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Publication question...

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Doug Barber, Jul 11, 2008.

  1. I'm not sure if the same rules apply to both Canada and the USA (etc) but i'm wondering about publishing rules...

    I know we as photographers spend a lot of time making sure we have signed waivers of people we take images of if we plan to publish them. But yet our media counter-parts don't seem to worry about this and just shoot the image and publish it if they want.

    So at the end of the day what is the deal on this... If I shoot an image of someone in a public place and end up wanting to publish it or sell it for publication do I need a signed waiver?

  2. For the US you need a release for commercial use. Editorial does not require a release. I don't know about Canada.
  3. I think that is the part I don't understand Matt....

    If I take an image of you walking down the street or sitting in a airport and sell it to XYZ magazine or publish it in a book or "people on the street" what is the difference between me and a guy who works for the Star and times or a poporotzi.
  4. This is a matter of an individual's right of publicity. Editorial use doesn't violate their right of publicity but commercial use does because you're using their face for your benefit, whereas editorial use is just a record of what was happening at that place and time.

  5. So if I understand your comments Sean... if I take your image in an airport and then publish a book of airports and the people that use them. Then I'm good to go because your image is just recording a place in time.
    There can be a lot of situations that a person image ends up in a publication and it is doing more than just recording what is happening at a place in time.

    This has to be one hell of a grey area.... What of the poor guy who published a book on the KKK. Did he actually get waivers signed?... I don't think so.

    By the way.... is an Editorial not a commercial venture, do they not make $$ from them.

    Not that I'm being hard to get along with here.... I'm just trying to understand why we seem to have a double standard.

    If I went out and took images of street people and created a book about their terrible life.... Would that not be an editorial?
  6. You know, Doug, stuff like your example gets run through the courts all the time, so I can't say that you'd be ok in that instance or not.

    What I can tell you is that if I take your picture while you're out in public, and you're shown on the nightly newscast because you were in an interesting place where a newsworthy story occurred, then I am not violating your right to privacy or your right of publicity. Now if I take that same picture and publish it in my latest coffee table book about my work, perhaps it's still a newsworthy photo of an historical event, but you could argue that I'm reaping financial benefit from your face being in my book. And then off to court we go!

  7. I agree Sean....

    I'm just amazed that there is not a REAL CLEAR ruling on these types of issues.

    It would seem to me that if I created a coffee table book promoting my work and there was an image of you I better have your approval.
    But if I created an image of you and it was published in a book telling the story of airports and the dangers of flying. I'm not sure I would need your approval would I?

  8. You may not need my approval, but without my release, you may have to spend serious $ in court proving that you don't when I claim that you do!

    Check out these examples:

    Almeida v. Amazon.com, Inc.
    July 18, 2006

    Woman sued Amazon.com for displaying on Amazon.com's website an image of a book cover that contained a photograph of the woman, alleging Florida state claims under right of publicity, civil theft and invasion of privacy theories.

    A famous photo of Richard Nixon and Elvis Presley was taken by a White House photographer and is in the public domain. However, Nixon’s and Presley’s estates may claim rights in their likenesses and images, and commercial use of these photographs may be subject to those claims.

    A company films an instructional video of a man installing an acrylic bathtub liner and distributes the video to its customers. (The man agreed to be filmed for the video.) The company then hires a production company to make a TV commercial for them. The production company uses footage of the man in the commercial. He did not consent to that use of his image. The man sues both companies for unlawful appropriation and, depending on the state law applied, damages could be based on the infringers’ profits and/or emotional distress.
  9. you are right....

    It could be a costly issue one way or the other. But as I said, I'm amazed there is not CLEAR rules on these issues!
  10. Well, the only clear rules that could be drafted would be everything or nothing, and that won't work because we balance the rights of one interest with another. If you tried to draft clear rules on these situations, the world would end before your pen had covered every possible scenario and permutation.

  11. Gray Fox

    Gray Fox

    Jan 12, 2007
    London Ontario
    Central and Northern Canada sounds to me like Winnipeg and north.

    Just in case you venture east, be very careful if you are in Quebec. As I understand it, Quebec has the strictest rules about using anyone's image, and the penalties are severe.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 11, 2008
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