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Thread: Canada laws

  1. #11
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
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    Matt, thanks for your careful reading. The story of the photo goes more or less as such: girl sits in a doorframe during the day on a busy street; photographer walks by and snaps a quick grab shot, of which the girl is unaware. If you can find the photo online, you'll see that it is actually pretty ordinary, and I would say boringly banal. But to each his own taste.

    Later on, the photo is published in a small-volume art publication with a fittingly tepid poem beside it. I think it was about "fugitive beauty" or some similar cliché.

    And now, here is the crux upon which this case rest: eventually, some of the girl's friends see the picture in the aforementioned magazine, and being teenagers like her, they make fun of her.

    This is the cornerstone of this judgement. The lower court admitted the teenagers' mockery as element of proof. It is what the dissenting SC judges challenged, because it is the element of proof upon which one can mount a case to the effect that the girl's right to her image has been violated, and that she suffered thereof. If you drop this element of proof, most of the case goes away. If you keep it, then the legal interpretation is pretty much straightforward.

    Needless to say, this was a tremendous event at the time it happened, and every photographer was paranoid about what would happen to their favorite job. Even news photographers were getting worried.

    So in the end, as Matt and Art have been saying, this says nothing in an explicit manner about similar situations in other Canadian areas, but eventually something might happen that could trigger a similar decision, who knows.
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  2. #12
    Sirius Glass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mhv View Post
    Matt, thanks for your careful reading. The story of the photo goes more or less as such: girl sits in a doorframe during the day on a busy street; photographer walks by and snaps a quick grab shot, of which the girl is unaware. If you can find the photo online, you'll see that it is actually pretty ordinary, and I would say boringly banal. But to each his own taste.

    ....

    Needless to say, this was a tremendous event at the time it happened, and every photographer was paranoid about what would happen to their favorite job. Even news photographers were getting worried.

    So in the end, as Matt and Art have been saying, this says nothing in an explicit manner about similar situations in other Canadian areas, but eventually something might happen that could trigger a similar decision, who knows.
    Ok, I think I know how to handle this. If I, a Yank, cross the border and photograph this girl as stated in the post above, and the rest of the scenario plays out, then I am Scott free [reference to the Dred Scott case, US law, not a comment or slight to people north of Hadrian's wall in the British Isles] .

    Now if a Canadian were to travel to the US, the same scenario works because the cross border situation makes it hard to persue.

    hmmm ... therefore I conclude that we should take such photos only in other countries.

    Am I on to something here???

    Interested Readers Want To Know!!!

    Steve

  3. #13
    copake_ham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattKing View Post
    This case was a case originating in Quebec, decided under Quebec law. The Quebec statute cited appears to be a codification of certain provisions of Quebec civil law, which is distinctly different from the common law provisions in the other provinces, and territories.

    My quick reading of the decision, (both the majority reasons, and the dissents), indicates to me that there is essentially no guidance on the question in respect to any place other than Quebec.

    In essence, the compensatable right on which the claim is founded appears to arise from Quebec civil law, as codified in a Quebec statute.

    The only general guide I might take from this is the impression that the court is sympathetic to the interests of the person whose photograph was published, without their permission being sought.

    My sense is that the photograph in question essentially featured the claimant, and might on its face imply that it was published with the claimant's consent.

    For a more informed opinion, you will need to hear from a Quebec lawyer.

    Matt

    Matt,

    I'm curious if, given the quite broad scope of the Quebec statute, whether it acts as a means of prior restraint against "the paparrazzi"?

    Down here, as I understand it,the "newsworthiness" of a candid celebrity shot overrides both the privacy and model release counter-arguments.

    How do you think the situation would play out in the common law provices?

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by dxphoto View Post
    Is there any restrict on taking pictures in public in Canada??? Such as, it is ok to take street pictures in Canada cities.
    http://www.photopermit.org/?page_id=67

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  5. #15

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    Thanks for all the replies.

    Now after reading that girl's story, I am wondering, in either countries, US or Canada, if you take a picture of some stranger, the you put the pic online, then some one used the picture for commercial use or abused the picture and somehow offend the subject in the photo. And the photographer doesn't know all these, will he still be responsible for that abuse?

  6. #16
    Craig's Avatar
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    I fired the original question off to a lawer friend of mine who is a Crown Proscutor (and also a photographer), and has spent a bunch of time working at the Supreme Court, and this was his off the cuff comment:

    "If I recall correctly, the case turned on specific
    provisions of the Quebec civil code which have no
    analogue in the common law. The general law about
    using someone's photo for a commercial purpose is the
    same -- you can't appropriate their image to something
    like advertising without permission or compensation. "

  7. #17
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by copake_ham View Post
    Matt,

    I'm curious if, given the quite broad scope of the Quebec statute, whether it acts as a means of prior restraint against "the paparrazzi"?

    Down here, as I understand it,the "newsworthiness" of a candid celebrity shot overrides both the privacy and model release counter-arguments.

    How do you think the situation would play out in the common law provices?
    George:

    I am reluctant to express an opinion on the effect in Quebec, of the Quebec statute. My knowledge of Quebec law, and Quebec realities in respect of that law, is just too limited.

    With respect to the common law provinces, I think it is just too hard to say. I expect that the Courts would not be particularly sympathetic to a photographer who sought to commercially exploit a found shot.

    On the other hand, if the photograph is simply an interesting image which includes a person in a public place, then if that person sought to make an enforceable claim, then they would most likely have to show some real (and foreseeable) hardship or loss - teenage self consciousness probably wouldn't cut it.

    I think it would take a very obvious egregious example before a Court would be willing to extend the boundaries of the intentional torts (assuming no legislation to that effect).

    It has always seemed to me that much of the behavior of the paparrazi should be actionable (as assault, if nothing else), whether or not they actually take pictures.

    Matt
    Last edited by MattKing; 03-23-2007 at 08:06 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  8. #18
    copake_ham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattKing View Post
    ...

    It has always seemed to me that much of the behavior of the paparrazi should be actionable (as assault, if nothing else), whether or not they actually take pictures.

    Matt
    Matt,

    I would not be surprised to learn of a State or lower Federal court down here ruling in this way - particularly in California where there is a lot of pressure (suprise) to limit the papparazzi. Generally assault torts carry low damage awards - and are notoriously difficult to win because of the "reasonable fear of harm" threshhold.

    What many folks do not realize is that with the modern tools such as cell phones, GPS units etc., these photogs have increasingly engaged in extremely aggressive behavior. Such that, in addition the assault argument on the tort side, I think that reckless endangerment, as a criminal activity, may become a public policy tool used to control them.

  9. #19
    Daniel_OB's Avatar
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    I never had any problem even photographing police on Toronto streets.
    That law about photographing is so long to read and tricky that I do not see any sense to know it or even to read it. The same think can be interpreted on so many ways, and end case is depend mastly judge woke up on left or right leg. The best is always try NOT to get involved with security or police around any problem. Smile and do just anything possibele to get out of their circle.
    And to finish: how about all that cameras in stores that tell me "you are potential thief, and my camera follows you"? Or what else can be reason to take my pictures. That is something to accuse, not honest artist.
    Well .... reality reality ...
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  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by jd callow View Post
    how does that apply to music, books, etc...?
    John,

    It only applies to photography. Photography in Canada is not classified as art but as photography - separate entity all in itself like music and books are separate entities.

    Regards, Art.
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