Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

Legality of photographing in public places

33 posts in this topic

I'm thinking about what are the rules about shooting any object in random place? say a person or a kid in the street or shopping mall, people inside a cafe, or a kid playing in a public swimming pool or playground. Does it make a difference if the face is close-up or from distance? does it violate privacy especially if other identifiable objects exist in the same photo? Do I need to get person's approval or anything I can see with my bare eye can be also stored in my digital eye?

Thanks for clarification.

 

P.S: I'm not sure if life in Germany is the right place to place this question.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[adminmerge][/adminmerge]

Having heard and read all of the horror stories in England(and America) about police harassing Pro and Amateur photographers...has anyone heard of such things here in Germany? I'm often out and about with my cameras photographing all kinds of stuff and never ran into a problem. Have I been lucky with my touristy and street photography or are things just completely different here? Of course military and other sensitive areas are off-limits...anything else?

Thoughts...stories.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In public locations where privicy is not expected then no problem taking the pic... Using, selling it, posting it ect... Different story. Takeing a picture of someone in a location where privicy is expected IE private property ect... Dont so it.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

In public locations where privicy is not expected then no problem taking the pic... Using, selling it, posting it ect...

No. Just no. The difference you're pointing out is just the one between taking the pic being illegal (ie whether you may be fined or jailed for taking it, based on stalking assumptions) and only distributing it being illegal.

 

All photos of people, no matter the location, are protected by §22 KUG. §23 KUG names the only allowed exceptions: 1) pictures of current historic events (ie VIPs etc); 2) pictures in which people are only byplay, focussing on e.g. a landscape or building; 3) pictures of public assemblies, rallies etc; 4) art. Distribution of any picture not falling in these categories without the consent of all depicted persons (until 10 years after their death) is illegal.

 

Punishment for either crime is the same btw, one year jail or a fine of - in theory - up to a maximum of €10.8 million depending on income.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What about doing an amateur photoshoot in a cemetery. Does anyone think that would cause some problems with the locals that might encourage them to call the police?

In this case, the local police chief lives directly across the street from the cemetery..

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rightly or wrongly, I tend to be a bit more pushy/nosey when it comes to photography (I think you've got to be to get a good photo sometimes), got a telling off from a security guard yesterday for photographing a minor incident regarding a guy on a train that needed chucking off, I tend to act like the stupid foreigner and shrug, brush it off and walk away so I don't get asked too much, if they decide to persist with it, I'd simply offer to delete the image, showing them I've done so and walk off. I've found so far, 99% of people don't mind, if you smile at them they're often endeared and flattered that they're being made a fuss of, compliments and a thank you afterwards go a long way.

 

As to distributing photos I'm putting mine on flickr, again if someone by a sheer act of chance manages to stumble upon them self in one of my photos and takes abject offense to it being public available, then I'll kindly remove it from public view, although unless I'm selling the photos I'm not really going to lose much sleep over the whole affair.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Whatever you do, don't try and take a picture of anyone, within Christiania (the free state) within Copenhagen. Even if its by chance that they're in it - they'll almost kill you on the spot. My girlfriend got told to delete it, or the guy would smash the camera and then my face.

 

Really nice people there....

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

first of all - I am not commenting on the legality of this in Germany as I aint no lawyer - just want to add to the discussion.

 

I was in London recently and saw the Exposed Exhibition at Tate Modern which "offers a fascinating look at pictures made on the sly, without the explicit permission of the people depicted. With photographs from the late nineteenth century to present day, the pictures present a shocking, illuminating and witty perspective on iconic and taboo subjects."

 

really interesting for me was about the interplay between an artist's right to expression and a person's right to privacy.

 

There was a section on an artist (see 006 New York Times article for the full story) who over 2 years rather cleverly in my opinion took random series of pictures of strangers on the street and then exhibited them. A few years later a person saw his picture and sued for exhibiting and publishing the portrait without permission and profiting from it financially... The suit sought an injunction to halt sales and publication of the photograph, as well as $500,000 in compensatory damages and $1.5 million in punitive damages."

 

the result? he lost because the "New York State Supreme Court judge who said that the photographer's right to artistic expression trumped the subject's privacy rights." furthermore in the article the judge is quoted as saying "Even while recognizing art as exempted from the reach of New York's privacy laws, the problem of sorting out what may or may not legally be art remains a difficult one," she wrote.

 

it would be interesting the know the German perspective on this.

 

:) gidget.

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't quite understand this. What's the big deal about having a photo taken?

 

Surely just by being present in a public place, you're saying goodbye to your "privacy"? Other people, strangers, can see you. And you do this every day. Different people, new people, people from all over, all seeing you in public.

 

If you're so obsessed with privacy in public places, shouldnt you be going around with a mask on?

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

it's actually quite simple:

if you're taking pictures of people for your own personal use in a public place then you don't need their consent.

If you're publishing those pictures you need to get their consent (with those exceptions mentioned by kato above, i.e. persons incidental to the subject of the picture, famous people, etc)

 

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recht_am_eigenen_Bild

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If there are no signs up saying "No cameras of any kind" at the pool...you have no say in the matter.

And I take pics of my son at the playground all of the time. Are other people's kids also in the pics?

YEP...not a thing they can do about it.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All I am saying is I would not feel comfortable about a stranger at the playground or swimming pool taking photos. I do realise other parents are there taking pics, that is not quite the same thing.

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

If you're publishing those pictures you need to get their consent

 

"Publishing" or "Distribution" in the legal sense in Germany already extends to showing it to a single other person than the photographer btw.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I reckon your take on this is sad, monkeypuzzled. I understand your concerns (and I´m a parent, too)...I just think it´s an indictment on present society...I have hundreds of photos from extensive travelling in the past with complete strangers, including children..most were only too happy to be photgraphed, indeed they often insisted on it. However, that was in Latin America and Asia and times were maybe different. I don´t know...I DO know I´m often scared to smile at a child in Germany/UK in the street(unlike my girlfriend..being a woman)...I´m someone who likes smiling and being friendly..we need more of it.Very sad.

6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Look at it this way monkeypuzzled...there most likely already has been an occasion where your ugly kid or my ugly kid was in the way of someone taking a picture of the most beautiful kid in the history of "kids"... :)

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Photography is allowed on all public ground except in these cases:

 

* into a military compound or other high security area. These are clearly marked with signs and pictograms. The only site here in Bremen is a warship shipyard. Makes some sense to me.

 

* into the private area of houses. "Private" has a narrow meaning. You are allowed to shoot a house with a look into the windows, you are not allowed to directly point your camera into a window and shoot the interior or peek with a 400mm into the bedroom. If you behave somewhat decent, golden rule and so on, you are on the safe side.

 

You are allowed to make images of people in the streets. You are not allowed to be a pest while doing so. No problem with normal street photography, but don't violate personal space or continue to shoot when you see you are not welcome.

 

You are not allowed to publish images of people without their consent if the person is recognizable and the subject of the image.

If the subject is not the person but the person is only there by chance, you don't need a release even if the person is important for the image composition. So Frau Müller can object to being shown in a portrait of her looking at the Dom in Cologne but not in a shot of the Dom with her looking at the Dom.

 

You are not allowed to publish images of art that is not a permanent part of the environment. Famous are the images from the Christo performance at the Reichstag in Berlin. Anything intended to be permanent would be legal to publish, even if it is brand new.

Rolf Steinort - German school teacher, photographer and GIMP(free Photoshop alternative)teacher.

http://meetthegimp.org/

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was wondering the same thing thanks for posting this topic! A friend of mine (American) posted some pictures of my wedding on Facebook. My husband (German) got really upset and demanded that she take them down. She refused and said the photos are her property and were taken in public. It is so awkward now that I don't see myself ever inviting her here for a visit. I didn't understand what the big deal was, I have never given a thought about other people posting photos of me, or of me posting photos of others. It really opened my eyes to what privacy and property means to different people!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0