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September 2018
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Having your photo taken – is it right up your street?

You’re out in the street and someone takes your photo without asking. What can you do? And do you have any control over what they do with that image?

The broad guidelines that apply to the media are:

1. SAFE: Politely taking photos of adults in the street (or any PUBLIC place) without their consent.
2. SAFE: Politely taking photos of under-16s involved in activities like sports day at school (see note below).
3. SAFE: Publishing politely-taken photos of adults in the street (or any PUBLIC place) without their consent.
4. UNSAFE: Politely taking photos of under-16s in the street (or any PUBLIC place) without the consent of parents / guardians. There should be overriding public interest.
5. UNSAFE: Publishing politely-taken photos of under-16s in the street (or any PUBLIC place) without the consent of parents / guardians. There should be overriding public interest.
6. UNSAFE: Taking, or publishing, photos of adults in the street without consent, when harassment, pushing, shoving etc are involved. Publication should be in the public interest, as defined by the PCC Code.
7. UNSAFE: Taking, or publishing, photos of under-16s in the street (or any PUBLIC place) without the consent of parents / guardians, when harassment, pushing, shoving etc are involved. There should be overriding public interest as defined by the PCC Code.

Setting the rules

1. Check photographers’ ID. They should carry a press card showing who they work for. If they are freelances, establish who has commissioned them.

2. Make sure your employees know that reporters and photographers cannot:

Take photographs on your property without consent.
Approach under-16s for interviews or photos without consent of their guardian (this could be a teacher if they are at school).
Take photos of people in their homes, gardens etc from the street – unless there is a ‘public interest’ issue.
Cannot take ‘clandestine’ photos – unless there is a ‘public interest’ issue.
Conceal that they are a press photographer or reporter – unless there is a ‘public interest’ issue.

3. There are laws to prevent:

Camping outside people’s homes.
Door-stepping.
Harassing / pursuing people.
Entering private property without consent.
Taking shots on your property without consent.
Copying a photo while you’re out of the room.

You should take legal advice before using legal redress. It is quicker and cheaper to use the Codes of Practice if there is a problem.

Cleland Thom
Director
CTJT

This extract is taken from the PR Media Law Guide, price £19.95. To order a copy, contact contact: cleland@ctjt.biz

Cleland Thom does media law training and consultancy to a number of corporation and public authorities, including GPSJ, United Utilities, World Trade Group, Herts County Council, London Borough of Brent and Three Rivers District Council.

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