they would most likely have to get the camera off you) or criminal damage. If a police officer wants to have images deleted they would be forced to seize the camera (or memory card) and hold it pending a court ruling on the matter. Most certainly no member of the public or pseudo-police security organisation has any rights in this matter.

Common sense

What I have laid out above is my current understanding of the legal position and I am fairly sure it is accurate. Of course these remarks are passed on to you all in good faith and I would request that no-one hold me liable for any actions they may take based on this information. Please use your common sense.

Common sense is the most useful tool you as a photographer can take into these situations. Yes knowing your legal rights is critical but is sticking to your guns worth it if the result is a visit to the police station, seizure of your camera equipment, or even worse assault by a member of the public possibly even including damage to your gear? There are always going to be times when common sense dictates that you back down, let them win, and walk away to avoid a much greater impact. Is the image in question really so critical or are you just fighting for the principle? If the latter, is this really the time?

In closing

To date I have never had anyone complain about me taking their photograph. A few times, while shooting street candids, I have had people come up and ask why I am taking their picture. I always courteously respond that I am a local photographer working on a personal project. If they want to I show them the picture. No-one has ever asked that I delete the image. I did have one occasion where a couple of traffic wardens told me I could not legally take their picture but it wasn't that great a shot anyway so I shrugged and moved on.

Despite taking pictures in situations where I might have expected to be hassled by the police I have never been and my experience has always been very positive. I know there are regular stories in the photographic press about problems with the police but I can only assume they relate to a very small minority and my experience has been entirely the other way, including having police officers posing for shots!

I hope this information has helped. This is not intended to be a be-all and end-all so if anyone has anything else to add then please do so. If anyone has any questions then fire away and I will try to answer them.

~Niall
__________________
"Good decisions are based on experience - Experience is based on bad decisions."
Always try to learn from other people's experience - it's less painful that way!
------
Find my website here - Photography by Niall Pagdin
Larne is offline  
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
Old 24-12-2010, 10:33   #2 (permalink)
Forum Regular
 
Silver Dragon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Manchester area, UK
Posts: 738
Silver Dragon has a spectacular aura aboutSilver Dragon has a spectacular aura aboutSilver Dragon has a spectacular aura aboutSilver Dragon has a spectacular aura aboutSilver Dragon has a spectacular aura aboutSilver Dragon has a spectacular aura aboutSilver Dragon has a spectacular aura aboutSilver Dragon has a spectacular aura aboutSilver Dragon has a spectacular aura aboutSilver Dragon has a spectacular aura aboutSilver Dragon has a spectacular aura about

Image edit - ASK
User's Gallery
Users Camera Equipment List
Re: The law and photographers

Can this post be stuck in the Library please?... its good reference material.
Silver Dragon is offline  
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
Old 24-12-2010, 10:36   #3 (permalink)
Quite Chatty
 
Aspire's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Wirral
Posts: 52
Aspire is on a distinguished roadAspire is on a distinguished road

Image editing O.K.
User's Gallery
Users Camera Equipment List
Re: The law and photographers

Thanks for the posting, I have printed a copy and will keep it in my camera bag.
Aspire is offline  
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
Old 24-12-2010, 11:28   #4 (permalink)
Pixalo Crew
 
dabhand16's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Dunstable Bedfordshire UK
Posts: 30,252
dabhand16 is a glorious beacon of lightdabhand16 is a glorious beacon of lightdabhand16 is a glorious beacon of light
dabhand16 is a glorious beacon of lightdabhand16 is a glorious beacon of lightdabhand16 is a glorious beacon of lightdabhand16 is a glorious beacon of lightdabhand16 is a glorious beacon of light

Image editing O.K.
User's Gallery
Users Camera Equipment List
Re: The law and photographers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Dragon View Post
Can this post be stuck in the Library please?... its good reference material.
I'll move it to the Tutorials and Guides Forum
dabhand16 is offline  
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
Old 24-12-2010, 13:41   #5 (permalink)
Been here a while
 
Slade's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Wiltshire
Posts: 453
Slade is on a distinguished roadSlade is on a distinguished roadSlade is on a distinguished road

Image editing O.K.
User's Gallery
Users Camera Equipment List
Re: The law and photographers

Nice one Niall, and seasonal greetings to you
Slade is offline  
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
Old 25-12-2010, 09:47   #6 (permalink)
Forum Regular
 
Larne's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Warrington, Cheshire, UK
Posts: 738
Larne has a spectacular aura aboutLarne has a spectacular aura aboutLarne has a spectacular aura aboutLarne has a spectacular aura aboutLarne has a spectacular aura aboutLarne has a spectacular aura aboutLarne has a spectacular aura aboutLarne has a spectacular aura about

Image editing O.K.
User's Gallery
Users Camera Equipment List
Re: The law and photographers

Thanks folks; it's nice to see that for once my obsessive tendency (which results in, among other things, me reading everything I can find about photographers' rights) is proving to be a benefit
Larne is offline  
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
Old 26-12-2010, 12:09   #7 (permalink)
Forum Regular
 
Silver Dragon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Manchester area, UK
Posts: 738
Silver Dragon has a spectacular aura aboutSilver Dragon has a spectacular aura aboutSilver Dragon has a spectacular aura aboutSilver Dragon has a spectacular aura aboutSilver Dragon has a spectacular aura aboutSilver Dragon has a spectacular aura aboutSilver Dragon has a spectacular aura aboutSilver Dragon has a spectacular aura aboutSilver Dragon has a spectacular aura aboutSilver Dragon has a spectacular aura aboutSilver Dragon has a spectacular aura about

Image edit - ASK
User's Gallery
Users Camera Equipment List
Re: The law and photographers

Larne, Credit where credit is due....
That was a Damn good post and deserves to be kept for future reference.

Merry Christmas to you all.

One of my pressies this year was a 16gig memory card......
How things have changed.
When I bought my camera, that size was not available.
When it was, NO WAY could I afford one.
This one was LESS that the first 4gig one I bought.

After extensive testing, I have not yet been able to fill it....
The only thing is, I now have a 16gig card, but only TWO 4-gig's-worth batteries.....
(as in, they run out after about 4 gigs worth of shooting...)
__________________
Trying not to drive faster than my guardian angel flies......
Silver Dragon is offline  
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
Old 07-01-2011, 19:32   #8 (permalink)
Getting Comfy
 
Daggensan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Sunderland
Posts: 185
Daggensan is on a distinguished roadDaggensan is on a distinguished road

Image edit - ASK
User's Gallery
Users Camera Equipment List
Re: The law and photographers

Very informative Niall - thank you
Daggensan is offline  
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Wedding Photographers P-E General photography questions and answers 6 05-09-2009 22:24
Two photographers bain Jokes and Funny Threads 2 05-12-2008 21:57
Are Video Photographers more skilled than Still Photographers ? Dave General photography questions and answers 4 19-10-2008 12:00
SOS photographers Renata S General photography questions and answers 4 06-10-2008 16:11
Pro Website Photographers fujitsu1522 General photography questions and answers 5 21-09-2007 19:49


All times are GMT +1. The time now is 22:38.


vBulletin Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
ReviewPost & PhotoPost vB3 Enhanced, Copyright 2003-2014 All Enthusiast, Inc.
SEO by vBSEO 3.3.0
Copyright © 2006 - 2017 Pixalo.com

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197