Using Photos of Strangers?

Started Apr 16, 2014 | Discussions thread
Ralph McKenzie Senior Member • Posts: 2,045
Re: Using Photos of Strangers?

As you will have seen by the above replies, this is a prickly subject.

My answers below are based on current N.Z. law and human rights requirements & may differ from other countries.

Lisetta wrote:

Quick question. I believe, but am not certain, that if you sell a photo with anyone in it you need to have a signed model release form from them along with some (often token) compensation.

Not if the images are within the public domain, although good taste & common sense should apply.

So if you, for example, had a book with a photo in it of the Washington Monument with people in it who were identifiable but hadn't given signed consent, you couldn't use it, correct?

No. If this were the case you would never see a tourist here ever taking a photo, again the interpretation of "Public Domain" comes into it. And for the record some of these tourists are professional photographers that go on to right travel mags, books etc. This wouldn't be the case if the had to track down everyone in the photo.

I'm unclear on how news photographers, for example, often photograph people without any permission given or required. And--it's a different issue--but paparazzi take and sell photos of famous people without permission all the that's legal, but if you're not famous it isn't?

Again if the person (celeb) is in the Public Domain they generally don't need to seek permission.

Bear in mind that under statutory law in most western countries there are certain rights that are permitted to the "Fourth Estate" as a means of conveying information. The assumption is that it will act as an unbiased mouthpiece for the greater populace and disseminated news that keeps people "informed". As we all know this is often abused by paparazzi & gutter press (tabloids )

Curious about the rules on this--when you can and can't use images of people for commercial purposes (for example as part of a photo at a trade show) without needing a release from them.

Again I think it comes down to whether you are acting on behalf of a commercial client and commissioned to do the photo shoot. That being the case a release or permission form is sort prior to publication.


:: Theres an interesting footnote to this as well. People who hold public office eg: town Mayor, local Mp, Prime minister images etc can be photographed, (and I often see it here) , used in different ways, not always nice.

Their is a perception at least, that those who hold public office are by and large fair game for the political photographer who may well be compiling a book for sale at a later time. The perception seems to be that public figures are acting on our behalf and therefore are open for scrutiny of any kind at any time, and by & large unless these people can prove defamatory behavior by the photographers, journos etc, basically have to take it on the chin and accept that this is part of the political arena.

Sheesh who'd be a politician

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