The law and photos of Children

Discussion in 'UK Photography' started by Steve Ray, Jun 20, 2008.

  1. Steve Ray

    Steve Ray Guest


    I'd appreciate a bit of help please specifically with photos that
    incidentally include photos of children. I run a website were people supply
    their favourite holiday snaps that they want to share with others across the

    It goes without saying that there is absolutely nothing untoward in these
    photos and I vet them before I upload them onto the site to also ensure this

    We have a discussion going on in a community where a child appears in a
    photo. The child is purely incidental to the photo and it is not possible
    to identify any features on the child unless you know the child

    I've been searching the web for a while now and can only find other people
    asking similar questions about this so I can guess that this is affecting a
    lot of other people.

    Can some one please point me to a UK reference so I can read this and
    understand the legislation details or if you are an expert in this field
    could you please help to explain the issues of people appearing in photos
    that maybe shouldn't be there and what the law says about this

    I'm not a professional photographer and neither are the people that supply
    their photos so I'm trying to learn very quickly about these issues

    As a parent I'm somewhat confused as we have to give consent for our Childs
    photo to be taken at school but they can also appear on Youtube et al
    without my consent if they happen to walk into shot on some one else's
    holiday snaps

    Thanks in advance for any help
    Steve Ray, Jun 20, 2008
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  2. Steve Ray

    Trev Guest

    Apart from the obvious child abuse. Most organisations are frightened that
    they my be duped and go over the top to avoid any such chance. From schools
    not allowing parents to Photo the Naivety play in case someone complains, to
    Photographing the kids on the beach. There is no rules so its just best to
    avoid confrontation. Dont photograph other folks kids unless asked to do so
    by there parents. You might get mistaken for a Terrorist
    Trev, Jun 20, 2008
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  3. Steve Ray

    Chris H Guest

    There are rules... (IANAL) It is the Protection of Children ACT 1978

    the laws specific to children are to do with indecency, gratuitous
    sexual implications , genitalia displayed etc.

    taking pictures of "people" is quite legal.

    Digital Camera Magazine (UK) Feb 208 (issue 69) did a feature on street
    photography there are few laws against photography those specifically
    about photography are the official secrets and Government Prohibited
    places (air based and army camps etc)

    Most that will concern the photographer are trespass and copyright (see
    model releases etc) and that much "public" space is in fact owned by
    some one who can say "no photography" eg the local playing field is
    council owned

    The crunch comes over usage. I can take pictures of anyone I choose in
    the street. I can use them for news reporting or personal use.

    If I pose a specific model then I need a model release to use the
    photos commercially. If I have a picture of a person and other people
    in the background I wont' AFAIK need a model release for them.

    If in doubt seek legal advice. There are paranoid nutters who sill try
    and sue at the drop of a hat.

    The best guide I have found is
    Chris H, Jun 20, 2008
  4. Fortunately out local schools have a sensible policy of allowing those
    parents who don't want their kids to appear on other
    parent's/grandparent's photos to opt out of the Nativity play etc.

    I was pressed to get this photo:

    The little girl in red & white was trying to fly a r&w kite in front of
    a r&w lighthouse. She never got the kite up, but I had to keep stalking
    her to get the shot, knowing that her parents were watching from the
    sand dunes!! It's a public place; so did I do wrong? [1]


    [1] Rhetorical Q.!
    [The reply-to address is valid for 30 days from this posting]
    Michael J Davis
    Some newsgroup contributors appear to have confused
    the meaning of "discussion" with "digression".
    Michael J Davis, Jun 21, 2008
  5. Steve Ray

    DB4 Guest

    Very helpful info that Chris - Thanks, cleared up some confusion for me

    DB4, Jun 21, 2008
  6. Steve Ray

    Chris H Guest

    Please NOTE:- IANAL

    That sounds sensible. I wish more schools would do that.

    Incidentally when at a local residents meeting recently the problem came
    up of high school kids 11-18 behaving badly near the school at lunch
    time. The representative of the school claimed it was illegal to
    photograph any child under 18 at any time without parents permission..
    This is why I looked into it. Local residents were going to photograph
    these reprobates and had the photos to the police and the school. The
    school then claimed as it was out of school it was nothing to do with
    them (but you could still not photograph them) It was more a case of
    we don't want photographs of people in our school uniform misbehaving.
    Politics more important than doing the right thing.

    Possibly but not because it is a child. It is a single identifiable
    person "posing" . You may need a model release if you are going to use
    it for commercial purposes or if you publish.. opps!

    AFAIK the parents can't object on obscenity or indecency and it is in a
    public place..... BTW beaches are funny places. The council may own
    from the concrete to the mean spring high/low water mark etc

    Also the Light house is crown property and,....... see the Feb 2008
    edition of Digital camera.....

    In short you have done nothing wrong taking the photo in my non-legal
    opinion if you start making a lot of money out of it the "model"'s
    parents may want a modelling fee :)
    Chris H, Jun 21, 2008
  7. Steve Ray

    Chris H Guest

    One thought..... PC gone mad etc. but I would change the word "stalking"
    has lots of connotations.

    No point in using that word unless you want to make a point. No point in
    looking for trouble unless you have the time and energy to argue with
    the nutters who do have, it seems, the time to call the police, social
    services, RSPCA, and the Moral Majority etc.

    Sad world we live in but it is only worth starting fights you can win.
    That said I have intentionally been non PC because I am so pissed off
    with it and said "challenge me if you dare..." Then the PC police tend
    to fade away. :)

    Like many I am thinking of emigrating but where to?
    Chris H, Jun 21, 2008
  8. Steve Ray

    Neil Barker Guest

    Complete rubbish.

    My newspaper had 'issues' with some schools a while back - wanting to
    either only give us first names of children we photographed or not at
    all. We had a very simple answer for them - no names, no photographs.

    We have about 70 schools in our circulation area and we only have a
    problem with 3 - one of which likened publishing names of their
    children to 'promoting paedophilia'. I corrected him on that,
    immediately and told him not to be so ridiculous. The result is simply
    that we don't go to those schools and nor do any other newspapers -
    it's their choice and hence they get no publicity at all.
    Neil Barker, Jun 21, 2008
  9. Steve Ray

    Chris H Guest

    Exactly. That is what I said.

    The PCSO present just kept quite. The following meeting I distributed
    the UK photographers rights leaflet,
    a letter from the home office which I cant now find the link to and
    mentioned bits from Feb2008 Digital Camera's great set of articles on
    street photography.

    It got put in the minutes of the meeting that I had distributed
    information on photographing children!!!! I shall have get that
    corrected before I end up on a list :-(
    Schools are different. They have a duty of care and a school is private
    property so they can give any rules they like. Much like rules when
    interviewing celebrities in a non public place. However they are prone
    to being VERY PC and paranoid.

    Short of shooting the idiot there is no real answer. They don't tend to
    listen and don't accept reasoned discussion.
    Did it do any good? I bet they regard you as suspect now......

    It is a pity though as it perpetuates the myth. The troulbe is the
    Police know no better.

    However we do have more police/council cameras per what ever than any
    other country in.... well, the world I think. And every week thousands
    try and fight their way on the Britain's got F All Factor Talent Brother

    So why are they afraid of still photography in a semi-public place?

    On the other hand I did have to talk to a shopping centre who had a
    display of art by local junior school children. Several dozen pictures.
    On the back of each picture was the child's name, age, school, home
    address, phone number etc... Not clever.
    Chris H, Jun 21, 2008
  10. Nor me!
    Yes, but it's not identifiable as an individual!
    Yes, I'm aware of that. It's the local conditions that may vary. If it
    is 'private property' (though I'm not clear that this applies to a
    normal external unbounded public access site), then it behoves the
    council to put up a clearly seen set of regulations. (Some do relating
    to use of 'Parks'). Those would (should?) include warnings about
    regulations affecting the 'normal' things people do in a public place -
    which, AIUI, includes the taking of photographs.
    Valid point. How close to a light house is crown property?

    I was amused in Peru recently, among the groups of people attending the
    tourists were locals dressed in National dress who would pose for photos
    for a fee, and photographers who would take shots of the tourists and
    catch up with them later trying to sell their photos. We soon learned to
    ask the photographers for money as soon as they pointed their camera in
    our direction!!


    [The reply-to address is valid for 30 days from this posting]
    Michael J Davis
    Some newsgroup contributors appear to have confused
    the meaning of "discussion" with "digression".
    Michael J Davis, Jun 21, 2008
  11. Indeed - used here to make the point certainly; but no different in
    practice than when taking shots of wildlife, birds etc. It's a common
    word, with no intrinsically sinister overtones.
    Absolutely. Where did I see recently the advice to make up a personal ID
    card stating "Artistic Licence"?
    In spite of everything, I think our society is still pretty balanced.
    Just wish the press wouldn't deliberately stir.


    [The reply-to address is valid for 30 days from this posting]
    Michael J Davis
    Some newsgroup contributors appear to have confused
    the meaning of "discussion" with "digression".
    Michael J Davis, Jun 21, 2008
  12. Steve Ray

    Chris H Guest

    It does when applied to people.
    I saw one of those mentioned here recently... We really must get some
    made up suitable for the UK. If we several of us have the same
    authoritative looking card it will eventually get accepted by the Police
    who know no better. :)
    You are probably right.
    Chris H, Jun 21, 2008
  13. Steve Ray

    Chris H Guest

    Found them

    both links posted by Alan Clifford in the thread "Interesting article on
    the amateur photographer hysteria" in this very NG a couple of months

    Also of interest on photographers rights....
    Chris H, Jun 21, 2008
  14. Steve Ray

    Neil Barker Guest

    Nope, not remotely. They carry on, in their blundering PC-way. No
    newspaper goes there - we've all arranged it like that to effectively
    'send them to Coventry'. Many of the parents I've met on other jobs
    have agreed with me entirely and they think it's ridiculous. Apparently
    it's a school governors decision - I suggested they think very
    carefully the next time they come up for election....
    Neil Barker, Jun 23, 2008
  15. Steve Ray

    Chris H Guest

    Not surprised in the slightest.
    Has the school not realised that all the other schools get coverage and
    it is not a problem?
    Not likely to happen in your lifetime :-( some Governors seem to be
    there for life even long after their children have left the school

    It might be interesting to find out who on the governors is the specific
    problem there is usually one person at the root.

    BTW which part of the country? (Off list if you prefer)
    Chris H, Jun 23, 2008
  16. Steve Ray

    AnthonyL Guest

    The Register also today has an article covering some of this:

    "The war on photographers - you're all al Qaeda suspects now"
    AnthonyL, Jun 23, 2008
  17. Steve Ray

    Chris H Guest

    I am not sure about all this.... I can see a conspiracy here to bring it
    asl to a head so the government *has* to bring in a law to "clarify2 the
    situation and give us less rights.....

    Still thinking of emigrating. :)
    Chris H, Jun 23, 2008
  18. Steve Ray

    Bruce Guest

    That might be the outcome, but it doesn't need a conspiracy to achieve
    that. All you need is enough people complaining about rights that
    they don't have.

    If Government notices, they will make sure that in future, we will
    have less rights than we do now.
    Bruce, Jun 23, 2008
  19. Steve Ray

    Trev Guest

    Trev, Jun 23, 2008
  20. Steve Ray

    MB Guest

    The paper is reporting today a man who has given up his lifelong hobby of
    photographing buses because of all the hassle he gets from the police.

    You used to laugh at one time at the trouble got into for photographing in
    Eastern Europe police states but Britain has become worse.

    I was watching a report on the news earlier about the call on councils not
    to use surveillance for trivial offences and as usual someone said that
    they were not concerned about being under CCTV surveillance everywhere they
    went "because they had nothing to hide". It reminded me of the reports
    that I had been reading earlier of people having problems after taking
    pictures of police officers and made me wonder what the police have to

    MB, Jun 23, 2008
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