When Fair Use Isn’t Fair

The courts, particularly in the United States, set new precedent every day.  A lot of those decisions relate to who should benefit from what transaction and how much.Expensive

And here’s the disclaimer:  this is not a legal opinion or even a legal review.  It’s a commentary on a specific example of legal precedent as related to photography.

Just as copyright law and precedent is solidifying and establishing boundaries for photographers’ rights, some court rulings open the opposite door, establishing precedent that illustrates when a photograph can be used without permission or compensation.  Where do you sit on this issue? Continue reading “When Fair Use Isn’t Fair”

Some Common Sense Advice on Photographing People in Informal Settings

Photographing people comes with some additional complications not present when photographing still life.  An obvious statement, you say.  One such complication is the question of permission when photographing people informally.

Last week, I had dinner with acquaintances who insisted that photographers own all their images from the moment they are shot.  Permission to use them is not required.  I was also out shooting with others who believe that documents get in the way of artistic freedom, particularly in informal settings.  I wanted to know more.

The-Fine-PrintFirst, a disclaimer:  this post is NOT legal advice.  Every jurisdiction is different – it’s up to you to understand the laws that apply to you and how best to protect yourself.  You should always follow any copyright and privacy laws, particularly if you hope to profit financially from your work.

And this post is not about formal portraits or events for hire (weddings, family milestones, freelance event photography, etc.), which typically include negotiations and signed contracts; it’s about the more spontaneous form of people photography known as “street” photography.

Continue reading “Some Common Sense Advice on Photographing People in Informal Settings”