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  1. #1

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    Trademark Defamation and Street/Urban photography

    I haven't dug into this further, but it's worth reading

    http://www.stockphotographer.info/content/view/94/99/

  2. #2
    SchwinnParamount's Avatar
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    I would say that if a business is located in area where such 'ugliness' exist and is that concerned about it, then the course of action would be to move away or stay and be part of a solution to the percieved ugliness problem.

    If a photograph depicts a business staying and doing nothing then who is really to blame?

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by SchwinnParamount
    I would say that if a business is located in area where such 'ugliness' exist and is that concerned about it, then the course of action would be to move away or stay and be part of a solution to the percieved ugliness problem.
    That covers some types of "bad press," but consider this scenario: A diaper company pays for a set of billboard advertisements along a highway that has no history of negative events (low accident rate, etc.). Somebody driving along that highway goes on a road rage rampage, shooting other drivers, killing several and wounding more. A photographer captures this in a way that makes it impossible to crop out the diaper billboard and retain proper framing, and publishes the photo, which gets picked up and is published in all the major newspapers, appears on TV, etc. The diaper company then objects, since their brand is now affiliated with this mass murder. It really isn't their fault that somebody went on a killing spree in front of their billboard, and of course the lack of history of accidents and killing sprees in this area means that they had no reason to avoid putting their ad up in that space. Their product has nothing to do with guns, violence, or cars. In some sense, the diaper company is another victim of this event.

    Note that I'm not saying the diaper company should have a legal basis for suing the photographer or anybody who publishes the photo; IMHO, the possibility of such "collateral damage" does not warrant muzzling freedom of expression. What I am saying is that unintentional damage to uninvolved third parties is possible whenever photos (or video footage or audio recordings) of newsworthy events are distributed. The possibility of such damage is real and should be acknowledged -- it's just not justification for censorship, IMHO. Perhaps a reasonable middle ground would be to blur out the details on the billboard, but I'd be reluctant to require such actions. Consider if, instead of a diaper ad, the billboard had an ad for the NRA. Publishing such a photo then becomes, at least potentially, political speech. Whether or not you agree with the statement in this hypothetical photo, it'd be a powerful image and very important, from a freedom of speech perspective.

  4. #4

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    i worked for a newspaper for a number of years, one assignment, i was told to photograph people and goings-on in a large shopping mall. i was greeted by mall security almost as soon as i pulled my camera out of my bag and immediately told " you can't photograph in here .." when i asked why, they said that the business wanted complete control of how their stores logos, et C. were being portrayed in the published media. i have a feeling what happened to me, was exactly what you are talking about. right or wrong, in this day and age, corporations and businesses want full control of what and how they are being seen.

  5. #5
    SchwinnParamount's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by srs5694
    That covers some types of "bad press," but consider this scenario: A diaper company ... from a freedom of speech perspective.
    Good point.

    Maybe this angle then. If a company chooses to have a pubic presence anywhere then they also choose to accept the risk that bad things may happen near their trademark... because they have no control over life and bad things DO happen.

    If I drive by that road rage shooting and see the aftermath laying on the ground under that billboard, I would make the same association as I would have after seeing a photograph of the scene. Both the live vew of the accident and the photograph of the accident represent the same slice of life in public.

    If the diaper company objects to a photograph then they must also object to the retention of that memory in the minds of innocent passers by. If only a single person sees the live tragedy and 1000 people see the photograph, is that really different than 1000 people driving by the scene and one person seeing the photograph?

    Life happens and the photographer is just recording it. Is it live, or is it Memorex?

    My argument may be completely wrong. What do you think?

  6. #6
    Dave Parker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jnanian
    i worked for a newspaper for a number of years, one assignment, i was told to photograph people and goings-on in a large shopping mall. i was greeted by mall security almost as soon as i pulled my camera out of my bag and immediately told " you can't photograph in here .." when i asked why, they said that the business wanted complete control of how their stores logos, et C. were being portrayed in the published media. i have a feeling what happened to me, was exactly what you are talking about. right or wrong, in this day and age, corporations and businesses want full control of what and how they are being seen.
    Actually I understand this fully, a Mall is not public property, it is private property and hence they have the right to regulate the activities conducted on their property...

    Dave

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    Quote Originally Posted by Satinsnow
    Actually I understand this fully, a Mall is not public property, it is private property and hence they have the right to regulate the activities conducted on their property...

    Dave
    thanks dave

    strangely enough the mall was the one that called the paper to have me photograph there for the assignment ... very strange ...

  8. #8
    Dave Parker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jnanian
    thanks dave

    strangely enough the mall was the one that called the paper to have me photograph there for the assignment ... very strange ...
    I find that strange, apparently the word did not get passed down from management to the guards that it was at there request that you were there...just goes to show, most of the time when we are told we CAN'T photograph, means somewhere somehow, communications have broke down, just like the controversay that continues to go on over photographing public buildings, it will be interesting to see if that ever gets solved..

    This very proposed law is the reason I ALWAY advocate getting a release when your photographing recognizable things or people, saves a heck of alot of heart ache, logo's are property and hence the people owning the property do have say over how that property is used and photographers and movie makers can be held liable, unless no malicious or damaging intent can be shown.

    Dave

  9. #9
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    By extension one must wonder about reporting the news at all. When a postal worker "goes postal" everyone doubtless associates that kind of madness with the postal service (sorry Murray, not you of course!). Would it become actionable for a story that includes a line like: "Today, Widget Corporation Vice President, Stanley Buttstinky was discovered commiting a lewd act in public for which he has been arrested."? Part of the impact of the story is the fact that poor Stanley wasn't some marginal hourly worker at a fast food place (although that would also be reported), but a person with a job that suggests he was a 'solid citizen' and not as likely to be doing what he was doing....or at least that's the conceit that the notion of being a solid citizen implys. I can see both sides of this arguement, but it certainly leaves one "chilled" about factual reportage that might include any facts not immediately pertinent to the story....which would parobably make Joe Friday (the facts...just the facts) the ultimate journalist.
    John Voss

    My Blog

  10. #10
    SchwinnParamount's Avatar
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    Another good point John. If this law passes, can you imagine watching your local TV news? You know how they sometimes blur the face of an accused but not convicted person? Imagine the billboard or store facade being blurred in all 'on the scene' footage shot with the news camera.

    Maybe they should blur the actual street signs or city limit signs too. As a citizen of my fair city, I feel outraged every time a bad newsworthy item appears in print or broadcast media with the seemingly innocent mention of my city. If a corporation can legitimately argue that their reputation is hurt, why not a municipality or a school?

    In effect, this proposed law gives any person or organization the right of censorship over the media.

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