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Thread: Neighbors rights with Real Estate photography

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    Neighbors rights with Real Estate photography

    My wife works in the real estate business and recently employed a professional photographer to take some overhead shots of a property for marketing purposes.

    Of course the photo included a number of neighbors homes and one of the neighbors is now complaining that it is an invasion of privacy, a security threat, burglars will be using it etc etc etc and is demanding that the photo be removed from the internet and the sign board at the front of the property.

    Of course the photo displays no more details than Google earth or any other aerial view available widely on the internet.

    As far as I understand from previous discussions here that the neighbor has no right to complain and nor did we have to ask permission.

    Any opinions on the legal aspect of this situation or could somebody direct me to a previous thread regards this subject.

    Thank you.
    Last edited by Aussie Battler; 01-02-2012 at 4:26pm.
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    I've got no legal opinion but what's the risk? A crook knocks over the house next door and tells the court he used the photo to plan the hoist. Neighbours sue you for losses? Same scenario but neighbours claim on insurance, the insurance company has a go at you (or Google or anyone taking a public photo). If you're willing to wear the risk take the consequences.
    In the old days I use to do real estate photography from a commercial balloon. The RE company wouldn't use the photos without permission of the neighbours included.
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    Not being a legal practitioner, please feel free to ignore this...

    As the previous post pointed out - GOOGLE.

    My (and many) school has an aerial photo of the campus that shows neighbouring properties.

    I'm saying nothing of being a good neighbour, but legally the complainant is on very thin ice.

    For them to sue you over a break in:

    a) they would have to show actual damages (so there would have to be an actual break-in - not a what if)
    b) they would have to prove that that you provided the bad-guy with means to affect his actions - and I suspect that he would need to prove that the means (info) you provided was uniquely given by you - ie not easily obtainable elsewhere (like Google)

    Perhaps if the real estate photo had detailed annotations explaining security weakpoints etc...

    So, I suspect that he could huff and puff all he likes - but he ain't gonna blow your house down.

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Next they will be trying to sue Holden, cause they made the car that the burglar used to drive to the house.

    I would think most sensible magistrates would throw this out.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ricktas View Post
    Next they will be trying to sue Holden, cause they made the car that the burglar used to drive to the house.

    I would think most sensible magistrates would throw this out.
    Rick,

    Didn't one of the record labels once try to sue Sony for inventing the twin deck tape recorder because people could easily dub tapes? (or something like that)

    I reckon, that I'll sue you if I get into trouble taking photos - you are facilitating the swapping of photographic ideas.

    Come on AP members... CLASS ACTION

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scotty72 View Post
    Rick,

    Didn't one of the record labels once try to sue Sony for inventing the twin deck tape recorder because people could easily dub tapes? (or something like that)

    I reckon, that I'll sue you if I get into trouble taking photos - you are facilitating the swapping of photographic ideas.

    Come on AP members... CLASS ACTION
    Isn't class action what gets your 14 year old student pregnant?

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    Where's the 'You're sick!' button?

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    A Bex and a good lie down.
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    Thanks everyone for the prompt replies.

    There's so many examples of this type of photo all over the net and it's a pretty standard RE marketing tool.

    I'm pretty sure that not everyone is asking permission from the neighbours given that this type of photo may include dozens of houses.

    Redgum if you do happen to make it back here do you think (and I know it's a hypothetical question) the real estate company you used to work for would be asking permission in today's climate given the proliferation of websites like Google earth, Suburb view, Nearmap etc and the general acceptance of the continual erosion of our privacy?

    I'm not questioning your reply - I know your a pro with many years experience so I value your opinion. Im very thankful that someone of your standing in this game takes the time to share your knowledge and opinion.

    ameerat42 - Do they still make Bex? Haven't heard that old line for years Not quite the words we would like to use towards our complainant but it might be worth a try.

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    My understanding is that if you have permission of the landowner you are standing on then that is all you need.

    But then there was that story on here about the journos who took photos of a murder scene from next door? I know that is a bit different as the road was cordoned off, but the principle is similar.

    You also have permission to stand in the road and take photos of that house and post them on the internet. What is different about pictures from next door? As long as they don't show anything private. I am assuming they don't show details of the inside of next door?
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    Account Closed reaction's Avatar
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    why not just put a black block on the pic and text saying "angry neighbors roam here"
    that will solve his privacy concerns and also ward away evildoers, a double win!

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    The overhead (aerial?) nature maybe of concern in that under the law people can have a reasonable right to privacy where it would be expected.
    I.e. Photos should not be taken over a high fence into a yard, or in change rooms at the local swimming pool etc.

    So in taking overhead photos was the neighbour's right to privacy violated?

    Something to consider.
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    Kym in no way was the neighbors right to privacy violated.

    There is a very small portion of a front porch where there are some crappy old bikes stored which is their main gripe.

    There are no people in the shot, pools, clotheslines, backyard or anything else that would be considered private that you couldn't see walking down the street.

    I can see far more on Google earth street view and near map.

    Look at the end of the day it's just someone with no life We had no intention of upsetting anyone and from the research I have done since we are well within our rights to take this sort of shot. We didn't go on any private property and I have seen hundreds of examples of this type of shot on the net.

    To appease them we are going to photoshop out the porch by growing a tree and they can do about it what they like from there.

    I am VERY respectful when taking my own photos with regard to other peoples privacy.

    Thanks everyone for your responses.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kym View Post
    The overhead (aerial?) nature maybe of concern in that under the law people can have a reasonable right to privacy where it would be expected.
    I.e. Photos should not be taken over a high fence into a yard, or in change rooms at the local swimming pool etc.

    So in taking overhead photos was the neighbour's right to privacy violated?

    Something to consider.
    You gonna try to stop light aircraft flying over your house (which is how one would assume the photo was captured)?

    I assume that all sorts of govt agencies would use this sort of thing to check that you ain't growing dope, adding an illegal extensions etc.

    I've heard that marketing companies use google earth (and similar) to find out who's got a backyard swimming pool, dogs etc so they know to whom to send the brochures; Insurance companies to compile all sorts of data...

    Good luck trying to stop this... but you really are pushing it up a very steep hill.

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    most councils have ariel shots of all the properties in the council permits division
    so if you go to lodge a plan and a tree is not there and its on there shot
    they have got you
    if it was against the law
    i dont think the councils or shires would take the shots

    cheers macca
    Last edited by macmich; 05-02-2012 at 5:57pm.

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    Its a bit late for this one, but it would only take 5 seconds to put a big blur on neighbouring properties.
    That being said , I cant imagine they have any legal leg to stand on here.
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