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Thread: Selling photos of people

  1. #1
    Photo Bizarro nimrodisease's Avatar
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    Selling photos of people

    This is a hypothetical question.

    Suppose I were to open a photography gallery in a shopping mall. What legal issues (if any) might I face if I were to display and sell images of performers without their permission?

    Specifically my question is relating to concert photography, however I am somewhat interested in learning about other scenarios aswell.

    And, assuming there are issues with the above scenario, what sort of permissions does one need in order to avoid problems, and how would one go about obtaining such permissions?
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    I've done some reading on this for interest sakes more than anything else. Now IANAL so anything I say should be "verified" by someone with more knowledge, but this is Hypothetical so I'm safe


    • If you are in a public place, and there is no reasonable expectation of privacy, you can capture an image and sell as "Fine Art" without any repercussions at all.
    • Now depending on where and when you saw these performers. i.e. if you photographed them at a gig, there may be T&C's associated with the venue or show that would poo-poo over the above
    • If you photographed a street performer/busker in the city mall, then I wouldn't think there would be issues with selling "Fine Art" images


    The only thing to be careful of is advertising of your show/shop. If you use someone for marketing purposes you would need their express permission. There are model release forms you can find on the net, but again if you are looking to make money, a professional (solicitor or such) would be a good idea to ensure you don't end up in more expensive trouble than your income....
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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Concert photography is not generally performed in 'public space' Public space is that which is owned by the government. Streets, roads, etc.

    The issues you have:

    * Permission may be needed from place concert is held.
    * Stage settings could be copyright, performances can be copyright, you may need permission from the company doing the performance. A street performer/busker could have copyright over their performance, outfit, etc.
    * You have to be careful about your subjects not being perceived to be commercially promoting anything. Ie Coca-Cola sign dominating the background could imply to the viewer that the subject likes/recommends coke, when they don't.

    Your best recourse is to contact the Concert company and talk directly to them.
    Last edited by ricktas; 21-01-2014 at 2:35pm.
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    Adventure & Discovery
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    Hypothetically, it's like a butcher selling roadkill. Heaps of rules and regulations.
    If you get caught you won't have a lot of friends and now that you advertised it publicly, a heap of witnesses.
    A word to keep in mind is "incidental". That's a word they use in court a lot when describing how the "person" got in your photo without intent.
    If you intended to get the busker in the photo and you intended to sell that photo a court would assume you intended to pay for the privilege and it could cost you more than you make from it.
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    Thanks all for your input, very interesting indeed.. I suppose it would be quite difficult for a freelancer to make any money out of gig photography. There seems to be so many people doing it for websites for free these days too ('to build your portfolio')!

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    Ausphotography Regular Fedgrub's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nimrodisease View Post
    Thanks all for your input, very interesting indeed.. I suppose it would be quite difficult for a freelancer to make any money out of gig photography. There seems to be so many people doing it for websites for free these days too ('to build your portfolio')!
    Can confirm. Money isn't in live performance photography - it's in studio portraits of bands. I still do live music photography for the love of it though.
    My website has my most recent work - mostly music photography. I am a photographer for Violent Soho, The Smith Street Band and more.

    I also have some photography tips for those with new cameras.

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