Embarrassing Photos and US Law

Understandably, some folks hate photographers.  These low-lifers photograph unflattering images and post them on the Internet.

Recently on Facebook, a friend posted an unflattering pic of me.

Photo by Chris Mendez

The painted ladies wasn’t the problem.  The problem was my underwear sticking out of my pants and my belly showing.  Yet, because the photo became a Facebook hit anyway, I left it alone.

After name-tagging one of the young ladies, Facebook removed the photo and sent my friend a message about violations.  I couldn’t comprehend the tagged person complaining, especially if she’s on Facebook advertising herself as a burlesque dancer.  For all I know,  it could have been one of her Facebook friends or one of my Facebook friends who reported the photo.

Usually, when someone hates a Facebook photo I posted of them, they either untag themselves or they ask me to remove it.  Understand, people’s employers, clients and family members look at their Facebook page.  One time, a teacher asked me to remove a photo because of the way she dressed in it.  A risque photo may have cost her to lose her job.

Yet, let me explain something about photography and US law.  Anybody out in public is fair game to photograph, no matter how embarrassing.

Even booty pics won’t get you in trouble.

Now, let me explain what will.  After taking photos of a burlesque show, some idiot photographer decided he wanted to sell the pics.  Without permission from the performers, his ass qualified for a court appearance.  In other words, the dancers could have sued him.

Also, what if he took the same photos and used them for an online article titled City Sluts?  Yep, another qualification for a court appearance.

Now, if you posses photos of an anti-gay politician, post it online and name the article Hypocrite Cocksucker, I can’t see you getting in trouble.  Why?   Because there’s truth the anti-gay  politician is both a hypocrite and a cocksucker.

If  someone posts an infamous pic of politician Michele Bachmann and label the article Deep Throat,  I can’t see them getting in trouble for that either.

So, when you photograph your event and others, keep my article in mind.

Before I end, let me stress that I am not a lawyer. There are websites that can explain this better than me. 

Also, anyone who wants to contribute about the law on this blog, they are free to do so.

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