use of pictures on my website

Discussion in 'Business of Photography' started by scott_doscher|2, Jun 4, 2009.

  1. I do home renovations and am building a website. Over the years I have taken pictures of the jobs that I have done (kitchens, bathrooms, decks, etc). No people are in any of the pictures. There is nothing in the pictures to identify where the house is or who owns it, etc. Do I have to get permission from the person who I did the work for to put the picture on my website as example of work that I have done?
     
  2. There's a whole series of questions to which all the answers have to "yes" before you will "get into trouble":
    Are the customers likely to find out about the pictures?
    Are they likely to object?
    Assuming they object are they likely to object strongly enough to make an issue of it?
    Assuming they make an issue of it, do they have recourse to some legal remedy?
    Only a lawyer can answer the fourth question (and the answer depends on the jurisdiction you're in) but most likely the answer to all three of the first three questions is no, so it doesn't really matter what the lawyer says.
     
  3. The short answer is yes. If you don't have a signed property release from the client and they find out about it, you can be sued and would not have a prayer in court.
     
  4. Sorry Alec, but questions such as "Are they likely" aren't important. That's like asking if it's OK to steel a loaf of bread if they "aren't likely" to catch you. That doesn't make it legal and that was the question.
    Scott, This is a great place to ask general business questions, but not the place to seek legal advice. A phone call to an attorney will get you the answers you need...-Aimee
     
  5. If you don't have a signed property release from the client and they find out about it, you can be sued and would not have a prayer in court.​
    From the ASMP website...

    The whole subject of property releases is filled with urban legend, assumption and myth, along with a bit of actual law. As you know, using a person’s likeness for trade or advertising purposes requires a model release. That is because a person has a reputation to protect, a right of privacy and (in some states) a right of publicity. Property has none of these rights... ...ASMP has never seen a statute or a legal case that requires a release for property.

    So what is the exact legal theory that supports the idea that Scott "would not have a prayer in court"?
     
  6. I'm with John above. And it is about Home Improvement.
     
  7. Sorry Alec, but questions such as "Are they likely" aren't important.​
    No Aimee - it's not like stealing a loaf of bread - that's a criminal matter - and nothing to do with using pictures of someone's house.
    Nobody is going to sue Scott for using a picture of their kitchen on his website - not when he built the kitchen. Sometimes it's time to step away from the barack-room lawyering, and get with real life.
     
  8. Alec:
    Using images without permission is also a criminal matter. Ever see the FBI warning at the beginning of a movie you've bought? That holds true for photos as well.
    In this particular case though I think the OP should simply call the home-owners in question, politely ask to come by when it it convenient for them and take some pictures of the work done. Again, it's amazing how many doors will open widely for you when you ask politely rather than demand or do without asking.
     
  9. Using images without permission is also a criminal matter. Ever see the FBI warning at the beginning of a movie you've bought? That holds true for photos as well.​
    Mikael - I'm sorry, but that's patent nonsense.
    The FBI stuff is about infringement of copyright by unauthorised duplication. If Scott uses pictures that he takes - regardless of the content - he owns the copyright.
    I'll say it again: matters of "property releases" (and Mr. Heneberger speaks much sense on the issue) are a million miles away from the domain of criminality.
     
  10. Alec is correct. Scott has taken photos of works that he has created. There's not a judge who would hear a case of any type of infringement.
     
  11. Using images without permission is also a criminal matter.

    Scott took the photos in question. How is he going to infringe on his own copyright? His question has nothing to do with copyright anyway.
    There sure are some interesting notions that come up around here.
     
  12. I want to sincerely thank everyone for the time they took to respond to my question. I believe I have the information I need. If anyone is interested, take a look at the short article that is referenced above on the ASMP website. Below is the link. It is quite informative and interesting. Thanks again all.
    http://www.asmp.org/commerce/legal_article_001.php
     
  13. Unless it's changed recently, the ASMP site is interesting on "property releases."
    "ASMP has never seen a statute or a legal case that requires a release for property."
    Yet they also say this:

    " A property release says that the owner of a certain property, such as a pet or a building, has given you consent to take and use images of the property. You don’t need one for public property, such as government buildings (although you may run into problems just from photographing them, for security reasons). But for images of private property — and particularly of objects that are closely identified with specific people — you are safer if you get a release."
    http://www.asmp.org/commerce/legal/releases/
    I'd suggest that if the property/work can't be connected to specific individuals/owners, that there is little to be concerned about. For example, if you "did" a bathroom, lots of nice fixtures, tilework, glassblocks, etc., that the only people who would be able to connect that work to an owner would be those who have used the bathroom. I suppose if you listed customers as references, etc., then there could be some link back but you wouldn't list "happy clients" without permission (would you?).
    Now, if you were to redo the Madonna Inn (San Luis Obispo, California) facilities, then you might want to get permission and use the images. (For those unfamiliar with the Madonna Inn, it's a rather eccentric and architecturally, uh, eclectic location, known for it's many and varied sorts of themed features.) But if the images aren't the sort that could bbe readily connected to specific individuals. it would seem unnecessary. Might be polite, even if not legally needed.
     

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