UK photographers: the law and your rights: discussion

Discussion in 'photography, graphics & art' started by editor, Feb 10, 2007.


More photography laws?

  1. Yes

  2. No

  3. Restrict it to professionals

    0 vote(s)
  4. Create a license/register for it

  5. Am busy stalking someone

  1. portman

    portman Mr Grumpy

    I've only ever had the 'oi, you can't take that here!' treatment the oncve and that was in the Broadgate development right by Liverpool Street station in London. Simply because the whole lot is private property and the security at that place seem to be particularly zealous. I've taken a fair few images down at Canary Wharf, mainly in the area between the tube station and Heron Quays DLR and never had any hassle at all, even though as far as I know, that is all private property as well. Guess I have to put that one down to luck more than anything else!

    Any other restrictions in what I take are simply me being respectful of other people's privacy, and to a certain extent, being aware of the suspicious social climate we live in. For instance, I never go down to Leigh-on-Sea with the camera, on my own, on a hot summer day when the crowds are out, simply because there is an assumption held by some people that a lone middle aged male with a camera by a beach full of kids is up to no good. A sad sign of the times but I'd rather avoid any unwanted hassle. However, when I'm out with the other half in such a situation, having a camera never seems to be a problem. It's not that I don't do the occasional candid - it's just that I'm careful about the who, when and where of it.
    duncanh64 likes this.
  2. nick1181

    nick1181 New Member

    Is this to do with paranoia over CCTV cameras? ie: If you take a picture of one, you're obviously a terrorist - if you even get a camera out when you could be at risk of photographing a CCTV camera you're a threat...

    and the UK is absolutely swarming with the fucking things. Have you seen the little coffee-selling kiosks at the big London railway stations? They have three CCTV cameras pointing at the person selling the coffee.

    The ones in the Mall in Brighton get very excited if you take photos of them. Big Brother is very sensitive about people looking back.
  3. Louloubelle

    Louloubelle Well-Known Member

    I've walked all around Canary Wharf taking tons of photos, even films, and never had any kind of trouble, whereas just about everyone else I know has been stopped from filiming / taking photos.

    I must look like the anti-terrorist. Or something.
  4. e19896

    e19896 kill all ANARCHIST R.I.P.

    Alright here is something for us all to talk about… taking images of people i.e. gigs and events- what is right, what is wrong? see here: I posted some images of wimmin at a burlesque night in Sheffield, half undressed, having been asked on the night itself to take images. There was a bad vibe and there has been some e-mails and conversation following me posting the images (now removed) and I’ve had it before. So, in context one is feeling that taking images of people is not worth the fucking hassle. We, as in a circle of friends, think that no images of children shall ever be posted by us at least and we are coming to same thought about images of events and people in general. Some of us are of the thought that we shall not do photos of events or people again but instead stick to the abstract, urban & bucolic. Is this paranoia on my part? What are your thoughts?
  5. Stanley Edwards

    Stanley Edwards 1967 Maserati Mistral.

    I never publish work of recognisable people without at least verbal permission. It's only polite.

    Interesting that you ask now. I've just been reading a thread on the BJP forum with a link to a Flickr thread about a girl who's family is apparently taking V Mobile to court because a CC rights image was taken from Flickr and used commercially without the models consent. It will be interesting to see who blames who and whether the amateur photographer gets in to trouble.

    Most stuff about putting photographs on the web is only polite and respectful. But, it's always worth reading the T&C's of sites like Flickr completely and being sure you understand exactly what you're getting into.

    Do you behave very differently in private situations compared to public domains?
  6. blackadder

    blackadder I knew a girl named Nikki

    Interesting this, I take photos of football fans and they get published without permission or a blessing and for the most part the subjects are fully reconisable.

    Often the pics include children.


  7. e19896

    e19896 kill all ANARCHIST R.I.P.

    It is aint any the weather is doing wonderful things round here so one is going to take some images and ill come back wed read and add more thoughts.. keep it polite i need feedback as it has bugged me for a while this subject..
  8. stdPikachu

    stdPikachu Plughole in bathtub curve

    Legally, you're allowed to take pictures of anyone and anything in a public place, and you only need a model release if you intend to use the works commercially.

    Of course, it's always good manners to secure everyones permission. There is also the possibility that you might be sued for defamation of character is you, for example, take a picture of someone snorting a line of charlie and then posting it all over the web without obscuring their face.

    The CC license in question doesn't stipulate that consent has been acquired, so the photographer is negligent for allowing this work to be attributed under a license that allowed commercial use when a model release was not secured.

    However, Virgin are the ones most in the shit because they didn't call down to the legal dept. to ensure that a release was obtained. I don't really see how CC can have any blame in this, any more than if I invented a "everything this sticker is stuck to is FREE!" and some wag printed one out and stuck it to a Ferrari.
  9. johey24

    johey24 what a wonderful world

    Hi Enumbers

    Been having some thoughts about this meself as of late, esp as I tend to take a lot of photos of people on the streets around me. I am NOT a PC person (in fact, I detest the word and the ones spreading its gospel), so view my response from this tainted perspective.

    We ... think that no images of children shall ever be posted by us at least
    Not sure if I understand you correctly, but if I do , my immediate question is ... Why not? Children are lovely. Why should we not post photos of children. I have nothing to hide or to be ashamed of when I take a photo of a wee one. Gosh .... Because there are a few sick fucks in the world should all children be denied something natural: the love and adoration of their community? In this regard China has a lot to teach the West. Really. These folks are awesome with their kids.

    Some of us are of the thought that we shall not do photos of events or people again but instead stick to the abstract, urban & bucolic. Is this paranoia on my part?
    I think it is a bit paranoid, indeed. Even worse, it is bending to the myopic constraints and confines of the Politically Correct minority .... and it is BS. (Sorry, I feel strongly about this - no insult intended to you). If you wanna do something stupid / funny / even mildly interesting in public and I happen to be around with a camera, I will shoot away. That photo then belongs to me as I was observant enough to catch you doing this something. I will do with this photo as I please. If you do not want me to take your pic, stick to the norms as accepted by the society in which you live. (Yeah, I know. That opens another can of worms ...)

    However, if I bring my cam into the privacy of your home or into a closed group and I start shooting away, those pics should be taken with your permission. And definitely published only after you have agreed to such publication.

    ... having been asked on the night itself to take images ...
    OK, so if it is a compromising photo you are talking about ( I did not see it), the next question should be: has the subject given me permission to publish these on the web?

    PS: Good one stdPikachu.
  10. weltweit

    weltweit Well-Known Member

    Has all been said really but .. it is not the taking the picture that matters, it is what you do with the image after that that causes issues.

    For commercial publishing, if you want to be safe, you should have a model release from everyone recogniseable in the image.

    For publishing for fun on a web gallery I doubt that you would get into trouble with street shots without releases and if you would then a lot of people would be in trouble.
  11. Stanley Edwards

    Stanley Edwards 1967 Maserati Mistral.

    But, it's hardly street shots that e numbers posted initially. It's a private venue possibly. Over 18's only maybe. Much as I hate rules... sometimes they're good.

    Posting on the web for fun! Anyone with a computer on the net can see what you think is fun. Pretty sure I've been photographed at parties in all sorts of situations that were no doubt hilarious at the time. Explaining the shots a couple of weeks later to a line manager would probably be funny also. Then when the directors of the same company saw the image getting apparent worldwide exposure as an employee I'd probably not progress much further up the ladder. Possibly. And, possibly an extreme example.

    I saw nothing wrong in the e numbers original, all good fun snaps. I would even argue that a show was being put on. People were entertaining others and inviting photographs. But, still without permission, I wouldn't put them on the web. Some people like it. Some people don't. It's just polite to ask first.

    No PC bollocks. Just common respect.
  12. cybertect

    cybertect It's grim up north (London)

    As my understanding runs, the last point is the most important in that particular case. It's the publisher who is responsible for ensuring that a model release was obtained for commercial use. They can't pass the blame on to the photographer unless they did ask and he told them that one existed.

    Back to e-Numbers' question: yep, it's certainly something that enters my head when taking pictures on occasion. I'll take pictures of people at car shows to get a broader sense of atmosphere. Partly because I know the 'scene' and people know me, it's OK and I've never had a serious complaint (quite a few jokey ones though :)).

    I'm more wary of photographing people on the street. Getting permission from everybody concerned seems like a logistical nightmare. I worry especially about kids being anywhere near my viewfinder, lest I get tapped on the shoulder by a copper and asked to explain myself.

    Then again, you're not even safe with architecture these days. I've also been questioned by the police for taking pictures of Tower Bridge...
  13. Stanley Edwards

    Stanley Edwards 1967 Maserati Mistral.

    I'm not to sure that a case couldn't be argued against the photographer in this instance. By agreeing to the terms and conditions and making the image available for 'any use' it could be argued that you have obtained all the permission you need to make it available for any use. Not a fair argument, but just because it wasn't stipulated that a model release had been signed doesn't mean it's not available for any use.
  14. stdPikachu

    stdPikachu Plughole in bathtub curve

    They can pass blame onto the photographer for misattribution, but even if he'd told them one existed, they should have checked for a written one. "Cos he said so!" doesn't cut much ice in the legalosphere. <mark>This is the whole point of contract law!</mark>

    Bleh, I've had single-digit-IQ rentacops threaten to confiscate my equipment/have me arrested whilst taking pictures of their employers' office building or whatever. Thankfully, pointing out that I'm legally entitled to take pictures of it is a voice that sounds like I know what I'm talking about usually works, along with thinly veiled threats of pressing suit for harassment. But I'm arsey like that, and I imagine if I tried it on cops I'd end up in chokey pretty sharpish...

    Quite surprised at Tower Bridge though. I was there over the weekend, and there must have been a hundred tourists taking photos of it. Perhaps you should dress up as a fat american next time? ;)

    You're quite right in that the photographer was completely in the wrong for putting this under a license that allowed commercial use, but as the publisher the legal responsibility for not properly checking this lies with Virgin.

    Half of the work that lawyers end up with is solely due to people like the dude who acquired these photos thinking they know the law.
  15. Louloubelle

    Louloubelle Well-Known Member

    More information needed

    Did the half - undressed burlesque performers ask you to take their photos? If not who did?

    Even burlesque performers who are happy to have their photo taken while performing might be uncomfortable about being photographed while getting changed for example, especially by a male photographer they don't know.

    Also, even if the event organisers had asked you to take photos, it's only polite to ask semi-dressed women for their permission before taking photos of them, if possible chat with them first, tell then who you are and what you're doing and ask them to sign a release form too. It's also polite to offer them the non-commercial use of at least some of the photos for their website, which is only fair if you're taking photos of them :)
  16. e19896

    e19896 kill all ANARCHIST R.I.P.

    Did the half - undressed burlesque performers ask you to take their photos? If not who did?

    The promoter of the night..

    Also, even if the event organisers had asked you to take photos, it's only polite to ask semi-dressed women for their permission before taking photos of them, if possible chat with them first, tell then who you are and what you're doing and ask them to sign a release form too. It's also polite to offer them the non-commercial use of at least some of the photos for their website, which is only fair if you're taking photos of them..

    agreed but as said i aint going down this road againe i have got a copy of this and going to read and lamanate a copy to keep with me at all times..

    i began this topic to get some feed back and there has been som posative feedback thanks people and you know Louloubelle all of what you said make sence along with the other comments given here thanks people that has helped.. you see i like urban 75 because you can get shit resolved..
  17. Louloubelle

    Louloubelle Well-Known Member

    As a rule, if you want to take photos of naked / semi naked women, even if they are burlesque performers, you must ask first, even if the promoter of the night has told you to take photos.

    Waving a piece of paper or laminated card with details about photographers' rights will not cut any mustard with naked / semi-naked women, in fact it may be seen as rude and disrespectful.

    if you take photos without asking, introducing yourself and at least getting to know them a little bit, you will get a "bad vibe" and possibly worse. Even if the promoter told you to take the photos.

    Always ask a promoter if the performers know that a photographer will be there and get him or her to introduce you to the performers personally. This is important because all kinds of sleazy characters attempt to take photos of burlesque performers and claim that they are from this or that magazine or that they promoter asked them to do it, but they are just taking them for their own use.

    Think about it. If you were a female burlesque performer would you be happy for men you didn't know to just turn up and take your photo without asking? How would you feel if those same photos ended up being published on the internet without your express consent?

    So, in conclusion, my advice is to forget about the laminated card, get yourself some business cards and start again.

    Good luck :)
  18. Stanley Edwards

    Stanley Edwards 1967 Maserati Mistral.

    This is currently at court:

    Creative Commons are named in the case with an argument that they need to be more succinct about their license use. Particularly the 'commercial use' part.

    The photographer is named also. But, the main case seems to be about Virgin Mobile Australia abusing the subjects privacy. Fully understand where she's coming from, but suspect her and her film producing brother (who instigated the court case) are only in it for a big pay out.

    If it wasn't for the internet none of this would be happening!
  19. cybertect

    cybertect It's grim up north (London)

    I don't know how much more succinct they can be.

    The very first question they ask on their choose license page is "Allow commercial uses of your work? Yes/No"

    The full text of the CC2.0 licence (under which the photo in question was published) states that no warranty is provided by the photographer for any use of the work.

    In other words, Virgin Media have to to their legal homework before using the image for commercial use. "Commercial Use permitted" notwithstanding, the photographer is not going to warrant that it's suitable for that purpose, nor is he making any representations that it is suitable for use in a commercial context.

    BTW, the CC1.0 licence had such a warranty

    but it was removed in the CC2.0 Licence.
  20. Stanley Edwards

    Stanley Edwards 1967 Maserati Mistral.

    I think the point is that an average teenage snapper wouldn't understand a word of that gobbledegook. It needs to be more succinct. Although, ultimate legal obligation should be on advertising agency who used the image (assuming it wasn't done in-house by Virgin).


    That's obviously to succinct :D
  21. cybertect

    cybertect It's grim up north (London)

    That is why the CC Licence is published additionally as a Commons Deed - a " user-friendly interface to the Legal Code beneath" (from the CC FAQ

    Of course a legally binding document (the licence) has to be rendered into language that can be interpreted by lawyers and the courts and contains all the detail that will be necessary to resolve disputes, which is the full version of the licence. It's drafted in a way to provide reasonable protections to the person publishing material under that licence.

    Virgin Media have access to resources to interpret the full version of the licence accurately and determine what they may or may not do with the work.
  22. Stanley Edwards

    Stanley Edwards 1967 Maserati Mistral.

    You mean argued by lawyers. Not interpreted :D
  23. Paul Russell

    Paul Russell Psychogeographer

    OK, I'll admit to not having read all the legal stuff above about CC licences.

    But generally, for advertising, you need permission from the subject of the photograph, as they are being seen to endorse that product.

    So, if there was any doubt/grey area *at all*, you would think that a huge company like Virgin, or the ad agency they used, would err on the side of caution, and contact the photographer to get permission from the person in the photo.

    The fact that they ran a huge ad campaign with Flickr URLs all over it using a subject who hadn't given their permission seems bizarrely naive.

    Possibly someone at Virgin, etc. has got a right telling off!
  24. cybertect

    cybertect It's grim up north (London)

    Virgin may have been smarter than they seem at first

  25. free spirit

    free spirit more tea vicar?

    re the OP

    if you're doing event photo's then you really need to make sure there is either a section on the back of the ticket along these lines...

    Photographs may be being taken at this event, by entering this event you agree to your photograph being taken and your image being published on the event website / photographers website / wherever.

    something like that anyway.

    If there are no tickets then signs should be put up by the entrance.

    Another way that photographers from do it (they go round loads of clubs taking pics of people every night) is to have business cards printed out that they give to everyone who has there pic taken, with the web address on it so they can check the photo's out and ask for any incriminating ones to be removed. This is also brilliant advertising for their website.

    If you're taking pics of performers you really ought to get permission. We've only had one slight problem, funnily enough it was also at a burlesque night we were doing, when one of the girls who'd been doing the can can (mates, not professionals) didn't like having a video of the performance put online in case someone from work saw it. Backstage photo's though are almost always a nogo area unless you've got permission from everyone in each shot as backstage is supposed to be nonpublic, what happens backstage stays backstage etc.

    bottom line really though is that if someone asks you to take a photo down, just take it down, no harm done, it's only polite isn't it.
  26. editor

    editor Taffus Maximus

    Photographers rights in the UK: discussion

    Of importance to all street photographers:

    Street snappers might also want to take a copy of this excellent PDF guide with them too:

    (I've managed to convert the copy into a text file so I can carry it on my phone, just in case)
  27. skyscraper101

    skyscraper101 0891 50 50 50

    I fear that the police can turn anything around to suit them when they want particularly where 'obstruction' can be cited as reason to prevent someone taking a photograph also where 'evidence' needs to be collected (i.e. camera confiscated)
  28. e19896

    e19896 kill all ANARCHIST R.I.P.

    that text file would be of use i have a laminated copy..
  29. cybertect

    cybertect It's grim up north (London)

    This kind of thing

  30. lighterthief

    lighterthief Well-Known Member

    Is that guide current? Genuine question, it just looks like it was posted in November 2004, wondered if it is still accurate.

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