Be a photographer brings the challenge to respect the privacy of those who are captured in our images. It isn’t weird to see photographers capturing random people on the streets, so we ask What if someone takes a picture of me? What can they with with it? What if I don’t agree with the use of it?
In Venezuela, since there isn’t anything such an specific law about this, and knowing a bit how the foreign laws of civil rights work, and after reading a lot, I’m writing this lines so my fellow photographers, and those who are photographed, know the legal reach of the attributions that both can have
What’s the right to the self-image?
Translation may vary, but it’s the right that gives you the ownership of how your physical image is used, forbidding its use without your express consent. Technological advances allow a ton of ways to capture someone’s image without his knowledge, so this right is a guarantee above the legitimate intrusions of people’s life’s on images that can show your physical image and make you recognizable on any media (television, video, photos or even a cartoon), with an absolute abstraction of your own will. Knowing this right, it’s about protect a legal right that, same as those defined on the fundamental rights, it’s based on respect to the constitutional value of the personal dignity.
As a photographer, What should I do so the Self-Image rights aren’t violated?
It’s not enough to set a Creative Commons, since this doesn’t protect the person on the image. I will talk abut this topic on three potential cases, when you’re hired to shoot an event, when we shoot people at an event we simply attend and we photograph strangers on the street.
when we have been hired to shoot an event.
First thing photographers must do is to give the clients a contract where both parts make a model release agreement or photography consent, so the identifiable people on the images can’t sue you. Here is a simple tutorial on how to write this kind of documents. In my case, i always extend the reach, if my clients agree, pointing them that I might use their images for contests or expositions, and that they cannot claim the making of the photographs, however, they can reproduce them for personal uses as many times as they want.
When we photograph people at an event we attend
This is probably the most delicate case since it isn’t the same to take a picture of a crowd than a particular photo. I’ve attend infinity of events where I’ve photograph a ton of people, however, there are two kind of events: Those where the organizers let the attendees know that all the images that are taking of them during the event may be used for marketing purposes and those where there is no explicit rules. On this last case it usually depends on if the organizers will receive some money from the event or not.
If the organizers let the attendee explicitly know that if they sign for the conference, they agree to these term, we can apply the same article that tells that the attendees are ok with them being photographed without their knowledge, so they couldn’t sue in case of issues.
If the organizers haven’t wrote any policy and the event is paid or organizers receive money, then the subject can ask for this image removal. In my case, I’ve been asked to delete some pictures, however, asking people before taking the picture has been quite a simple solution.
When we photograph strangers on the street
In this case, most of the times, people get blurry doe movement or their faces aren’t sharp enough due a crowd. However, you need to understand that if someone see themselves on the photograph and they don’t agree their publishing, as photographers, we have the duty of remove it OR ask for a model release agreement.
Now, either as someone who has been photographed randomly or a proper model living in Venezuela, What can I do if I’m not Ok with the usage of my photograph?
There are many international laws that cover the Self-Image, despite there is no specific law about it, Constitution and the Intellectual Property Law in Venezuela are good enough to ask the photographer to remove your photograph. Legal bases quote the following:
What can you do in case you don’t agree with the usage of your image?
First thing is to talk, and let the photographer know you don’t agree the way your image is being used. If this doesn’t work, you must try to reach an agreement. As last resource, and under the constitution hale, you can act under a Constitutional right, and as for a civil or penal sue. This must be done at the prosecutor’s office, who has 48 hours to act.
Lets just remind that we should refer to a demand only when the photograph dishonor you, etc. Lets remember that each citizen has a law that protects their honor, intimacy, private life, self-image, confidentiality and reputation under the Constitution.
Now, under the Author’s Rights Law they mention the following:
It’s not a secret that our Laws have a ton of holes, however, when they talk about the image of the citizens, it’s quite clear that there is a protection of it. Lets remember that as photographers, we have a labor of capture reality and not denigrate those who are in front of our lens.
There is too much to read and discuss, however, we need to start with something. I would be happy to start a debate about it, generate some proposals and write a document that could help enrich the current laws so our work, and the integrity of those who we photograph, remain intact.
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