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05-04-2011, 01:26 PM   #1
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Asked to document a formal event in France!

Someone I worked with wants me to shoot an event for her, that's not really what I'm afraid of but more the legal side. I know that France has very strict photographic laws and so I would never think of taking someone's picture without a release. However this will be an event with maybe a hundred guests. I can't all ask them for a release, can I? What would you do?

I did tell her I wasn't experienced in this field but she said she liked my style and is really insisting.

05-04-2011, 01:36 PM   #2
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Good for you...do it !
Let the organizers deal with the reclamations that might arise.
I've covered two events here in Spain so far and all has been fine. I deliver a selection of pictures and let the organizers deal with wich ones they'll publish and with all the resulting (if any) hassle.
If it's an official or organized event in the streets, and it is not some personal party or similar, they'll have to ask for permits and stuff and inform about the conditions... You'll get a pass or card with your function and if the police/particulars/etc come to ask about the photos you just tell them you are an employee and direct them to the organization team.
05-04-2011, 01:41 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Coeurdechene Quote
Good for you...do it !
Let the organizers deal with the reclamations that might arise.
I've covered two events here in Spain so far and all has been fine. I deliver a selection of pictures and let the organizers deal with wich ones they'll publish and with all the resulting (if any) hassle.
If it's an official or organized event in the streets, and it is not some personal party or similar, they'll have to ask for permits and stuff and inform about the conditions... You'll get a pass or card with your function and if the police/particulars/etc come to ask about the photos you just tell them you are an employee and direct them to the organization team.
No it's a formal event but in France the photographic laws forbid the publication of any images without a release other than for press use.
05-04-2011, 05:20 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
France uses the Napoleonic code, which makes a person accused guilty until they have proven their innocence.
Civil or administrative liability...not penal (criminal). You just have to let things written and perfectly clear about who will have to deal and pay with all the expenses derived from any demands or legal problems that may arise. Talk to them, ask them if they know all this...
In case of unknown persons they have the right to oppose to the publication of the photo and may be entitled to an indemnization and to the retiring of the foto in application of the article 9 of the code civil but it's only in case of degrading usage or with no information value to the public (wich can be a litle bit of wiggle and interpretation space).
But all that, if laid perfectly clear in a contract (who will respond and pay) should not worry you so much.

I don't consider my advice as a legal one (although i am a lawyer but versed in spanish, not french law) and if i was worried about it i would ask the organization first and if doubt persist a lawyer as wheatfield pointed.

I could read some and write again with more knowledge (i was educated in a french school and i am used to law giberish).

05-04-2011, 11:49 PM   #5
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As far as I know it should not be problem if you are doing pictures of groups.
Then as you are not shoting anyone in particular no complain can arise.

Close up pictures or portraits can be problematic but nothing big as it is a formal event.
05-05-2011, 04:08 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Coeurdechene Quote
I could read some and write again with more knowledge (i was educated in a french school and i am used to law giberish).
That would be really helpful!
05-05-2011, 07:32 PM   #7
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Well you shouldn't worry..
When a street scene is taken, in any kind of public event, provided that there isn't anybody individualized and that you respect the dignity of the human condition, it is legal to publish it.
when you individualize someone he might oppose the publication in court and ask for the correspondant indemnization and/or the measures necessary to stop the publication.
Even if you individualize the liability is a civil one. Just cover your back contractually with the organizers and get a signed and written document that states that they will face the costs of any legal action taken.
If you want to individualize someone you can always ask if you can take their picture, just to be on the safe side and get someone from the organization to make them sign a form if you need to be on the no-possible-surprises side (if the peace of mind is essential)..or just take group and ambient shots (or just give those to the organizers, and keep the rest for yourself).
In france you don't need a press card to be considered as press...the state does not control it through any administrative department, so when people may refer to the press exeption they are not meaning a credited, professional, hired by a newspaper photographer. If it's a formal event the right of information and expression may come in the scene and then the private life right is tempered.

French Legislation on Privacy - France in the United States/ Embassy of France in Washington
Great litle article of the french embassy in the U.S. that i stumbled upon while looking for jurisprudence and comentaries of the articles 9 and 1382 of the civil code (don't know if you have read it..but it's quite clear).

After reading quite a bit i would do it. If you are still doubting ask the organizers how they will publish the shots...iff they do it flagrantly as publicity, it may be considered as a comercial exploitation and the "exeption" or information situation vanishes. But if they do it subtily as an information of the event and how it develloped and took place i do not see any major risk or downside to doing it (beware of how you are paid, or hired...if you charge money for it you definitely have to declare it and your employers too since they have to pay social charges since it's illegal to do covered or dissimulated jobs...don't think anyone will come knoking to your door but i do not live there and do not know their tolerance...here it's pretty lose).
05-06-2011, 03:13 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Coeurdechene Quote
Well you shouldn't worry..
When a street scene is taken, in any kind of public event, provided that there isn't anybody individualized and that you respect the dignity of the human condition, it is legal to publish it.
when you individualize someone he might oppose the publication in court and ask for the correspondant indemnization and/or the measures necessary to stop the publication.
Even if you individualize the liability is a civil one. Just cover your back contractually with the organizers and get a signed and written document that states that they will face the costs of any legal action taken.
If you want to individualize someone you can always ask if you can take their picture, just to be on the safe side and get someone from the organization to make them sign a form if you need to be on the no-possible-surprises side (if the peace of mind is essential)..or just take group and ambient shots (or just give those to the organizers, and keep the rest for yourself).
In france you don't need a press card to be considered as press...the state does not control it through any administrative department, so when people may refer to the press exeption they are not meaning a credited, professional, hired by a newspaper photographer. If it's a formal event the right of information and expression may come in the scene and then the private life right is tempered.

French Legislation on Privacy - France in the United States/ Embassy of France in Washington
Great litle article of the french embassy in the U.S. that i stumbled upon while looking for jurisprudence and comentaries of the articles 9 and 1382 of the civil code (don't know if you have read it..but it's quite clear).

After reading quite a bit i would do it. If you are still doubting ask the organizers how they will publish the shots...iff they do it flagrantly as publicity, it may be considered as a comercial exploitation and the "exeption" or information situation vanishes. But if they do it subtily as an information of the event and how it develloped and took place i do not see any major risk or downside to doing it (beware of how you are paid, or hired...if you charge money for it you definitely have to declare it and your employers too since they have to pay social charges since it's illegal to do covered or dissimulated jobs...don't think anyone will come knoking to your door but i do not live there and do not know their tolerance...here it's pretty lose).
Thank you! What about the building? It seems the event will take place in a hotel...

05-06-2011, 03:56 AM   #9
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Well...that may change the things a bit but not much...
The private place definition is made for those places where people devellop their intimity and where the person who controls the space wants to keep it separate from public life.
In the hotel case the organizers explicitly want to make it a public affair (even if entrance is limited and not free-access for everyone). Maybe since the organizers have the effective control of the place they can informs the assistants that their foto will be taken as group or individual.
05-06-2011, 04:41 AM   #10
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A bit of pinch of salt to what was stated above.

French "droit l'image" (right of own image) is not restricted to degrading images or private places. Actually, people have a right on plublishing any image where they think they can be recognised. This is not a law, but more a consistent set of precedents.

The only exception to this is public figures in the exercice of their function. That means that it's ok to publish a picture of a politician at a public rally without his consent, but not when he is walking on the street with his young mistress.

This is the reason why on french press, you may see people with their figure blurred while they are participant of public demonstrations (yes it goes that that far)

It's even worse situation considering that any semi-public place can decide what they want to do. In places likes train stations, malls, museums, parcs, the people in charge can prevent you from taking pictures. One can theoricaly prevent you from taking picture of a privately owned building or make any commercial use of the picture.

The solution to go for Noob, is to let the organisers deal with it. If there is some sort of inscription to sign, they can request a full or partial release.

The whole situation is a shame for France, where street photography was invented. But at the end of the day, there's a big difference between the law and its application. I follow with some interest the protest in UK from photographer who get they rights abused by policemen or security forces in name of "anti-terrorist" laws. In France, it's kind of the contrary situation, photographers don't have much right to photograph anything but until somebody cares, they can do what they want (including taking picture with a tripod in Paris most crowed train station at rush hour like I did)
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