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  • Foto del escritorHerson Guerrero

Find the balance between photography and law.

Photography and law have more in common than people think, it is always changing in a fast-paced environment that makes people exposed to their rights being violated.


As some will know, I have been a photographer for more than 15 years and I have also had a passionate interest in law. As a lawyer and artist, I have discovered that as technology and social networks advance day by day, people are not oriented to know what or when to photograph, or what happens to their image once published on social networks.

"There is a big difference between taking photos in a public place or private property, and there is more uncertainty as laws and courts interpret case by case daily as social networks spread instantly and drones fly through the sky, there is a novelty to some extent."

Much comes into play when it comes to photography and law. Privacy rights, intellectual property, commercial use and each one has legal consequences, but in the latter it grants rights to the person who takes the photo, as well as to the person to whom a photo is taken.


Interesting facts There has been a wide range of laws as legislators debate the different counting methods faced by certain types of photographers when it comes to certain aspects of the law. For example, street photographers do not necessarily ask permission when taking a photo, because they mostly take photos on "streets", that is, public places. It all comes down to what happens with the image after its takeover, what purpose is it committed, is used to make financial profits, portfolios, social networks? Even buildings have rights; the Eiffel Tower, for example, has rights and it would be illegal to take photos of it under a certain period of time, however, each jurisdiction has its set of rules, and things become difficult along the way. There is a big difference between taking photos in a public place or private property, and there is more uncertainty as laws and courts interpret on a case-by-case basis daily basis as social networks spread instantly and drones fly through the sky: there is a novelty to some extent. There are different scenarios and different circumstances that give the latter to one part over the other. Crazy as it may seem, there is a case about a photographer who interacted with monkeys, a monkey took his camera and took a selfie. The photographer went viral due to the perfectly synchronized image and perched of the monkey, and it was not long before animal rights activists and other organizations made legal lawsuits against the photographer. On the one hand, they argued that the photo was not his, since he did not take the photograph, and on the other hand, the photographer argued that the photograph belonged to him because it was his camera and if he were not there, the photo would not have been taken in the first place. This case had a rigid litigation and set a very important legal precedent between photography and the law. Guess who won.

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