Photo blog, tag: privacy  

Do we need subject permission before snapping a sports picture?

I will be returning to the UK after two years in Atlanta and two in Singapore, and I better get used again to the "you will be filmed fifty times a day by CCTVs, but damned if you take a picture" approach. Here in Singapore it does not matter where I am, there are always at least a dozen chaps with big DSLRs (and sometimes Lomos) taking pictures of everything, from ants on the ground to skyscrapers, and including the food they have at the restaurant. In the US (in Georgia), I was asked why I was taking a picture of a magnificent building in midtown Atlanta ("Because it?s magnificent, sir!"), and in other occasions I was given wary looks when I took pictures of dams, bridges and anything vaguely remarkable. I was lucky none of the wary bystanders were Jack Bauer-style proactive ...

We all know taking picture is becoming increasingly difficult, from a legal standpoint. So, not being a pro photographer, I wondered whether the subject of a photo taken during a sports event can claim that the photographer has no right of taking that picture, on grounds of privacy violation.

As an amateur sport photographer, in the last few months I have taken plenty of pictures of triathlon, fencing, sailing, football (soccer). These competitions were photographed without having an official assignment, without having to pay a ticket (and therefore without a recorded entry in the event venue), and in public places (with the exception of the fencing competition). For instance, I recently photographed the Singapore Ironman 70.3 triathlon competition which took place in a public park (the run), on a public road (the cycling segment) and in the Singapore Strait (the swim). I have offered free pictures to several race participants, those I could manage to find contact details for, and they were all between thankful and enthusiastic about the offer, but I wonder if any of my subjects might actually complain feeling that their privacy has been violated.

Based on common sense, I believe somebody?s expectation of privacy should be considerably lowered, when this person dons his/her sports gear and takes part in a sports event on public land.

A further ramification: what if I take pictures in the above described scenario, and then find somebody ? a sports magazine, a sports gear shop ? interested in publishing one of my pictures in exchange of money? Would the subject of the image have any right to claim a share of the mon

Tags: photographers rights, privacy



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