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Old March 12th, 2014, 12:33 PM   #16
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Re: Disclaimer Sign and Notice-Public Shoot

You have the right to walk on a public sidewalk. What you don't have on a public sidewalk is an expectation of privacy. Any one may capture your image in a public area. As for using that image for commercial purposes, that can vary by location, but generally you don't have right to compensation. This is why Google street view doesn't care you are on the side walk. Where Google has gotten in trouble is when the camera clearly sees into a persons window. This is also why news crews can sit outside someones house to film them when they set a foot outside. In your home you do have an expectation of privacy. Now you have a right not to be defamed. 20/20 can't film you in public and say "doesn't this person look like a rapist?"

Also look at Sex in the City, 30 Rock, any movie with a New York City street scene. those are not all extras, nor where those people paid. They had no expectation of privacy and therefore no claim.

Production companies use these signs to scare off people looking for a quick buck but won't go through the hassle of talking to a lawyer.

Originally Posted by Marco Leavitt View Post
Obviously, with a company like MTV a lot of lawyers have looked over the wording of that notice. There's something I just don't get about signs like that though. I don't see how the public is obligated to allow production companies to set the terms. In other words, I have a right to walk down the sidewalk. How can a video company compel me to agree or disagree to anything? I know that privacy rights are different in public spaces, but that's a separate topic. Let's take a concert, or the conference mentioned. I've bought a ticket to be there. I wasn't told about taping up front. Now that I've paid, I don't see how somebody can just throw up a sign claiming that I'm making an affirmative action binding me to a defacto contract just for enjoying what I've paid for. Of course, I'm not a lawyer. I'm just saying it doesn't make any sense to me, and I'm curious to know how that all works. Mike's suggestion to get releases signed at registration seems a lot more sensible to me. What if somebody refuses though? Are they actually denied entry?
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Old March 12th, 2014, 12:45 PM   #17
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Re: Disclaimer Sign and Notice-Public Shoot

Vinny's lawyer: Mr. Bystander, you were on a public street?

Mr. Bystander: Yes I was. It's my right.

Vinny's lawyer: It sure is your right. [turning to address the judge] Your honor, all parties involved agreed that this occurred on a public street. Given that Mr. Bystander was on a public street, Mr. Bystander had no reasonable expectation of privacy. Since no expectation can be asserted, therefore Vinny was under legal no obligation to obtain a contract or permission from Mr. Bystander. Whereas, Vinny obtained all permits and posted the proper signage as stipulated by local and state statute he was within full compliance with the law. Mr. Bystander was on a public street with no expectation of privacy, he has no claim for likeness ownership or compensation.

Originally Posted by Paul Tauger View Post
I've never researched the case law for this, so I'll confine myself to general principles of contract law.

1. As a matter of law, contract formation requires a "meeting of the minds," i.e. two parties have to agree on the nature of the contract.

2. A contract must be supported by consideration, i.e. there has to be something given in exchange for what is asked.

Here we are at the trial Vinny Videographer in an action brought for commercial appropriation of likeness and false light defamation by Brian Bystander. Brian is on the stand.

Vinny's Lawyer: Now, Mr. Bystander, isn't it true that you saw the sign saying, "By walking down this street you consent to be filmed and have your likeness exploited by Vinny Videographer?"

Brian: Nope. I never saw any sign.

Judge: Hmmmm. There can be no meeting of the minds, because Vinny was never aware of Vinny's offer to contract contained on the sign. Therefore there was no contract formation -- and no license to use Brian's likeness.

Vinny's Lawyer: But your honor! Maybe Brian's not telling the truth. The trier-of-fact must evaluate Brain's credibility.

Judge: Hmmmm. Okay, you may have a point. Brian's lawyer, what do you say to that?

Brian's Lawyer: Your honor, if I can call Vinny Videographer out-of-turn, I can wrap up this trial in 5 minutes.

Judge: Okay, you're on!

Brian's Lawyer (to Vinny): Mr. Videographer, did you PAY Mr. Bystander anything?

Vinny: Well, no.

Brian's Lawyer: Brian was on a public street, right?

Vinny: Well, yes, but we had a permit to film there.

Brian's Lawyer: Did your permit authorize you to close the sidewalk where Brian was standing?

Vinny: Well, no.

Brian's Lawyer: So you don't dispute that Brian didn't need your permission to be where he was when you filmed him?

Vinny: Well, no.

Brian's Lawyer: Tell the court what Brian received in exchange for being filmed.

Vinny: Well, nothing.

Brian's Lawyer (to the judge): Your Honor, I move for summary adjudication of issues -- as there was no consideration for the supposed contract upon which Vinny Videographer relies, I'd ask the court to rule that none was ever formed, and that no license existed to use my client's likeness.

Judge: Nice job, counselor. The motion is granted.

Okay, it's late and I've gotten a little carried away here, but you get the idea. The analysis would be different if consideration was offered, the filming took place on private property, etc.
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Old March 12th, 2014, 01:08 PM   #18
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Re: Disclaimer Sign and Notice-Public Shoot

I am not a lawyer, but I have friends who are :-)

It is my understanding that, at least in the United States, you have no right not not be video taped if you are in public or have no reasonable expectation of privacy. A lot of people seem to think they have to give explicit permission to be recorded on video, I ran into this a lot when I worked in TV news, but this simply isn't the case.

People do, however, own the rights to any performances they create. If they are doing some kind of performance, they own that. They need to give you permission to use a recording of their original performance. There are also issues like libel, slander, and rights to publicity. Just because you can make a recording of someone in public doesn't mean you can use that recording for any purpose imaginable. Especially editing the video in such a way as to make it look like someone is endorsing a specific product or saying they are not.

Simply documenting someone's natural behavior when they have no expectation of privacy is not generally illegal. Just because something isn't illegal though, doesn't mean you don't run the risk of potentially pissing someone off enough to sue you. Even though they might ultimately loose the lawsuit, it still could be a huge headache for you.

That is why putting up signs and having forms in the first place is a good idea. It clearly lets people know they are being recorded and helps prevent them from claiming an expectation of privacy.
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Old March 15th, 2014, 08:48 PM   #19
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Re: Disclaimer Sign and Notice-Public Shoot

I have done video for a couple conferences that were held on college campuses. What seemed to work well was that the attendees had a terms of service built into their ticket. I believe the entire thing was reproduced on the back of the credential as well. "By using this credential, attendees acknowledge that they may be photographed or videotaped...etc etc, and their image used...including but not limited to, literature, advertising, web, conference DVD....etc etc."

I think when the pass was purchased it was in a pop up terms of service, and like I said, was reproduced on the back of the credential as well.

This only applies to attendees obviously but random passersby should be covered by no expectation of privacy in public.
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Old March 19th, 2014, 01:32 AM   #20
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Re: Disclaimer Sign and Notice-Public Shoot

Jeremiah is right,
If it's built in to the ticket it sticks. I use the sign all the time and it's a joke it doesn't hold water.

You can't have a conference that someone paid to attend and then you tell them afterwards they have to leave or submit to being filmed.

I never shoot attendees, just speakers.
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Old March 19th, 2014, 11:22 AM   #21
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Re: Disclaimer Sign and Notice-Public Shoot

FYI this thread was bumped from 2005?!
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