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Publishing photos in Calender

Posted: Sat Oct 20, 2012 3:47 pm
by Stuartie_b

I'm interested in publishing photographs I took of bikers at Northwest 200 this year in a form of a calender. I am curious about the legalities of publishing the photos for copyright reasons of the bikers.

The bikers can't be identified by their faces as only their eyes are showing but they could be identified by their bikes. I spoke to a photographer who sells these types of images for over 20 years and has never had any issues, but he only sells to magazine/newspapers and has never self published.

I was wondering would the bikers have any grounds to sue if the photographs were published without their permission.


Posted: Sat Oct 20, 2012 8:12 pm
by AndyJ
Hi Stuartie,
There are no copyright issues with what you propose.

Also, there is no privacy law in the UK which requires that you to obtain permission from anyone either before or after you photograph them in a public place, although there are certain occasions when the right to a private life, even though a person is photographed in public, can trump this basic position. A good example of this occurred when a newspaper published pictures of Naomi Campbell attending a drug rehabilitation session, and the court later found in her favour because the use of the photographs was disproportionate and clearly intruded upon her private life, in the way that paparazzi shots of her attending a night club would not have done.

I assume these photographs were taken at a public event, or at least in a public place, and so the bikers can have had no real expectation of privacy. This would be the key objection under the Human Rights Act.
And from what you have said, your photographs sound as if they will be mainly reportage, and therefore neutral in terms of any comment that they may imply about the bikers, so I cannot see any grounds for objections on the grounds of defamation.

On that basis, you should be pretty free to publish your pictures. The only problem I see would be if the bikers are members of the local Hell's Angels Chapter, they are unlikely to use the courts to resolve any complaint they may have with your pictures!

Posted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 10:24 pm
by Stuartie_b
Hi Andy, thanks for your reply. That's a big help, I was worried that there might be issues. The photos were taken at a superbike racing event, they weren't hell's angels so I at least I won't have to worry about anything untoward! Thanks again.