Answers to …
The Law On Celebrity Oops Images
[With Mega Oops Collections]
How is it legal for paparazzi to sell photos of celebs on the street? If I want to do that of a regular citizen, don’t I need a model release?
Let’s find out what is the legal implications behind the Seethroughs, the Pussy Flashings, the Nipslip/Boobslip, the Sideboob/Underboobs, and more similar Celebrity Oops Goodies.
It’s perfectly legal to take a photo of anyone from a public area, as long as that photo does not invade their privacy (for example, using a long lens to shoot into someone’s home, shooting inside of a restroom or changing room, shooting inside of a hospital, etc).
Furthermore, a photographer’s work is protected by the First Amendment as free speech under the artistic expression doctrine, therefore when a photographer uses his photos as an artistic work, he is exempt from certain other laws, such as the publicity laws that require model releases. There are some limited exceptions, but in general, a photographer can use any photo they take on their website, in an art gallery, or sell prints of that image as a work of art without a model release.
See Nussenzweig v diCorcia for more information on all of the above (there are other cases that have established all that, but diCorcia is a good overall view). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nussenzweig_v._DiCorcia
Generally you only need a model release when the image is being used less as a work of art and more as a commercial advertisement. For example, in Nussenzweig v diCorcia, they found that although the photographer was fine to display and sell the photo without the subject’s consent, he was not allowed to put the image on a postcard advertising the gallery showing of the images, because that was more of an advertisement than a work of art. You also need a release any time a person is perceived to be endorsing or promoting something. You also need a release if the image is portraying the person in a False Light – for example, suggesting they did something bad.
Furthermore, celebrities have less protection than private citizens because they are public figures, and their actions are considered relevant to the public interest. This is why tabloid magazines can use these photos without releases, because it’s considered newsworthy and thus exempt under the First Amendment. However public figures do retain their privacy rights, which is why people can’t sell sex tapes of celebrities without their consent (despite how the celeb may lie in the media and claim it was released without their permission, a la Kim Kardashian).
Not asked, but in case anyone was wondering, in almost every state, the laws for photographing minors are the same as laws for adults (other than porn laws). So if any screaming mother starts accosting you for taking a photo of her darling angel without her consent, you probably don’t have to comply or delete the image. But you probably should, just for the sake of not being a creeper.
Keep in mind this is all just relevant for US law. Model release laws vary from state to state, but the exception granted to artists comes from the First Amendment, so it’s valid in every state. I can’t speak for any other country.
It’s legal because it’s newsworthy and it’s public property. And no, you don’t always need a model release to sell a photo of a person.
More answers …
Celebrity Upskirt Classics
Answer 2: WRONG. WRONG. WRONG. NOT TRYING TO BE MEAN, BUT WE’RE SCREWING THIS UP.
You’re missing the clause that makes all of this happen- (I’m a professional videographer that works in legit news, and this issue is basic to why paparazzis work in America. First of all, if somone ran over all the paparazzis, I’d be sad for milliseconds. They’re scum. I’m legit media that covers everything, and ultimately, in the USA, I’m protected by the ACLU, the Supreme Court, and Satan, LORD OF HELLFIRE (TM) himself.)
All law in the USA regarding photography is considered lynchpin on a basis of ‘reasonable expectation of privacy.’ What does that mean? Can I shoot through a window if the drapes are open? You betcha. Can I place my zoom lens on the glass of the window and roll? NOPE. Not a defendable ‘reasonable’ expectation of privacy. Can I take a picture of a person in public? Yep. Can I take a camera, place it on a bus stop, and shoot up a person’s skirt? NOPE. If I take a 300 millimeter lens out, hide, and shoot through an open window of an apartment across from me? Nope. Can I take a picture of a celeb coming out of Barney’s? YOU BETCHA.
WHY DO CELEBS HAVE NO PROTECTIONS? Actually, they have some protections. But those protections must be enforced. A celebrity, or public politician, or anyone considered a known public persona has NO REASONABLE EXPECTATION OF PRIVACY WHATSOEVER. IT DOESN’T MEAN THAT A PERSON CAN PHOTOGRAPH THEM WITH UNREASONABLE MEANS. STILL, ALL OF THIS HAS BEEN RULED IN COURT.
Once again, I am not going to rule for the paparazzis. I think they’re total scum. They should all be arrested for harassment, trespassing, loitering, unreasonable invasion of privacy, and simple assault. Still, the act of photography in the USA is by large and by constitutional tested nature NOT A CRIME.
That doesn’t mean that decency laws, trespassing laws, or unreasonable invasion of privacy laws don’t apply, it just means that in a public figure the expectation is practically nil, and almost indefensible.
That REASONABLE EXPECTATION part is what is tripping up everyone on the thread. That’s the rub.
Answer 3: In the United States, if you’re in public you are fair game to be photographed. If the photograph is used in “editorial” work, then releases are not generally required.Since photography is free speech, it is a constitutionally protected form of expression.
There seems to be a lot of hate against paparazzi building over the last few years. While paps have often been a nuisance to celebrities (few people like a flash going off in their face when leaving a nightclub just before sunrise), these are also the people who have been documenting real popular culture for decades. Paparazzi have taken some of the most iconic photographs of swinging London, gangsters in the New York boxing culture, and Hollywood during the golden age of cinema, just as examples. They document our culture, outside of the posed and stage-managed portraits authorised by studios and publicists. Boy George and George Michael clubbing in London in the 80s. Prince, in his early days. Elton John and Sylvester Stallone letting their hair down.
Celebrities (and the studios) have always had a symbiotic relationship with the paparazzi. Paps feed off the fame, in turn kindling public interest in celebrities and new productions. Fashionable nightclubs have long had arrangements with paparazzi from specific newspapers to come in and photograph celebrities in their establishments, hyping the nightclub, and this hype would draw in even more celebrities.
We’re not talking about photographers leering through bathroom windows hoping to catch a glimpse of someone snorting coke. They do exist, but they’re an extreme minority. Most paparazzi are just regular photographers who need to make a living off their art. Some of them are good at it, and will leave a legacy of historical importance. Some will snap grainy pics of a princess’s nipples, and fade away. There’s certainly no justification for hating them all, no matter how fashionable you think it is.