Brett Trout has put together a pretty good list of links to help explain all the various legal rights and responsibilities you have when taking photos. It’s definitely worth keeping handy, if not reading through some of it to keep yourself out of harm’s way.
This is especially interesting to me lately, not because I ran into a problem, but because I had some interesting discussions about this with a coworker. A couple of weeks ago, I worked tech support at an all-day seminar that we put on. I was assigned to get out there and setup projectors, laptops, and help with PowerPoint. It was requested that I stay out there to troubleshoot anything that came up. Since I assumed that would mean a lot of time sitting around, I volunteered to take some photos of the event.
When our marketing folks decided they wanted to use one or two of those photos in a brochure for next year’s seminar, they approached me about getting permission, and how they needed to credit it.
My response was that, since I was “working” at the event, and being paid to be there, you could certainly argue that the photos were work product, and that the firm actually owned them, not me. I’m not exactly sure if that’s accurate, but that’s pretty much how I felt about them anyway. It’s not like I had big plans to use them anywhere else. But it does illustrate how even amateurs can run into legal questions about their photos.
For the record, if they use one, they are going to credit me, not because they have to, but because it’s the nice thing to do. I can’t really complain about that.