Just Smash Your Camera To Bits

Some more news this week regarding copyright and the right to privacy. These stories take place a little closer to home (if you live in Canada) than our previous week's examples. Over the past few weeks, we’ve taken a look at some examples of photographer’s protecting their copyright. Those instances were extreme examples to illustrate the point that: artists, including photographers, own the images that they make.

Well, that may be true - but naturally, there is a limit to what a photographer is able to capture and to protect. Here are two examples that occurred in Canada this past week:

Take a look at this story from Calgary. The city of Calgary is removing a $20,000 art installation after some British comedians complained that photos of them were being used without permission. In this case, there are a number of parties involved: the subject of the original photos (the comedians), the original photographer (the copyright owner), the public art artist and the city of Calgary. Apparently, the city wasn’t aware that the artist they hired was deriving his work from existing photographs. Again, it doesn't seem as though the artist sought the permission of the photographer or the subjects to reuse these images. Too bad this artist didn’t read last week’s blog - he would have know to always ask permission.

Next time you’re out and about; snapping some pictures with your camera - think of this story. A jogger in Ottawa ended up in an advertisement without her knowledge or permission. Ordinarily, this wouldn’t be much of an issue. By law, a photographer (or in this case videographer) is allowed to film in public spaces without privacy issues. Most people don’t have a reasonable expectation of privacy on a public trail. However, the jogger won $4,000 in damages for a breach of privacy. This is a precedent setting case. It seems to go against the conventional wisdom on this topic. It used to be that when it came to street photography, as long as a photographer wasn’t shooting subjects on private property (or anywhere subjects would have reasonable expectation of privacy) it was okay. That no longer seems to be the case. If you’re a street photographer, particularly if you like to make candid photographs) don’t forget to pack a bunch of release forms along with you camera gear. If you don’t you could be facing some serious consequences (namely 4,000 of them). Personally, I’m really going to have to give this last bit of news some serious thought. More on this in future blogs.

Did you see any stories this week that had to do with photography and copyright? What did you think about this week’s blog? What’s your opinion on this? Let me know in the comments.

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Feature Photograph of the Week - Grab Life By The Rust

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  Rusted Grill of a Dodge Truck

Rusted Grill of a Dodge Truck