The French Privacy Law | Photo This & That

Some background on French privacy laws, via The French Privacy Law | Photo This & That.

Laws about shooting and publishing photos and videoBefore taking a photo of someone you are required by law to ask the individual’s permission. If you want to publish it in anyway you have to ask their permission for each specific usage. Any object that is created by or is the copyright of an artist, or designer must have permissions to be published in specific contexts. Any owner of property can assert rights of ownership of property, again the photographer needs permissions to publish, regardless of whether the image was shot from a public or private space.


This could be a beautiful shot of the Eiffel Tower at night, with it’s beautiful lighting. However, without consent from the lighting designer, we could not publish the picture.


It is advisable in France to always get a signed written permission by individuals, owners of property and creators of original works, whatever the situation whether in a public or private space.


Individuals can use two different French laws to defend their rights against publication of their image:


The right of your own image (Droit d’image)


In France each individual has the exclusive right to their image and of who uses their image. Not only publishing the image but even taking the photo of someone, the photographer has to have the individuals permission under French Law. The fact that the person accepts to be photographed doesn’t mean that they accept to have their image published. A minor aged between 12 to 14 years old can be considered responsible enough to decide whether he/she gives the right to use his image.


Circumstances where the public right of information might be stronger than the individual’s right of one’s image


When someone places himself or herself is in a public place then there is already a measure of tacit consent already presumed but this is reflected in each individual case. Normally the person only has a right of complaint if he/she is a principal subject in the photo.


If someone is in a photo but not an essential element – or when the person is not recognizable – or is an accessory by chance – say in an image of a public monument, or statue, then it is generally considered that consent is not necessary, even though people have taken photographers or publishers to court over this. The same goes when the person is part of a crowd. But again each case is taken on its own merits, as to what is considered a crowd or an accessory or not.


But in all circumstances the persons dignity must be respected.

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