RE: The approximate image of...

Subject: RE: The approximate image of...
From: "Al Geist" <al -dot- geist -at- geistassociates -dot- com>
To: "Downing, David" <DavidDowning -at- users -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 8 Dec 2008 07:15:23 -0800 (PST)

Hi David,

You were a "public" figure when you were a street musician from a
reporters point of view. If you have a photo taken of you, or your group,
while you were playing in a public venue, the reporter should have
approached the group to ask you names. At that time, if you said "I would
rather not be in your paper," the reporter/photographer, should go on to
the next group and not use your image. If the photographer was shooting
your image in a public venue for potential resale, then he/she is required
by law to get a release (in writing) from you to use your image. If you
are participating in a public event, for example: a long distance sled dog
race or a marathon, then the photographer can take a picture of you for
future resale by virtue of the event. (Playing music on the streets,
unless it was an organized public function, does not constitute a public

If you were a politician, CEO of a major public owned corporation,
professional entertainer, etc., then you are fair game when you are i the
public area. If you are a home, your privacy is protected. If you are in
an airport, walking on the sidewalk, at a state park beach, you are in
public. You mentioned that you were a street musician. A photographer
could probably have taken a picture of you and sold it, but someone has to
buy it. The entertainment/gossip rags will buy tons of Brittany Spears, or
Madonna images, but probably very few David Downing photographs. Most
street musicians would love the free advertising, some don't.

You are probably not considered a public figure anymore, unless you start
playing in the Museum of Fine Art, or sing the Honda/Toyota company song
in front of GM's headquarters.

If in doubt, check out books on Copyright Law, the First Amendment,
Freedom of the Press, and How to be a Paparazzi.

I'm not sure how the Internet has changed things. For example, can a
person take a picture of you using the camera on there cell phone and sell
it to AP because they recognize you from your street musician days? Is
that an invasion of your privacy, since you no longer play music on the
streets? It's a good questions. I no longer work as a reporter, and most
of my images are of landscapes, flowers, waterfalls, architecture, etc., I
don't get involved with changes in privacy laws.



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RE: The approximate image of...: From: Downing, David

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