I today received a request to remove pictures from the web because they “were published without people’s permission”. The people concerned were in fact part of a demonstration – in fact a process that involves exhibiting yourself in public, and the photos were taken in a public place.
This is a request I have had a few times over the years, notably once from a track day when I was asked to remove a picture of a car because the numberplate was showing – and I was told by the driver that the picture was “my copyright”.
Well, no, the truth is that pictures taken by anyone are the copyright of the photographer, not the subject. If you are asked to delete them in the street – whoever by, don’t. If you had actually done something wrong, then you are actually destroying evidence, a criminal offence in itself.
Pictures taken from a public place are without restriction as long as they are not deemed ‘intrusive’ – for me, the recent pictures of the Duchess of Cambridge sunbathing were clearly intrusive. Poking a camera through a window is intrusive, but taking a picture of the front of the house from a road is not.
Another thing often cited is the inclusion of children in a photograph, as if that being included in that picture puts them at risk somehow. Again odd. Like the car, you display your children in the street, if they turn up in a picture in a public place, what’s the problem or damage? In fact, children have no special rights with respect to photography (apart from pornographic images of course).
As long as I don’t misrepresent people by saying they are somewhere they were not, endorsing something that they don’t or at a time they were not there, then it’s all fine. I can use or sell the images as I see fit. If you were somewhere you should not have been and get caught out – that’s your problem, not mine!
There’s a useful PDF here that explains photographer’s rights in more detail.
So no, I have not removed my pictures.
As for the driver of that car on the trackday? It actually turned out he was taking his company car on a track day, had not covered up his numberplate and was frightened of getting caught out!