Legal Rights of Photographers

Recent events led me to think that I should write more useful blog posts. Recent events also led me to think that my first useful blog post should be about the legal rights of photographers. I was accused of breaking the law earlier this week and I do NOT take that matter lightly. Especially when my accuser couldn’t have been more mistaken. However wrong she was and as innocent as I might be, it reminded me that any photographer out there should familiarize themselves with their rights – where they can take photographs, when they can not.

Can you publish any picture you shoot? Can you publish pictures of people that you took in a park? Can you take pictures of children you don’t know? Can you publish pictures you took on private property? Can you take photographs without asking people permission? The answers might surprise you because the answers to all of these questions is a resounding yes.  The law states that you have a right to take photos wherever and of whomever you want, give that the pictures don’t violate the following rules:

 Prong 1 (while gathering): Unreasonable intrusion upon seclusion (e.g., trespass)
 Prong 2 (if published): Unreasonable revelation of private facts (e.g., medical information)
 Prong 3 (if published): Unreasonably placing another person in a false light before the public
    Prong 4 (if published): Misappropriation of a person’s name or likeness

(facts taken from this site)

Know the answers to these questions – print this document off and carry it with you – especially if photography is your profession! There is a lot more information out there, but this was one that put things plainly and simply for those of us who don’t understand law terms.  There are a lot of paranoid people out there who might try to scare you. Don’t be scared! Be informed!


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Filed under Photography, Tips and Tricks

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