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View Full Version : is it legal to take pic of other ppl's dog on street




bearbo
Mar 15, 2007, 09:19 PM
so i was in NYC, i was overjoyed by the amazing number of dog (walked by their owner)... and i was taking pictures. a non-photographer friend of mine kept on telling me i should ask them before taking the picture...

but this is the thing... sometimes the dogs are across the street or far away from me, and more importantly if i were to ask them, they'd stop and stand still, and the picture won't look natural anymore...

what should i do?



Aniej
Mar 15, 2007, 09:27 PM
you really should have absolutely no problem from a legal standpoint taking the pictures of the dogs, especially from a distance. The only thing that you should be somewhat careful of is taking a picture that is primarily of the person walking the dog, which I know you are not. These are not trademarked or copyrighted material or anything of that sort so there is no issue.

mkrishnan
Mar 15, 2007, 09:33 PM
Actually, my understanding is that this varies from state to state, and sometimes from city to city. I guess it might be different when there are no humans in the picture, but in certain US locations, it is not legal to take unconsented public pictures of others. I kind of want to say that NYC is one of them.

Anyway, though, there was a detailed discussion of this relatively recently at FredMiranda.

bearbo
Mar 15, 2007, 09:43 PM
if you were the dog owner, would you be offended?

i was concerned about legal standpoint, as well as physical standpoint, as is the dog owner gonna feel the urge to beat me up?

.JahJahwarrior.
Mar 15, 2007, 10:02 PM
I know you cannot sell pictures of people without their consent, but you can offer them for editorialized uses, from reading stuff on stock photo websites.

I would think if you just took the picture for the heck of it, and weren't making money on it or sellling it as porn, you'd be fine. If they took you to court and tried to make a big hullaballooh over some arcane, archaic law, no judge would do more than tell you to stop.





*as a disclaimer, I'm not a lawyer, but I think you could easily argue your way out of it.

Sun Baked
Mar 15, 2007, 10:03 PM
Taking personal pictures for personal use of people and pooches in public shouldn't be much of a problem, however using the pictures for commercial gain likely requires a release, or payment.

If you are going to include the dog in a portfolio, art show, etc. you'd also likely want to get a release -- or a permission on tape.

If they do find you using the dog in an ad campaign, their lawyer would likely stick your wallet and bank account in the washer.

* Getting a release isn't too hard, look at all the idiots that sign them for COPS.

bearbo
Mar 15, 2007, 10:29 PM
oh, i'm using it for no more than just to show to friends and family... the most i'd do is sticking it on flickr and the like.

failsafe1
Mar 15, 2007, 11:40 PM
There are three situations you can look at.

1. Personal use: No permission needed ,for your property or public spaces, but it is always appreciated. If none is given and you are in a public place or your property shoot away, just don't harass or break private property laws. Also don't be a jerk and stalk your subject.

2. Journalistic or editorial: No permissions needed. But the trespass laws thing still applies. If you are on private property and someone says no photos they have that right. Also try not to be a jerk. This can be put aside in some cases not many. An example of putting this aside is during a prisoner walk down. The person may not want a photo taken but you have to get in their personal space to get that photo. Don't be a paparazzi under any circumstance. I don't consider them to be journalists but they can tread that fine line between any photo in public and harassing their subject. There are journalistic situations where you need a photo release. A hospital patient is one of those for instance. New health regulations protect patients from journalists intrusion.

3. Commercial: Don't press that button without permission. This permission could also include the location. An example of this would be doing a fashion shoot in a state park. It is public property but you don't just show up and go to work. If you want to use a photo commercially you need a signed photo release.

Now all this said none of this guarantees the person having their photo made will want you to take it. You might have the right to do it but that does not make your subject willing or cooperative. With the case of animals they don't have to work with you under any circumstance and don't really obey the law if they don't want to.

Note on #2: The National Press Photographers Association puts out guidelines on the law and photography. The last time I looked at the law it said clearly that a photographer can take a picture in public of anything they can see. Even it what they see is on public property as long as they are on public property.

bearbo
Mar 16, 2007, 12:44 AM
can someone provided some link and such published article on this? thanks a bunch

Keebler
Mar 16, 2007, 12:49 AM
hi,

i have no answer for you, but i find this question sad from a societal point of view...nothing wrong for you asking.

we are so headed the way of fahrenheit 451, that it's sad and pathetic.

i was told that i'm not allowed to take video or pictures of my kid's swimming class. i told them to politely bite my hiney and if they had to, call the cops or whatever dumba$$ made that rule and i'll chew them out :)

BUT, i would think that as long as you are not selling the images, you'd be fine.

Cheers,
Keebler

Abstract
Mar 16, 2007, 05:14 AM
I know you cannot sell pictures of people without their consent, but you can offer them for editorialized uses, from reading stuff on stock photo websites.

Are you sure? Photographers/paparazzi, and even random people can take photos of celebrities, sell the photos, and make money. :confused: These celebrities can even be doing something mundane like walking the dog, or just breathing, and it seems to be OK.

Are there different rules for photographying famous people?

wordmunger
Mar 16, 2007, 05:41 AM
Are there different rules for photographying famous people?

Yep. If you're a public figure, it's a whole different ball game. Plus celebrities would be doing nothing but suing photographers if they went down this road.

.JahJahwarrior.
Mar 16, 2007, 05:43 AM
I'm reading Fahrenheit 451 right now, and hadn't thought of how it relates to photography. Thanks!

compuwar
Mar 16, 2007, 08:02 AM
3. Commercial: Don't press that button without permission. This permission could also include the location. An example of this would be doing a fashion shoot in a state park. It is public property but you don't just show up and go to work. If you want to use a photo commercially you need a signed photo release.


While you'd need a signed release for the person *and* the dog if you were selling the pictures for advertising purposes, not all[1] commercial use requires a release. Fine Art sales have historically been just fine without a release, as have photos of "public figures" when not used for advertising, since they're seen to have different standards of reasonable expectation of privacy by the courts.

[1] US-centric, consult your lawyer, not legal advice, yadda yadda

Are you sure? Photographers/paparazzi, and even random people can take photos of celebrities, sell the photos, and make money. :confused: These celebrities can even be doing something mundane like walking the dog, or just breathing, and it seems to be OK.

Are there different rules for photographying famous people?

1. Typically they're for tabloids which is "editorial use," neatly skirting most issues.
2. Yes, public figures have a decreased expectation of privacy in the US, making them fair game.

aristobrat
Mar 16, 2007, 08:17 AM
if you were the dog owner, would you be offended?
I really like my two dogs. If someone wanted to take a picture of one of them, I'd be happy. :)

Phatpat
Mar 16, 2007, 08:24 AM
Check this out:

http://www.krages.com/ThePhotographersRight.pdf

failsafe1
Mar 16, 2007, 09:21 AM
While you'd need a signed release for the person *and* the dog if you were selling the pictures for advertising purposes, not all[1] commercial use requires a release. Fine Art sales have historically been just fine without a release, as have photos of "public figures" when not used for advertising, since they're seen to have different standards of reasonable expectation of privacy by the court

Good point. I had forgotten to put the fine art photo in the commercial area. I was thinking of print as printed publication. I forgot to think about photo print in the gallery.

failsafe1
Mar 16, 2007, 09:22 AM
Check this out:

http://www.krages.com/ThePhotographersRight.pdf

Nice link to clear things up. Thanks.

compuwar
Mar 16, 2007, 10:18 AM
Note on #2: The National Press Photographers Association puts out guidelines on the law and photography. The last time I looked at the law it said clearly that a photographer can take a picture in public of anything they can see. Even it what they see is on public property as long as they are on public property.

FWIW, it's not true- some US Government entities can prohibit photography from public property, such as the DoD and military installations. You may also run into issues photographing infrastructure these days (regardless of the legality.)

failsafe1
Mar 16, 2007, 10:30 AM
FWIW, it's not true- some US Government entities can prohibit photography from public property, such as the DoD and military installations. You may also run into issues photographing infrastructure these days (regardless of the legality.)

That is a good point to clarify. I was using public property in the traditional sense of streets, parks etc. Military property is one of the sticky areas.

Keebler
Mar 16, 2007, 10:34 AM
I'm reading Fahrenheit 451 right now, and hadn't thought of how it relates to photography. Thanks!

no prob! :) as you read along, it relates to everything. in a few decades, if the planet lasts that long, we're going to be so regulated, it won't be funny :)

ChrisA
Mar 16, 2007, 11:33 AM
[This is the way it is in the US:

People who are out in public have no expectation of privacy. You can take photos of anything you can normally see with your eyes so long as you did not have to do something like climb over a fence or up into a window, use a telescope or whatever. But if the subject is in normal view of everyone else there is no question you can take the photo.

Now the nest question: What can you do with the photo? The basic rule is that if you use the photo for any commercial work or publish it you need a release form signed by the subject. But for your own use you do not.

There is one more thing. Some owners of private property may not want you to use your camera while you are inside their property. Example would be a department store or shopping mall. But even there you could shoot the outside of the property from a public location and use the image for your own use.

Next issue: common sense. You really should ask people first. Even if you have the right to take a photo you would be better off to ask. Say "I like your dog. May I take some photos? Here is may email address (hand them a card) I'll send you copies if you ask? What's his name?..." If you do this not only are you being polite you may get cooperation from the owner and better photos, much better photos.

bearbo
Mar 16, 2007, 11:53 AM
Next issue: common sense. You really should ask people first. Even if you have the right to take a photo you would be better off to ask. Say "I like your dog. May I take some photos? Here is may email address (hand them a card) I'll send you copies if you ask? What's his name?..." If you do this not only are you being polite you may get cooperation from the owner and better photos, much better photos.

see, now i understand this, that it's only nice for me to ask for permission, and such.. and i did, when the person is within normal talking distance, and not apparently trying to get somewhere fast... but is not asking, given the dog is far far away and/or on the other side of the street or everyone is hurrying somewhere, horribly impolite?

.JahJahwarrior.
Mar 16, 2007, 03:40 PM
^ no. They probably won't know or care that you took a picture of their dog, and it's beans' difference to them if you did. They are walking off their morning coffee, let them be!

Pac a Mac
Mar 16, 2007, 05:31 PM
Certainly in the UK photographing dogs without permission, hanging about out side kennels in long raincoats and offering puppies candy will get you a beating from the doggy police.

Seriously though, I guess it is just polite to ask:)

compuwar
Mar 16, 2007, 10:59 PM
[This is the way it is in the US:



This has been covered in this thread already, but I'd like to point out (because this was posted after it was all covered) some things that I take issue with (because when you're dealing with the law accuracy is important)



People who are out in public have no expectation of privacy. You can take photos of anything you can normally see with your eyes so long as you did not have to do something like climb over a fence or up into a window, use a telescope or whatever. But if the subject is in normal view of everyone else there is no question you can take the photo.



You cannot legally take pictures of several government installations where it is prohibited, even if you can see it normally with your eyes.

See for example: Title 18, Part I, Chapter 37, 795 & 797 US Code

I've seen and heard mixed things about infrastructure pictures, but I can't find anything in the Patriot Act prohibiting photography. Still one must weigh the chances of having to submit to a full body cavity search and detention with the desire to capture certain images. The place I photographed my avatar image is a dam, and I was warned by the other photographers there that the local sheriff's office would become very aggressive if I were to just take pictures of the dam.

While I can't imagine prosecutorial discretion not applying- taking a picture of someone abusing an animal and then selling or intending to sell it is a crime under all but some specific circumstances (Title 18, Part I, Chapter 3, 48.)


Now the nest question: What can you do with the photo? The basic rule is that if you use the photo for any commercial work or publish it you need a release form signed by the subject. But for your own use you do not.


Again not true. You can publish it commercially for editorial use, you can sell it to someone who's going to publish it for editorial use, you can sell it for fine art, you can sell it for lots of things that aren't related directly to advertising without a release. Also, for completeness you may need a property release in addition to a model release for animals, buildings, artwork, cars, and other property in the case where you need a release form for the subject depending quite a bit on what's in view and how important it is to the image.


There is one more thing. Some owners of private property may not want you to use your camera while you are inside their property. Example would be a department store or shopping mall. But even there you could shoot the outside of the property from a public location and use the image for your own use.


In general, it seems that though places like malls may ask you to stop taking pictures, they really can't do anything about the pictures you take before they ask you to stop.

Non-advertising commercial use is tricky without a release, because you can sell the picture, but you can't use the picture to advertise your photography, or perhaps even a book which includes the image.

Like all things legal, consult a licensed legal professional in the jurisdiction you're in before jumping in head first.

n-abounds
Mar 16, 2007, 11:36 PM
but is not asking, given the dog is far far away and/or on the other side of the street or everyone is hurrying somewhere, horribly impolite?

Well I guess you can take the reactions from us as an example. Personally I wouldn't care unless you use them to ridicule me or something publicly...

Clix Pix
Mar 18, 2007, 03:02 PM
I would be cautious about taking photos of someone who is identifiable and then putting them on the internet or publicly displaying them, even if the person seems to just casually be walking his or her dog. Definitely there are some situations where a person might strenuously object to having their photo taken, such as at an arrest scene. The other day I was out walking and taking photos and actually did happen upon a situation where a woman was being taken into custody and handcuffed. I managed to get off a surreptitious shot but her face was turned away from the camera. Even so I would not put that shot on the internet for all and sundry to see....

killr_b
Mar 18, 2007, 05:49 PM
Didn't you ever hear "It's only illegal if you get caught?" :D :D

80% of "B" movies are shot w/o permits… :rolleyes:
They don't get busted…

I'd say your fine.

Sun Baked
Mar 19, 2007, 05:10 PM
Certainly in the UK photographing dogs without permission, hanging about out side kennels in long raincoats and offering puppies candy will get you a beating from the doggy police.

Seriously though, I guess it is just polite to ask:)While sometimes you certainly have a legal right to do it, you can use that to console yourself while you are recovering in the hospital for weeks from the beating you get.

Always polite to ask if you can use the picture, because that interesting person may just be someone you don't want to have a picture of.

Cult Follower
Mar 19, 2007, 08:56 PM
Like most people have said it depends on the use of the pictures, and if the picture is of a dog so what, take the picture. I don't know why tht would be illegal

bearbo
Mar 19, 2007, 09:10 PM
well...

these are pictures in question, i could have gotten more, but...

http://stlouishome.selfip.com/imagehost/NewYork07_1.jpg
http://stlouishome.selfip.com/imagehost/NewYork07_2.jpg
http://stlouishome.selfip.com/imagehost/NewYork07_3.jpg
http://stlouishome.selfip.com/imagehost/NewYork07_4.jpg
http://stlouishome.selfip.com/imagehost/NewYork07_5.jpg

Counterfit
May 13, 2007, 09:04 PM
In general, it seems that though places like malls may ask you to stop taking pictures, they really can't do anything about the pictures you take before they ask you to stop.

That's correct. Also, you are under no obligation to hand over your camera or film/memory card to anyone unless they have a court order*.



*: certain restrictions may apply, consult your lawyer.