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WE MAKE NO WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, WARRANTIES OF TITLE OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, TITLE, COMPATIBILITY, SECURITY, ACCURACY OR NON-INFRINGEMENT. Despite the law being clear on a citizen's rights to freely take pictures in public places (with a few restrictions) there is growing evidence of the police, police community support officers (PCSOs), security guards and general jobsworths failing to respect the rights of photographers going about their lawful business. Following on from our article on UK photographers protesting about increasing police harassment, this feature hopes to outline your legal rights as a photographer, whether you're taking snaps on a mobile phone camera or wielding a monster Nikon about.
We've posted pages about the common issues (see links on the left), but bear in mind that this is intended purely as a rough outline of your rights and not a definitive legal statement.
Some aspects of the law can be complex, changing and open to interpretation - with Scottish law sometimes carrying a different spin on clauses - so always seek proper legal advice if you get into trouble. You are welcome to discuss the issues on our bulletin board thread Photographers rights in the UK: discussion. Note: This article attempts to be a brief educational guide to the sometimes-complex matter of your rights as a photographer. When checked, Shutterstock's safe search screens restricted content and excludes it from your search results. Books and Forms for PhotographersOrder customizable forms created by the Photo Attorney® specifically for photographers. A few weeks back a reader of the website said he wrote an article on the legality of street photography in Italy. With the growing number of photographers, or at least camera users around the globe, we will definitely see more attention devoted to the legal limits of photographing people in public.
Anyway, whether you photograph for fun or on assignment, Italy has a lot to offer visually. As there are few texts in English dealing with (street) photography and Italian laws, I’ve decided to put my lawyer‘s hat and sketch some toughts on the two main topics involving the Street-Photography: shooting candid and publishing them online.
The  Street-Photography in Italy should be a pretty straightforward activity, but actually is not since there is a widespread negative attitude towards those photographers that, being mere mortals, do not belong to the “Olympus” inhabited by Cartier-Bresson, Capa, Frank, Maier and other of their peers. The clash between the right to take pictures in public places, on the one hand, and, on the other, the (often mistaken) right to ownership of the personal image together with the (even more mistaken) right to “privacy” is not peculiar to Italy, but Italian law does have certain peculiarities of which a casual street photographer should be aware when traveling around this country.
It cannot be carried contrary to the social needs o in such a way to damage safety, freedom and human dignity. The infringement of personal privacy is the usual “leverage” – club – that the portrayed person uses to prevent the photography or ask for its deletion. First it is important to understand that privacy as such is not protected by a specific section of the Constitution, but such protection can be claimed by combining a few constitutional provisions: the first is Sect. Under these combined sections, thus, a photographer cannot “peeps” into private houses through windows or from high-ground, skipping fences and walls  as the typical paparazzi would.
A third party violates privacy and is a crime under Sect 615-bis Criminal Code, if the object of the photograph is conduct hidden from normal visibility , since the protection of the private space is granted only to what is done in such conditions that are not visible to the general public. It is necessary to balance the privacy need (rooted into the Constitution as expression of the individual personality and as protection of private space …) and the natural compression of this right is derived from the specific factual situation or, furthermore, the tacit – while non equivocal – withdrawal of this right, as happens in the case of a person that, while using a private space, locates himself in a position that renders him visible to a plurality of persons. Having attention focused upon you or being subjected to uninvited intrusions upon your solitude are objectionable in their own right, but our concern for the individual’s privacy in these circumstances is strongest when he or she is engaged in activities which we would normally consider private. Thus, to summarize the point: as soon as somebody is in a public space and the photography “sees” what the eye does, there is no reasonable privacy expectation.
Should we stop here, indeed, no profit Street-Photography would look like a perfectly legal activity in Italy; but now comes the tricky part: what about data protection rights? The problem when moving from legal theory to real life, is that the mistaken meaning of the IDPA and the approach of the Italian DP Commissioner is clearly aimed at enforcing the IDPA well beyond its original scope. A. The Data Protection Commissioner think so, thus a photography is supposed to be “personal data”. As a general principle, images depicting people in public space can be published without the consent of the portrayed person as long as it does not damage his dignity … but the photographer must disclose his identity and his activity and restrain from using “tricks” and undue pressure to achieve his goals. In this case, too, the journalist must nevertheless make an assessment on a per-case basis, taking into account the journalistic context and the subject of the news. For instance, the publication of a picture of an elderly person, clearly identifiable, shot in a street market while purchasing goods, might not be appropraite if the purpose is to illustrate the point of the elderly individual’s loneliness, and thereby infringes his dignity. The position is otherwise if the aim of the article containing the picture is to celebrate his longevity! Second: for the very same reason just explained, the DP Authority has no jurisdiction to tell a photo journalist how he should present his pictures.
Third: it seems that the DP Authority wants to allow the freedom to shoot pictures to photojournalists only, but photojournalists aren’t the only persons who take pictures, since the Constitution grants this right to “WHOEVER” wants to use a camera. Under this law, as odds as it may seems, a photography can be “artistic” (thus entitled to full protection under Sect. While the law doesn’t clearly defines that notion of “portrait” -  to be possibly interpreted as “whatever depiction of a recognizable human being” – Sect.
There are, anyway, two very old and rather odd decisions (Tribunal of Milan, 1954 and Pretura of Rome, 1977) that stand for a dissenting opinion: if the portrayed person is mainly in foreground so that everything else disappear (like often happens in street-photography, my remark) then the publication is not anymore allowed.
Since there are six different law enforcement agencies (of which two are local, reporting to the mayor or to the president of the province) in Italy, sometimes it can be difficult to understand who – and under whose authority – is questioning you, so let’s start with the list of the police forces currently on duty. At local level, every  town has its local police (polizia municipale and polizia provinciale) that mainly deals with administrative issues (traffic fines, business authorization check and so on).
Law enforcement agents, in Italy, are largely unfit to handle constitutional issues on their own and on the street, so arrogance  is often ignorance’s companion. If you stay calm and polite, nobody can touch or seize either you or the camera so, no matter what the law enforcement officer says, you can take the camera with you and you cannot be forced to give access to the pictures. The only allowed to issue this order is the public prosecutor.
If you are taken to a police station just because the agent is not able to sort out  your position on the spot,  you’re not “charged” or “arrested” so you don’t have the “right to place a call”; nevertheless is a good idea to have at hand the phone number either of the local journalist association or just of the local chapter of the FIAF (Federazione Italiana Associazioni Fotografiche) a nation-wide amateur photographer association that might provide some help. In any case, the first thing to look for, when the interrogation starts, is whether the officer is transcribing your statements as he should, because he’s required by laws to do so. Be sure to have all put into the official transcript and get a copy, because, just in case, this will be the main evidence for building a case against the municipality or the police authority involved.
Italians might become very touchy when shot candidly, no matter what the laws say, so will (largely untrained for this purposes) policemen asked to intervene. Briefly, therefore, the law stands fairly enough by the photographer’s side, but too many of those who are entitled to enforce it, fail to do so. I am currently on assignment from work in Torino for all of February and I have time off work to venture into the city during the morning hours with my camera.


I took a scene of an elderly lady in many of the beautiful galleries that edge the streets in Torino.
Thanks for sharing both of your stories…I came across a similar situation in a market in Padua. I feel that I will get in much trouble in southern Europe when taking videos of markets, busy streets etc. Not every place will say yes, but if you win over the people you are filming, get city approval where possible many doors will open.
But if you try and film strictly for yourself, then turn around and sell it without any interaction with the people, while it may be perfectly legal, it will not make you many friends. Firstly thank you for taking the time to create this article which has answered many of my questions already. The last thing you need is someone breaking up a big shoot that could have been arranged in advance. I was wondering what the law is with regards to shooting on the streets, and considering, they will mostly be wearing shorts!
They approached us with a concept to produce a series of black and white environmental portraits that portray some of their corporate clients in their natural environments. Being centrally located between the Left and Right coasts has its advantages- we can get anywhere very quickly. Brad Iwen Productions is a commercial, corporate, editorial, and advertising photography and video production company located in Omaha, NE. BY ACCESSING THIS SITE, YOU ARE INDICATING YOUR ACKNOWLEDGMENT AND ACCEPTANCE OF THESE TERMS OF USE (YOU MAY ALSO HAVE ACCEPTED THESE TERMS OF USE IN OTHER WAYS). Your use of the Brown & Brown Website shall be governed exclusively by the terms of this Agreement. The Website includes original works of authorship (including, but not limited to, derivative works based on graphical scans or typed text of public domain materials) that are both proprietary and intellectual properties of Brown & Brown or its suppliers and are protected by both the terms of this Agreement as well as domestic and foreign contractual and intellectual property laws including but not limited to copyright, trademark, patent, and trade secret laws. The Website may include technological protection measures that effectively control access, reproduction or distribution of the proprietary or intellectual properties accessible through the Website. Content in the Website that is used or referenced in any print or electronic media must be done in accordance with generally accepted standards, and must provide for proper attribution to Brown & Brown. You are entering this Agreement with a sound mind and not under duress or emotional distress.
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In other words, it would be easy for the likes of HCB, if caught in “the moment”, to explain who he is, and why is he taking a picture. But please – reader – take into account that what follows is a general account, and as such it may need to be adapted to the specific circumstances related to the time, space and place of the photography in question. Although this is a fairly common situation, not only in Italy, there is very limited power under the protection of privacy to stop casual street photography.
The Peeping Tom is more likely to affront our conception of what is ‘private’ than someone who follows us in public. This not true because, as is apparent from reading the relevant EU directives and and theinterpretation given by the Court of Milan back in 1999,  when we look at the data protection provisions, we must bear in mind that we’re not talking about privacy as an absolute right, but of a “lesser” right aimed at granting a fair handling of personal data on a “need-to-know basis”. This would be wrong even if data protection were clearly set among the Constitutional Rights, because every single right – including the protection of human life – has to be balanced against the others. While being aware of the legal subtleties of the topic, the DP Authority tries to push as far as it can the limit of its jurisdiction by releasing public statements that corresponds to its “personal” view instead of what the law actually provides. If the photographer shoots for personal use, no, otherwise – accordingly to a strict and (incorrect) interpretation of the IDPA – yes. If data protection is a “lesser right” then it cannot be enforced so as to undermine a constitutional right, and the IDPA can’t be used to stop public place-casual photography. The DPA doesn’t clarify its position on the act of shooting but it can be deduced by its statement that if it is possible to publish a picture without a consent, a fortiori is possible to shoot it. Both the Constitution and the Criminal Code already set these (reasonable) limits so and, as long as a crime is not committed, a photographer is free to use whatever technique he likes, even “undercover”. Professionals non-photojournalists should be granted the same (apparent) “freedom” reserved for photojournalists.
My opinion is that instead of facing the risk of trials, questionable verdicts and bad media coverage – with all its implications – Google just opted for a pragmatic alternative. 2, Para 1 n.7 of the Copyright law) or a simple reproduction of things, documents, writings, technical blueprints et similia. 96generally forbids the exhibition, duplication and selling of a portrait without the consent of the model. If the order comes from a bodyguard or any other private security professional, it must not be obeyed and if they try to get the camera by way of the use of force, this is a robbery and is punished as such (see Corte di cassazione sezione II sentenza 12 settembre 2013, n. You have to understand that, to a street-policeman, you – a photographer – do mean big troubles. Please bear in mind that if you choose to stand for your rights, you must expect to be taken in temporary custody and led to a police station where you may rest for a whole day (not in jail, anyway), waiting to be questioned. It is likely to happens that, as soon as the police understands that you’re not a criminal, you will be released without further formality and your presence in the station might never be noted so, for the record, nothing happened. These latter will on first instance back the people’s claim by trying to blame the photographer. Many times, I am right in their face so to speak, shooting with a M3 and zone focusing from in between 2 to 4 meters away depending on the frame orientation.
She came over to me and (this is what I made of it without really understanding Italian) tried to convince me in a very friendly way to go to restaurant up the street.
The restaurant scene here is excellent and very decent in terms of what you get for your money. We bring with us our easy going Midwestern values, a never-ending desire to create amazing, original work, and an unbelievable can-do attitude that your entire team will appreciate.


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I enjoy my time here every day and will certainly return through work in summer, happy to have another shot at framing the streets.
I’m a fitness photographer from the UK and am hoping to go to Rome with a hand full of bodybuilders and shoot at landmarks etc. Once such a third party link has been accessed, a user is no longer accessing the Brown & Brown Website. We may also impose limits on certain features and services or restrict Your access to parts or all of the Brown & Brown Website without notice or liability.
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I usually take very close shots of strangers but then I smile and if they want to interact I keep on chatting with them and I give them my cards and contacts. I did something like that with just one bodybuilder, this past summer, in London and it went really well.
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Comments to «Photography legal advice»

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