Here I have gathered together info about what the law, and reporters on the law, say regarding photography. I’m not a lawyer, I’m just an interested lay person who takes lots of photos and videos. I’ve come across people, some officials, that have their own views of what is and isn’t allowed when it comes to taking photos, and sharing them.
The rise of sharing websites like Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo, among many, many others, plus personal blogs, like ours, have dramatically increased the availability of photos and videos taken by individuals. The “classsic news” is regularly supplemented with “user generated content” or UGC – or almost entirely reported with UGC (e.g. when Iran restricted press freedoms in June 2009 after their elections; see the BBC Have Your Say section).
Society is only just now coming to grips with the Internet in general (email, company websites, instant communication, instant question/answer, …).
We are on the cusp of the next wave; techies have been calling it “Web 2.0″ for a while. The public probably think that “Web 2.0″ is some new version of a program, and not a revolution in the way information is shared.
Politicians are starting to use the word “transparency” – well, that’s better than 2.0; unfortunately, when a politician who isn’t transparent says they are transparent then confusion and bad feelings arise. So, this revolution probably won’t be called that either.
Even so, a discussion/debate needs to happen to foster a better understanding of the issues involved with sharing personal information on the internet – photos, videos, personal stories (blogging).
Your comments are most welcome, and encouraged.
The British Journal of Photography regularly publishes news items, letters and comments on photography law. Other places, like BBC news and The Register also pick up on some aspects of this. Some articles I found interesting…
- Privacy law by stealth (one judge seems to be creating a defacto privacy law instead of letting our elected MPs do it, or not)
- Home Office answers Lord Carlile’s report, reassures photographers (the Home Office has moved to reassure photographers that a newly-established law does not make it a crime to take pictures of police officers)
- Kent Police clamp down on tall photographers (photographer of buildings and people stopped by police, arrested when he wouldn’t answer their questions; also contains links to “clarifications” by London’s MET police on allowing people to photograph police officers)
There is also some interesting things to think about when it comes to licensing photos and videos. I’ve generally licensed my photos and videos for Whitchurch events under Creative Commons. However, The Register made an interesting case for not using Creative Commons, arguing that normal copyright is good enough; and they referred to a paper about public licenses.
This article has a good overview of (re-)using photos found online: Using photos on social media in the UK: the legal pitfalls