privacy laws on travel portraits

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privacy laws on travel portraits

Postby les11222 on Fri Jan 27, 2012 2:09 pm

If I want to publish images involving people from different countries (for non-commercial purposes as set out by Geoff in his post here on Australian Street Photography + Laws), which country's privacy law applies? The country where the images are published or the country where the images were taken? Also, if the images were taken some time ago, is there a statute of limitation, so that it does not matter as far as privacy laws are concerned ?
Cheers,Les
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Re: privacy laws on travel portraits

Postby gstark on Fri Jan 27, 2012 2:37 pm

Hi, and welcome. Especially to somebody in Beautiful Downtown Bondi.

Yes, I have been known to be a tad sarcastic.

That's a rather complex series of questions that you've asked. Let's try to put some form of context around them, which may help with the answers ....

First of all, there's no easy nor one straight answer.

Whenever you're out shooting, you'll be governed by the laws of the country within which you're shooting.

For instance, in the US, UK< and here in Oz, when you're in a public place, you can pretty much shoot anything that you can see. There are some restrictions, and you also need to understand the difference between what is a public place, and a private place to which the public is granted admission: Bondi Road is a public place, for instance, whereas Westfield in Bondi Junction is a private place to which the public is granted access. Thus, you may shoot anything that you can see on Bondi Road (backpackers are fair game) but Westfield may and do restrict what you can shoot within their property, even though it sort of looks like it may be public property.

You should also be aware that you shouldn't make a nuisance of yourself. Sticking a lens in the face of somebody might be considered to be a little bit aggressive, and might get them a tad upset. Be sensible and discreet if you're wanting to shoot anonymous street type portraits, and be reasonable and courteous with people whom you want to shoot, or those who may approach you.

And be very careful shooting kidlets: the shooting of younger persons carries a slightly different set of responsibilities, and you probably don't want to be charged with shooting kiddie porn, even though most of the time it's only the do-gooders that can see that there's something pornographic in the image that you took of your son playing with his rubber duck in his wading pool in your backyard.

The Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority governs what people may or may not shoot anywhere around the harbour; generally speaking, non-commercial photography is OK, but for any form of commercial shooting, you'll need to front up for a license to shoot. That would include if you're shooting portraits or weddings on a commercial (paid) basis.

The Council For The People's Republic Of Waverley govern shooting on Bondi, Tamarama and Bronte beaches, and similarly to the SHFA, they want to hit you up if you want to shoot commercial images at their beaches. They need to recover the cost of you wearing out the sand, you see ...

I think a few other councils have similar rules to Waverley's, but if you're shooting just for yourself, then you're probably ok.

While in Australia, you can pretty well shot anything and everything that you see; when traveling, the laws of the countries that you're visiting will apply. Try to make yourself aware of what those laws are, and also of any local customs: some people believe that if you shoot their image, you are also capturing their soul. Be sensitive to and very aware of any cultural differences, and pay due respect where appropriate.

Once you've returned home, I'm not aware of any other restrictions that might apply to images that you've already captured, save for those of intellectual property. I've heard of street artists on Venice Beach, for instance, telling people to not photograph their work. While I respect that they think a lot of their efforts ....

Hopefully this helps to give you some idea of just how broad this whole question is.
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Re: privacy laws on travel portraits

Postby Matt. K on Fri Jan 27, 2012 6:00 pm

Just to expand a little on Garys response...you may not photograph any child who is a ward of the state, (NSW). You may not photography any person who is on the surrounds or in, a Court of Law, (NSW), but the moment they step upon the footpath it's open slather. (Just watch the TV news crews go for them). Generally speaking you may display or have published or offer for sale as art, photographs of people who were photographed in a public place without their permission....but I would caution against this if it in any way shows them in a poor light or in an embarressing situation. For instance scratching their bums or picking their noses. Video images are generally the same but take care not to capture or play the audio if they are speaking. The audio comes under the telecommunication laws and there are strict controls on how and when that can be played in public if captured without consent.
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Re: privacy laws on travel portraits

Postby aim54x on Fri Jan 27, 2012 8:29 pm

Some great tips and info there.
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Re: privacy laws on travel portraits

Postby phillipb on Fri Jan 27, 2012 10:19 pm

Matt. K wrote:Just to expand a little on Garys response...you may not photograph any child who is a ward of the state, (NSW). You may not photography any person who is on the surrounds or in, a Court of Law, (NSW), but the moment they step upon the footpath it's open slather. (Just watch the TV news crews go for them). Generally speaking you may display or have published or offer for sale as art, photographs of people who were photographed in a public place without their permission....but I would caution against this if it in any way shows them in a poor light or in an embarressing situation. For instance scratching their bums or picking their noses. Video images are generally the same but take care not to capture or play the audio if they are speaking. The audio comes under the telecommunication laws and there are strict controls on how and when that can be played in public if captured without consent.


So what happens if you take that video while you're here on holidays, you then put it on youtube when you get back home, can you get sued outside of Australia?
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Re: privacy laws on travel portraits

Postby les11222 on Sat Jan 28, 2012 9:23 am

Let's say you took some artistic street photos of adults (nice photos) in New York or Venice, and wanted to publish them in a magazine in London. Which country's law applies?
Next, let's say they were taken 15 years ago, when the person looked a lot different than they do now? Do the privacy laws still apply unaltered?
In most of my photos I have gone back to the person showed the image and asked permission to use it. In the developing world I have used guides who have got permission and or paid the person. I have not used the legal model release documents. I personally wouldn't sign anything, a stranger thrusts in front of me.
Cheers,Les
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Re: privacy laws on travel portraits

Postby Reschsmooth on Sat Jan 28, 2012 9:41 am

I understand that if you take a photo of me on the street in 2012 or 1979, and have it published in any jurisdiction, I have no right to privacy or any other remedy.

Given who I am (shhhh), if you take a photo of me drinking a can of Coke and sell the image to CCA for use in an advertisement, then CCA need to get my permission.
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Re: privacy laws on travel portraits

Postby radar on Sat Jan 28, 2012 9:46 am

Les, I believe that where you publish your photos don't necessarily matter. For example, you have a lot of photos from France on your website. France has some very strict privacy laws. To publish an image without that person's consent can be problematic. Sure, they would have to find out that you are publishing their photo in the first place and they probably can't sue you in Australia. But if someone sues you in France, you may find that you could have problems visiting the country in the future.

This may only apply if the images are published in France but these days, if it's on the web, it is basically published in any country of the world.

Also, this right to privacy in France also applies to anyone in the photo, not just the main subject. For example, on your site, you have a photo you call The Magician. Theoretically, you would need the consent of everyone in that photo as they could argue the right to privacy and they didn't want to published watching the Magician.

Yes, it is minefield in France :(

Search for "Droit de l'image". Someone in France could get a take down notice issued on your images, for example. I don't think it makes any difference if it is for commercial or non-commercial.

I'm not a lawyer so take this for what it's worth :D

cheers,

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