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Wikitravel talk:Privacy rights

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If you can be described as a public personage or are performing a public role in which you can reasonably be expected to be photographed - eg.making a public speech, performing in a live show etc, then you HAVE no privacy right in that context. At least that's what I've heard... so you could upload photos of Manilan folk dancers or whatever without worrying about consent forms.

Also, if the people in the photo are not individually recognisable, then they don't count. KJ

Agreed -- I think the text here is too conservative. The rule of thumb (in the US) is that you do not need a model release for a picture of a person taken in a public place, as long as you do not make a commercial profit from it, which applies to almost all pictures of people here. Naturally it's worth noting that things are rarely quite this clear-cut and having written model releases are always welcome as insurance... Jpatokal 22:33, 14 Aug 2004 (EDT)
Ah, but it's the word commercial that's the catch. The by-sa is all about allowing somebody (anybody) to use our work in other works, including commercial works, so long as they assign credit and share-alike. -- Mark 10:48, 15 Aug 2004 (EDT)
There is no catch. The model release is required for models, not ordinary people. Time and time again it was proved in courts that if you are just a person who was doing his own business and then was accidentally included in some photo, you don't have any special rights. When you use a model, i.e. a person who models for you, you need some paperwork. If you just film in public random people, you don't need anything. The wording is really to strict without justification. 11:47, 16 Nov 2004 (EST)
This is a worldwide travel guide intended to be usable anywhere in the world including for commercial use. I have difficulty accepting the concept that all legal systems in the world are as sane as you suggest. Secondly, although it may have been proved "time and time again," I don't think we can afford the costs of even one incident. And lastly, with a few exceptions (like folk dancing mentioned above) we don't need photos with people in them. So in my opinion, the risks outweigh the benefits. -- Colin 14:41, 16 Nov 2004 (EST)
This sounds like folk legal theory to me. I see no support whatsoever for the idea that you don't need a release when you take pictures of people in public. All the IP-law pages I can find are extremely clear: get a release if you have a picture of person, period. Considering how rarely we need pictures of people in Wikitravel anyways, I don't see a good reason to change things, here. --Evan 15:19, 16 Nov 2004 (EST)

Note I wrote this below concurrently with Evan's contributions above

It is not that clear cut. For commercial use (and I think a travel guide is commercial use), if someone is the 'subject' of the photo and you are going to publish it you generally need a model release. This is obviously quite subjective. If the photo is of a building, but there is a distinctive recognizable person in the photo, that person may be able to argue they are a subject of the photo and did not consent to the photo. (If they were part of a crowd, or just in the peripheral of the photograph, this argument would probably not succeed). There is a famous Quebec case where a photographer was sued for using a photo that was of a colourful house, but showed a (barely) recognizable person sitting on the steps of the house, she was able to argue that publishing this photo was an invasion of her privacy.
This applies almost no matter who the person is (with very few exceptions).
I know we have in some cases accepted verbal model releases, but this is not really very legal, as they probably did not intend to agree that the photo may be published. There is a difference between agreeing that a photo may be taken for personal use and agreeing that a photo can be published. There are standards as to what should be in a model release and many publishers will not publish any photo in which the model release does not contain specific wording to protect them from being sued. This is particularly true if you took the photograph as a "tourist" and not a professional photographer, as if you were obviously a professional photographer and got a verbal release, the subject would reasonably expect that the photograph may be published. Furthermore to be a proper contract there has to be consideration given. Therefore you have to give something to the person you are photographing (a copy of the photograph is a good thing to give in consideration).
To complicate matters even further, taking on private property without explicit permission on what the photographs are going to be used for are very problematic. Also photographs of sculptures, or other works of art that are not in the public domain are problematic as well. In some countries even buildings have been considered copyrighted "artwork". Lots of places that appear to be public property (train stations, public buildings, transit stations, driveways, private parks, malls, parking lots) are actually private property. Even National Parks often have rules as to how photographs taken in the park may be used.
It should also be noted that we are basing this on North American laws which are generally a lot more lenient than many other countries. As photos are from around the world and it may be published everywhere we have to be quite conservative on this. Unfortunately I think that this means that photographs with recognizable people that are anything other than part of a crowd or a peripheral part of the photograph, with only a few exceptions, should not be used. Furthermore we have to be very careful about photographs obviously taken on private property (This is particularly true in churches which often take a very negative view of publishing photographs of the inside of a church without permission).
Here is a simple website with some of the basics [1]. I have a much longer and more detailed article complete with many references to case law that deals with the issue from a Journalist's perspective (who have much more freedom about "fair use" and "newsworthy events" than travel photographers have). Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be on the internet anymore. also has a number of articles that may be enlightening. The important thing to remember is the difference between the right to take the photograph and the right to commercially publish it. To release it under our copyright it has to be legal to commercially publish it. -- Webgeer 15:22, Nov 16, 2004 (EST)

Pictures of performers at a public festival[edit]

So I had the pleasure of attending Kulamba in eastern Zambia last week and would like to upload a few select pics — but, alas, I don't have written model releases from the Nyau secret society dancers who were gallivanting in front of approx. 10,000 people including three TV cameras and every photographer who forked out 30,000 kwacha (US$6) for a photo permit. Is is thus reasonable to assume that said dancers have given up their privacy rights and the pictures are thus fair game for Wikitravel? Jpatokal 02:07, 31 Aug 2005 (EDT)

Bump. See also Talk:Panmunjeom. Jpatokal 22:17, 8 Dec 2005 (EST)