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Old July 23rd, 2018, 07:42 PM   #1
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Rights question: Video in a public place?

Hi, I hope I'm posting this the correct forum. I would like to create a short video featuring the parks and open spaces in our neighborhood, and I'm wondering if there are any legal issues involved with getting random members of the public on the video. Do I need to have everyone in the park sign a waiver or something? (That seems like it would be difficult, at best.)

I'm in California, if that makes any difference.
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Old July 23rd, 2018, 10:07 PM   #2
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Re: Rights question: Video in a public place?

I think you are fine, as long as it is editorial.content.
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Old July 29th, 2018, 09:54 AM   #3
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Re: Rights question: Video in a public place?

If it's editorial content, you don't need anything. If it's not, you'd be wise to get a waiver from people who are "recognizable" and post signs for the rest.
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Old July 29th, 2018, 02:48 PM   #4
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Re: Rights question: Video in a public place?

As the others have stated if it's editorial your fine, if it's commercial you might need a model release from people who are recognisable, if it's say for instance for stock photography/video.

Another thing to note is the recording of audio between people, unless you have permission to record their conversation, that could be a no no.

Finally if your on private open space that's accessible to the public, make sure you are aware of any regulations posted by the owner of the property regarding photography/video

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Old July 29th, 2018, 05:07 PM   #5
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Re: Rights question: Video in a public place?

If you're out in public then ... you're out in public and there is not the same expectation of privacy there would be in other places such as a home. For me it's the last thing that I would worry about.

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Old July 30th, 2018, 01:08 AM   #6
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Re: Rights question: Video in a public place?

I would agree with that and add that I have never had an issue in 'public' places, even those that are managed privately as is becoming common in the UK. The main point for me is that if members of the public (as individuals) are incidental to the video action then they are just part of the scenery. That means do not focus (in the attention sense) on anybody in particular, and particularly children.
The above applies to wherever I've taken footage including across Europe, the far east and NY/Boston/Florida. I can't speak for California though. The UK is reported here to have the highest number of surveillance cameras per capita in the world, so being too precious about ones own image in public places is to some extent, futile.
There are a few areas which I suspect sensitivity is more cultural than legal issue and that is some muslim lands, - Morocco and Sinai Egypt specifically where there were women in frame. Nobody approached me but in cases like that, respect for the culture was appropriate.
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Old August 1st, 2018, 10:01 PM   #7
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Re: Rights question: Video in a public place?

Everything said above is good advice. EXCEPT, Ray if I remember your posts correctly your a drone operator and shoot a lot of drone footage. If you are asking your question in regards to your drone everything changes. Here in AZ local municipalities are clamping down on drone footage over and above the federal REC107 laws. If you are referring to your drone know the federal and local regs.

Kind Regards,

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Old August 4th, 2018, 12:10 AM   #8
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Re: Rights question: Video in a public place?

Thanks. No, this wouldn't involve drone footage.

Although, if I ever did want to get drone footage of people in a park I would definitely want to get prior approval from everyone there. Besides the possible regulatory issues, there are just so many people these days who are absolutely paranoid when it comes to drones.
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Old August 8th, 2018, 03:17 PM   #9
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Re: Rights question: Video in a public place?

The trouble is that at least in the UK, people believe they are entitled to privacy, and I just say I'm getting increasing amounts of flack, and I'm mainly in a non-city location. I went to our local beach to shoot some sea shots early one morning when the sun was rising and low in the sky. It is a huge, public space, apart from the very narrow strip where the tide goes in and out which belongs to the Queen. Within a few minutes I get approached by 'the Beach Officer' - and he took around two minutes to walk to where I was. He wanted to know what I was doing and shooting video on the beach was not allowed. The trouble with officials is that they believe what their bosses have told them. Arguing is just a waste of breath because they sincerely believe they have the law on their side. A while back I was at a race track and a crash happened right in front of me, and the crashed driver's friends mobbed me. I was there with permission, but that didn't help.

I don't do commercials ill drone work because of the system here making it just not worth it for me, but I am documenting some WW2 sites as a hobby. Almost every flight now brings forward somebody ready to complain. It's just very unpleasant having to continually fight to be left to shoot stills and video in public places.

Kids are a nightmare. In one public space they erected a mobile climbing wall - bouldering, I think it's called. My wife took a picture and the official who came across said this was against the law (it isn't) and he had the right to request her to delete it (which he doesn't). In public, on public land - and totally OK, and the kids identities would not even be an issues because of the back lighting. The number of people having faces pixelated on mainstream TV is getting silly, yet people like Sir Cliff Richard's seem exempt from the privacy issue with the BBC losing a legal case recently.

So with permission and no law breaking, you still get grief - and I hate it!
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Old August 8th, 2018, 05:58 PM   #10
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Re: Rights question: Video in a public place?

Paul brings up a very good point about getting harassed unnecessarily. One one hand we have become a "video society". We are on camera of some type almost at all times when going out in public, and those are not all just for security purposes but no one seems to care. On top of that everyone in the world is shooting with a cell phone these day, but no one seems to care.

On the other hand pull out a video camera that gives any type of "professional appearance" and I have been harassed many times for many reasons.

When not shooting paid gigs:

I have been stopped by cops three times and asked for a commercial film permit specific to that municipality (all different cities). Two of those times they told me I MUST quit shooting because I was obviously lying to them about shooting for fun.

Twice I have had street performers (Las Vegas & New York) stop performing and rudely demand cash from me on the spot because I MUST be trying to profit from their performance. One guy put his hand in front of the lens and made a scene. You would have thought I was paparazzi invading Sean Penn's personal space instead of pointing a camera at a beggar with a steel drum. BS!

One of the most highly recorded tourist locations on earth is Fremont street in downtown Las Vegas. Just try pulling out any camera bigger than a palm corder and see what happens there. The authorities will be on you in minutes.

Several years ago I was entering a Major League baseball stadium where I was a season ticket holder. I always took a Canon DSLR in with me and the old 35mm to 350mm zoom lens. Sure enough one night I had the camera on my shoulder and the lens had extended out to its full length. I was stopped and told I could not enter with the camera. When I explained I had entered with that camera for countless games over several years the guy said "No you didn't, we have a four inch policy." I said whats that? He said "no one gets in with a lens over four inches, your a pro". I retracted the zoom and locked it the way I normally carried it. I tried not to be smug when of course I said "there you go, it's less than four inches now". No luck, it was all the way back to my car. A lens over four inches makes you a pro, REALLY......Size matters!

I could go on and on about rude comments made to me by the general public. Usually stupid stuff like "hey you cant do that unless you pay me".

Anyway, cameras do generate a lot of unwanted attention. Yet our basic laws have not changed much. The old rule of thumb for public places is still the same in most places...The camera can go wherever the eye can go.

End of rant....Paul just reminded me of these things. It is good to keep in mind you can be shut down even if you are doing the right thing.

Kind Regards,

Steve
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