Social Question

TheJoker's avatar

Who has the intellectual property rights over an image? The person who took the picture, or the person in the picture?

Asked by TheJoker (2795points) February 9th, 2010

Do you think the situation in your country is correct? Is this a matter of civil liberty, freedom of the press, anti-terror law…? Anything seems possible these days.

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23 Answers

whitenoise's avatar

In the Netherlands, the intellectual property rights are reserved to art and new original (intellectual) creations.

So… for as far as the photo is original / art, its rights will be owned by the photographer.

People, however, also have a portrait-right, which will protect the rights of the ones in the picture. Meaning, that unless there is a greater public interest, people cannot use your picture without your consent.

I think this arrangement is OK.

edit things are of course different when pictures are taken of protected images, in which case the original owner of those rights remains protected, but that should be evident

Arisztid's avatar

From what I understand, the person who took the picture has the rights to the picture but the person in the picture has the right to demand that the picture not be published or even be destroyed.

So… both have rights but who would win if the subject of the picture pushed to have the thing taken down could go either way.

I think that this is very correct and would not want it any other way.

TheJoker's avatar

@whitenoise… Many thanks. I suspect,as we’re all part of the EU (I’m in UK) that we have a similar position here.

TheJoker's avatar

@Arisztid… I’m inclined to agree. Both parties do need to be able to control the image.

shrubbery's avatar

As far as I’m aware in Australia too the photogropher owns the photo but must have permission of the people in the photo to publish the photo somewhere, online or in a magazine or something like that.

Arisztid's avatar

@TheJoker I edited it because it is often nigh near impossible to force the picture to be taken down.

TheJoker's avatar

@shrubbery…Thank you for the antipodean perspective…. & for some reason your name makes me want to say….... Ni!

TheJoker's avatar

@Arisztid…. That’s a good point. Just because we might have the legal right, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s possible in practice!

shrubbery's avatar

A question that could be raised, however, is what about Facebook and social networking sites? You’re at a party, photos are taken. The person with the camera could never possibly ask for every single person’s permission who was at the party before uploading all the images to Facebook to let people lose with tagging. They should, but who would bother? And not many people care. But if someone does care? Then they’d get hounded for being so sensitive by those who think it’s no big deal. But whatever the laws say, there’s no way you could chase up and check that the person with the camera didn’t ask everyone involved.

TheJoker's avatar

@shrubbery…. Thats an excellent point. With all our images being downloaded on social networking sites, & then being accesable via Google how can any law of this type be enforced. especially as the person using the image may be the other side of the world.

Jewel's avatar

@shrubbery, Good points. I wonder how this relates to pics and videos of women, unclothed, in locker rooms or their own homes, who are unable to prosecute the men who, without the knowledge of the women, take the pictures. And if posted or printed, there is no way to recall the images.

Cruiser's avatar

This issue brings into play a very complex array of First Amendment issues, public figure, publicity rights, privacy rights, state and federal laws that can protect both the photographer and the person in the picture. If a person is posing smiling and or waving at the camera, it can be implied it was taken for personal use and enjoyment by the photographer and possible the subject. If that picture is then used for profit…then under most jurisdictions, consent of the subject must be secured.

Basically it comes down to if you don’t want the entire world to see your face or then some…don’t stand in front of the camera or cell phone.

Trillian's avatar

I had wondered about that myself. in my silly kgb_ job I had to look up “worlds smallest penis” I was amazed at the links and the one that I ended up using was unreal. It lasted maybe five minutes and the person with the camera was not shy about getting all teh angles. I can’t imagine the guy actually this footage to be posted to the web, considering his… inadequacies, so to speak. I also noticed that there was a crowd and there were numerous other people with their cells and cameras out filming the festivities, so this poor dopes image graces god knows how many web sites.
Taking into account that he couldn’t possibly been in his right mind when he disrobed, I’ve wondered if he ever attempted to have his image removed from the web, or if he just went away to Antartica or something. I don’t understand the legalities, but one would think that there would be a big brother somewhere that would say “Oh, no. We can’t have this posted.”

“If you do not help us, my friend and I will say ‘Ni’ to you again!”

Arisztid's avatar

While libel, slander, stealing images, and so forth is illegal, even on the web, internet law is damned near to absolutely unenforceable. If it was, internet stalkers would be in jail.

I had forgotten about that.

TheJoker's avatar

@Jewel…. Do you know something we dont?

Rufus_T_Firefly's avatar

It’s good practice to obtain a written release from your subject, or at least, their permission, before you take their picture. I do disagree somewhat with both the photographer and the subject owning the rights to a picture, though..Especially if they have signed a release. From a journalistic point of view, if you’re covering an event or an occurrence, the subject’s permission is typically not needed. How a picture is used often determines what ownership rights are actually present.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I have used model releases before.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

In the United States, the intellectual property rights to a photograph always belong to the photographer, although there are some exceptions. For example, if you take a photograph of a copyrighted work – say, a poster – then you must obtain permission from the holder of that copyright to publish your own photograph. There are some “fair use” exceptions to this rule, e.g., you might be taking a photograph of a busy freeway to do a report on traffic congestion, and your photo shows a billboard copyrighted by someone else.

People who are the subjects of photographs don’t have any rights unless – and this is an important unless – the photograph is taken in a setting where the subject has some reasonable expectation of privacy. So, if somebody takes a picture of you on a public street, you might not like it, but there isn’t a lot you can do about it from a legal standpoint.

CMaz's avatar

I have everyone sign off or if at an event.
Hang posters notifying people that by entering the building they release all rights.

katwalk65's avatar

Both, although I would say the photographer should get a higher percentage than subject, who should possibly get a pay out rather than rights to the image, specifically—but the subject who invests in their IMAGE so to speak should get paid something, and the crafter of the image should get the rights.

Like songwriting and performing I guess.

Jewel's avatar

@TheJoker In the U.S., until 1999, it was not a crime to secretly film or take pictures of someone, in spite of their not knowing or agreeing to these actions. It was made a crime in Louisana in 1999, and in following years it was adopted by 8 other states. But from what I have heard, it is still not a crime in the remaining 41 states. Secret photography is generally called surveillance by law enforcement authorities, and is not considered to be voyeurism or unlawful.
In essence, the photographer owns whatever he can get away with and if anyone is damaged by these actions, tough!

YARNLADY's avatar

@Jewel I agree. We had a case locally where a man in a shopping mall was taking pictures of women under their dresses by using a remote “eye” camera and he could not be prosecuted, because it was in a public place.

lilikoi's avatar

In America, the person that takes the picture owns the right. Of course there are exceptions to this (privacy laws for one)...

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