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-   -   Legal rights for public spaces... (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/taking-care-business/80468-legal-rights-public-spaces.html)

Cody Lucido November 27th, 2006 11:37 AM

Legal rights for public spaces...
I have looked, but can't seem to find, information regarding shooting stock footage in public places. I have some video I shot showing the Puget Sound area and it has people in it.

Almost all of them have there back to the camera and you really can't recognize any faces. Most are fishing off a dock.

I didn't get anything signed. Do I have to omit this great footage from stock offering, or is the fact that htey were in a public place makes it ok?

Please let me know...

Paulo Teixeira November 27th, 2006 05:24 PM

In a public place you donít need anybody to sign anything and it wouldnít be easy for someone who got videotaped to sue you if they had lots of other people on the same shot.

Read this news article by the way:

Cody Lucido November 27th, 2006 07:22 PM

Thanks. I thought as much.

Kevin Randolph December 3rd, 2006 05:47 PM

Define "Newsworthy Event"
On the surface this looks pretty clear cut, but looking at the following sentence from the article... Is the phrase "Newsworthy event" important?

"Maryland courts have held that someone whose picture is taken in a public place at a newsworthy event does not have an appropriation claim, the judge noted."

Are random people walking down the street for no particular reason a "newsworthy event", or people playing at a park? I think proper news reporters/camera ops. have a little more latitude than documentary makers. But on the other hand, there's always that post card of the crowded beach. And I really don't think that photographer got a concent form from each person who was recognizable.

I don't claim to know the answer to this question, but if someone does, please clime in.

Greg Boston December 3rd, 2006 06:59 PM

It is true that there are different rules that apply to news. Can you imagine trying to get a newscast to air with everyone's consent?

By the same token, you will routinely see faces and things blurred out in shows like COPS because no release was given.

If a person is recognizable (ie: they can clearly identify themselves in the clip), then you need a release. If they are far enough away or otherwise obscured, used your own judgement. It would be hard to file a claim if you said "that's me" and no one else could tell just by looking. If that were true, I could claim I've been in thousands of video clips (not true of course) just by pointing out a warm body.


Michael Knight December 4th, 2006 10:41 PM

Being interested in shooting HD stock footage myself I have been studying dockos and news footage and it seems there are a lot of wide shots in which people are not really individually recognizable, with low-angle cut-ins below waist level, people walking, carrying bags and briefcases etc.

In Seattle of course I'd imagine you also use a super terrific waterproof underwater camera housing:-)


Michael Knight

Cody Lucido December 5th, 2006 04:13 PM

Cool. Thanks, everybody. I think I will avoid any close shots of people or make sure their face isn't visible.

Bill Mecca December 6th, 2006 12:57 PM

Interesting sidelight from my days in TV news.

A major hotel chain had refurbished an old Train station into a luxury hotel with a bar. One of the newsteams had done a story on the bar, and there was nice shot of a guy lifting up a Pilsner glass and taking a sip. It was news so no releases.

about 2 years later the station gets a call. guess who from? yup, the beer drinker. He asked "when are you going to stop using that shot of me drinking, people are beginning to think I have a problem." It seems that in our database of video, that one popped up top on a search whenever somone was looking for stock b-roll dealing with bars, alcohol etc.

Much later one of our photogs posed as a guy suffering from depression, sitting on a park bench. He asked the same thing a while later...

no real point to that except to say if you are going to build a stock footage library, you best get releases from everyone.

that said do you think Digital Juice got releases from all those people in SE Asia in their Videotraxx collections? espeically the naked guy on the street?

Paulo Teixeira December 6th, 2006 03:38 PM

I do admit that was a bad article that I provided especially since it sort of contradicted what I wrote.

Its true that release forms should be used as much as possible and I know people that carry them everywhere they go when their shooting documentaries but if your shooting a wide shot of some National Park or public beach with say hundreds of people on your shot, you cant expect to use release forms in environments like that.

I had a similar situation in the summer of last year where I was trying to videotape the hot springs of Sao Miguel, Azores and their would be times where you would see people from a distance walking through my shot but Iíve decided to send those shots to a stock footage company anyway but at first I worried a little, but I knew if it was me being shot from a distance and the shooter werenít specifically trying to videotape me then I donít see a reason to get that person in trouble. Now if someone wanted to ask me a question on the street, then the shooter will hope he/she have a release form because in that situation I do have a right to sue if the footage was used without my permission.
A lot of times you have to use good judgment and common sense when dealing with different situations.

Paulo Teixeira December 6th, 2006 03:43 PM


Originally Posted by Bill Mecca
that said do you think Digital Juice got releases from all those people in SE Asia in their Videotraxx collections? espeically the naked guy on the street?

A guy tried to sue a TV station in Germany for around 2,000 Euros because he saw himself naked on TV when he was at the beach.

Kevin Myhre December 12th, 2006 03:48 PM

One thing I've been wondering about is buildings. I know you're supposed to have a release to use a building in footage but I've found a spot on a hill that over looks the city I live in. With all of the buildings and houses in that shot would I need releases for all of them?

Mike Teutsch December 12th, 2006 05:05 PM

I believe you don't need them in the U.S. as they, building designs, are not copyrighted here. I also believe that in Europe they are, and you need releases. Probably is not in all countries but I'm don't know.


Michael Hamilton June 3rd, 2007 05:24 PM

Videotaping in D.C.

Does anyone know what kind of rights we have when confronted with questions by police and other authorities concerning the object and purpose of videotaping?
I was in DC today (obviously a sensitive area) getting shots of the Capitol Building in the rain for a documentary that I'm working on about Low Impact Development (environmentally friendly bldg. construction). I was filming the Capitol bldg. from about five blocks away, when two guards came out from a building I was parked in front of and asked me what I was videotaping. I asked her if I was doing something wrong, she said no, and asked again what I was videotaping. I told her what I was filming and the purpose for it. Then she asked me for some sort of identification. I handed her my drivers license and business card. She returned my license but said "I'll keep this." when I reached for my business card. Ten minutes later I walked by (with my XL2 camera) at least a dozen police officers in patrol cars, right up and onto the Capitol bldg. grounds. Not one of them approached me, asked me what I was filming, or asked for my I.D.. I went up the steps to the broad portico where dozens of tourists had cameras.
My question is; If the guard said that I was doing nothing wrong do I legally have to answer their questions and show them my I.D.? I fear that because my business card has my email and phone number, I'm probably in some data base now and my privacy is a thing of the past.

Michael Hamilton

Dave Carson June 3rd, 2007 08:21 PM

Alot of police like to try and throw around weight, it means nothing.
I had an officer one time ask me what I was filming and told me to turn the camera off, instead I turned the camera on him and asked him to call the district attorney who had rewritten the law.
He looked at my id, mumbled and walked away. Alot of egotistical police officers now a days.

The reason they block certain faces on COPS is people who aren't directly involved, innocent bystanders, or witnesses to an accident, drug deal or what have you. Watch DOG the Bounty Hunter once. Not one single face ever blurred.

As per video in public in all us 50 states, argue with me and then consult and attorney. As per channel 9 news Ashely (A producer with channel 9 news Charlotte)

You are free to film any person or persons in any public areas or places of gathering where a person could be reasonably expected to be seen by the visual eye.

Reasonably expected.
When you go out downtown to walk your dog with your goofy ass pink pimp hat on, you know people will see you. That is reasonably expected.

You cannot shoot accross private property without permission.
You cannot shoot into windows of houses without permission.
You can film in ANY public building, try it once. Sure a guard might try to act a tough guy on you, but there is no law that says you cannot. In fact in all 50 states, any state owned building may be filmed inside of for free and with no permits.
You cannot film accross a fence onto private property.
You cannot film LIVESTOCK from accross a fence. (at least in texas you cannot)
You can film inside of any school. Ever seen footage from a elemntary, middle or high school on the news? Do you think the federal laws are different for news broadcasters?
You cannot shoot inside of a privately owned building without permission.

Someone sitting on their porch in front of their house, there is no reasonably expected privacy as anyone walking by could see them, they can be filmed - they are in the public.

You decide to go butt naked on a beach, you can be filmed.

This is a federal law, I will dig it up if I can find it, but any age, any person, anyplace in a public area who could reasonably be expected to be seen by the naked eye can be filmed.

Naked eye is where California got it's papparazzi thing from, no telephoto lenses anymore for celebrities, they used the explicit wording naked eye.

This is a long debate always seen on unprofessional boards where people really don't know. Then some person with 50 bazillion posts comes along to belittle the guy who sets it straight.
Case and point:

Watch live broadcasts from weather channel that show beach footage, faces are clearly visible. Watch any msnbc footage shot in the morning like Today Show, people can be clearly seen outside looking into studio.
As well as MTV TRL.
Do you think they have a ton of goons walking around with releases?

No. They film this for profit.

Pick on me and tell everyone here I am wrong because I only have 30 someodd posts to my name, thats fine, posts on a forum don't make a professional.

Dave Carson June 3rd, 2007 08:57 PM

Or as Indietalk put it:

Confrontations that impair the constitutional right to make images are becoming more common. To fight the abuse of your right to free expression, you need to know your rights to takephotographs and the remedies available if your rights are infringed.

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