Photographer Who Photographed Neighbors Through Windows Sees Invasion of Privacy Lawsuit Dismissed

Arne Svenson - The Neighbors

Photograph from Arne Svenson’s “The Neighbors”

Photographer Arne Svenson photographed people in a residential building across from his second-floor apartment in New York City. The images ended up in the Julie Saul Gallery in a show, “The Neighbors,” with prints for sale at up to $7500.

The images in the show drew a huge response by the residents appearing the in photos and, ultimately, led to a lawsuit against Svenson for invasion of privacy.

Last week, that case was dismissed in New York State court by Judge Eileen A. Rakower, who ruled that the images were protected by the First Amendment and that they did not violate New York State civil rights laws barring the use of photos for commercial purposes without a person’s consent. The court order specifically noted that “[a]n artist may create and sell a work of art that resembles an individual without his or her written consent.” [Read more...]

Government Targets “People Taking Photos of Public Spaces” in Awareness Video

Not only does this video win the cheesy award, but the advice it gives to the target audience (apparently those with drastically reduced IQs) flags warning signs for things both pro and amateur photographers do on a daily basis.

Not really what we need the government telling us right now given the current attitude of law enforcement to photographers in public spaces.

[via Chase Jarvis]

Alaska Photography Laws

This post attempts to highlight Alaska laws that may be relevant to photographers (please read disclaimer below).  It is part of my ongoing effort to catalog the various state laws relating to photography.  You can see more on the main photography laws page.  If you are aware of other significant Alaska statutes or cases that relate to photographers’ rights or duties, please use the contact form to pass them along. [Read more...]

Atlanta Police Delete Photos from Camera, City Settles $40K

As seen in the above video, Marlon Kautz, an Atlanta man attempting to document police activity, had his cameraphone seized after he refused to stop filming them in a public place. Those police officers then deleted the photos/video of the police activity.

In addition to the $40,000 in damages the City is paying to Kautz to avoid a civil rights lawsuit, the Atlanta Police Department is adopting new operating procedures that prohibit police from interfering with citizens who are recording police activity.

It’s nice to see official police procedures catching up with the First Amendment, eh?

[via PetaPixel and AJC]

Homeland Security Bulletin on Photographers and Federal Buildings

The US Department of Homeland Security issued an “Information Bulletin” concerning “Photographing the Exterior of Federal Facilities” last year.  The New York Times passed along the bulletin last week when it obtained a redacted version. [Read more...]

New UK Limits on Photography

Jacqui Smith, the British Home Secretary, has sent a letter to the British Journal of Photography. It’s a very worrying letter, affirming that while there are no legal restrictions on photography in public places, local chief constables are allowed to restrict photography in their jurisdictions.

The letter is a response to earlier correspondence from the BJP expressing concern about ongoing police surveillance of journalists, specifically photographers.

If the British government cares so little for the rights of photojournalists, it’s scary to even think about their views of photographers with less clear credentials. What are artists, hobbyists and grandparents wanting to record memories supposed to do in such situations?

Pregnancy Photos Contest has announced a new photo contest relating to pregnant belly photos.  Before posting contest news releases, I always try to take a look at the terms and conditions of the contest to see what rights, if any, photographers give up in their copyright when submitting photos.  This one deserves some special attention.

Self-Portrait Required

According to the Official Rules to the contest, the “entrant” must be the one with the pregnant belly.  Additionally, it appears that the photos must be “self-portraits” based on the representations the entrant must make:

By submitting entry materials, entrants certify that such materials are original and created by entrant, that entrants have the necessary rights, permission and authority to submit such materials, and, if applicable, that entrants maintain a valid copyright in the materials.

I think its pretty clear that is not expecting expecting moms to set up a tripod and get their remote or timer ready to snap the pic.  No, it’s clear by looking through the entries that dad’s are the most likely photographers.  This provision is most certainly geared toward entrants sending in photos taken by pro photographers.  This is important because the rules also put liability on the moms if they send in a photo that someone else took and that photographer sues or the contest sponsor.  Not a huge deal but, technically, mom’s gotta be photographer and model.

Rights Grab to Your Photo and Personal Info

You get the typical rights grab in the rules:

Entrants authorize the Sponsor to use their name, voice, likeness, biographical data, city and state of residence and entry materials in programming or promotional material and for advertising, public relations and editorial purposes worldwide, in perpetuity, or on a winner’s list, if applicable, without further compensation unless prohibited by law.

I’ve highlighted the key words here: entry materials, promotional material, advertising and perpetuity.

This provisions means Meredith Corporation, the contest sponsor, gets to use the photos you submit (along with the other info about you) in any ads or other marketing material forever – with no additional compensation to you . . . ever.

Enter Spam Man

So, how could Meredith Corporation use your photos or personal info?  Well, you may want to consider who Meredith Corporation is.  Take a quick gander at the info on their “About” page:

Meredith ( ) is one of the nation’s leading media and marketing companies with businesses centering on magazine and book publishing, television broadcasting, integrated marketing and interactive media.

The Meredith Publishing Group features 26 subscription magazines – including Better Homes and Gardens, Family Circle, Ladies’ Home Journal, MORE, Parents, Fitness, and American Baby – and approximately 200 special interest publications.

Meredith owns 12 television stations, including properties in top-25 markets such as Atlanta, Phoenix and Portland.

Meredith has approximately 400 books in print and has established marketing relationships with some of America’s leading companies including The Home Depot, DIRECTV, DaimlerChrysler, Wal-Mart and Carnival Cruise Lines.

Meredith’s consumer database, which contains more than 85 million names, is one of the largest domestic databases among media companies and enables magazine and television advertisers to target marketing campaigns precisely.

Additionally, Meredith has an extensive Internet presence that includes 32 Web sites and strategic alliances with leading Internet destinations.

Meredith Hispanic Ventures publishes five Spanish-language titles, making Meredith the largest Hispanic publisher in the United States reaching women at every life stage.

I wonder where all those photos could end up?

Also, I hope you like getting requests for magazine subscriptions and direct mail crap from the likes of DIRECTV and Carnival Cruise Lines.

Fight in New York

Want to fight with the Meredith Corp. about some use that you don’t like based on your entry?  Go to New York.  That’s right, entrants agree to bring any dispute about the contest or their use of your materials in New York courts and New York courts only.

Cheap Stock Photo Library

Now to the prize.  One person wins $2500.  One person.  How many photos is Meredith Corp. going to have in their new “stock” library and email marketing (*cough* spam *cough*) list for a price of $2500?

Well, the contest was announced on June 27, two days ago, and there are already 29 pages of images (about 464 total entries thus far).  The contest ends on September 30, 2008.  If this pace continues, that’s well over 20,000 images and email addresses.  That’s a pretty cheap stock photo library and marketing list (about $0.12 per image).  Forget iStock, just run a contest and build your own library.

If you’re ready to give your photos away, sign up for spam and direct mail crap, check out the press release from below.

Press Release

Enter Your Pregnant Belly Photos and Pictures of Pregnant Bellies into the Best Baby Bump Contest

Take Your Best Pregnant Belly Shots – from Little Baby Bumps to Big Pregnant Bellies – and Upload Those Pregnant Belly Pictures to the Parents.Com Photo Contest

NEW YORK – June 27, 2008 – today invited readers to enter their pregnant belly photos and pictures of pregnant bellies into its Best Baby Bump Contest. It’s easy to enter: Just sign in at and upload your pregnant belly pictures.

Liz Zack, Executive Editor of, says, “We want you to take your best pregnant belly shots – from little baby bumps to big pregnant bellies – and enter them into our Baby Bump Contest. While you’re there, rate and comment on other people’s pregnant belly images, too.”

The Best Baby Bump Contest starts today and ends September 30, 2008. Vote for your favorite bump photo from October 6 to 21. The winner will be announced on Thursday, October 23. The prize is $2,500 cash.

Photos must be .jpeg or .bmp image formats and cannot exceed 3 MB. Photos must be original, unpublished and may not have won any prize or award. Entries must be received by 11:59 p.m., E.T., on September 30, 2008.

Zack adds, “Show us your gorgeous belly! Enter your best big, beautiful belly pics in our Belly Photo Contest now for the chance to win $2,500.”

About ( is the premier parenthood site on the Web, and the interactive companion to Parents, American Baby, and Family Circle magazines. With its stable of easy-to-use, helpful tools like the baby name finder, the growing belly tool, the activity finder, and the Birthday party planning tool, serves moms and dads, providing everything every parent needs to raise happy, healthy families from crib to college – how, when and where they need it.