Originally Posted by Surrealplaces
Just curious if anyone has had issues regarding taking people's pictures in a public area? Not so much issues taking the photo, but issues when selling the photo......issues such as having someone sign a release or anything like that? I have no idea what the rules are.
Recently I sold a photo that had actress Annabella Sciorra in it and after the fact, someone told me I might need to get her to sign a release....has anyone come across this situation?
The laws do vary by country. However, pretty much every country has people doing this type of photography, even when the law isn't on your side, and you don't really hear of them being locked up behind bars because of it. Why, though? It's not that big an issue on most people's radar.
In the U.S., you'll find endless information on the web about this, but long story short, it is definitely legal to do this type of photography, so long as it is, as other say, not for direct commercial gain (advertising, etc.). Canadian law is a bit more vague (except Quebec), but it is generally accepted that it is legal as in the U.S.
Quebec passed a law in 1998, however, requiring model releases for published (this includes just photos on your flickr page) after a teenage girl was made fun of by classmates because of a candid photo of her on a Montreal street being in a newspaper. Despite this, candid snaps of people still do come out of Montreal, Quebec City, etc. and there has been no prosecutions on the matter since 1998.
France, Germany, Denmark, and Switzerland (among others) have similar laws to Quebec. Despite the law technically not being on your side, a quick glance on the net will reveal many great photographers from Paris, Berlin, Copenhagen, etc.
In short, if you are doing this for artistic or documentary purposes, in public spaces, you're going to be ok, even in France or Quebec. Although a bit of a grey area, you can technically sell prints/books/cards/etc I think, as long as they are for artistic benefit (even if making profits). Think about it, how else would you be able to buy prints of Fred Herzog's photos or books of Henri Cartier-Bresson's photos? Or perhaps less artistic, how do unflattering pictures of Angelina Jolie and Ben Affleck and Lindsay Lohan end up plastered of Celebrity magazine rags? I highly doubt they would approve of such photos of them if they were given a choice.
Of course, I do recommend you consult a lawyer or do your own research just to be sure if you are this curious about it.