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Thread: Photographers' rights in Singapore

  1. #41

    Default Re: Photographers' rights in Singapore

    there was a landmark case in 2004 when naomi campbell was photographed in public, walking out of narcotics anonymous (contrary to her previously denying that she did drugs hah) and she won the case in the house of lords in the uk. the case caused quite a stir among media/press about privacy and photography.

    anyway, yea, like a few others have mentioned in this thread, a significant difference between usa and singapore/uk is that in usa, you can sue for breach of privacy but in uk/singapore, you can't. (naomi campbell sued for breach of confidentiality instead.)
    Last edited by noelle; 14th November 2007 at 07:16 PM.

  2. #42
    Senior Member zoossh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Photographers' rights in Singapore

    Quote Originally Posted by noelle View Post
    there was a landmark case in 2004 when naomi campbell was photographed in public, walking out of narcotics anonymous (contrary to her previously denying that she did drugs hah) and she won the case in the house of lords in the uk. the case caused quite a stir among media/press about privacy and photography.

    anyway, yea, like a few others have mentioned in this thread, a significant difference between usa and singapore/uk is that in usa, you can sue for breach of privacy but in uk/singapore, you can't. (naomi campbell sued for breach of confidentiality instead.)
    but there seems no conflict with photography. it seems to be a conflict instead, between privacy and publishing it out.

    the difference between photographing it and publishing it, is like between seeing something versus telling the whole world about it.

  3. #43
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    Default Re: Photographers' rights in Singapore

    Quote Originally Posted by zoossh View Post
    but there seems no conflict with photography. it seems to be a conflict instead, between privacy and publishing it out.

    the difference between photographing it and publishing it, is like between seeing something versus telling the whole world about it.
    If you don't show your photos to anyone, maybe - but as soon as you're showing them to others, that could be considered publishing.

  4. #44
    vince123123
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    Default Re: Photographers' rights in Singapore

    Laws are laws, unfortunately, unwritten rules can never be enforced in a court of law.

    Also, I doubt there are any requirements or laws relating to "releases" in Singapore - simply put, they do not exist in Singapore. I'll be happy to see someone try to sue in Singapore based on the fact that no "release" was obtained.

    Quote Originally Posted by zoossh View Post
    what do you mean by "wrong time"? you mean digging nose and scratching butts?

    i'm assuming that those photographs are done with good taste, good aesthetics and in good intention.

    sometimes laws are there in order to protect the general public, the photographer and the publisher, and more of the rules goes unwritten because they are more likely to be abused rather than useful.

    it didn't come on free and effortless for a photographer to do a good candid. so far we seem to imply that a photographer has "benefited" out of nothing, but actually they have to run everywhere to get the job on. it may not be a contract based deal of money versus photo, but may be part of a photographer;s daily work for his livelihood, and he shot something becos of the aesthetic value and appreciation - he is proud of what he shoot. a greater responsibility lies in the editorial and publisher.

    and we do come down hard on the press for that. understandably they should know better on how to get releases in a legal and reasonable way with respect of the subjects. but when things are for to depict passerbys, crowds or montages - it is more complicated. so do we think journalists should not be allowed to take photographs/videos of suspects coming out of the court? should we enforce tedious release requirements for bloggers? there are just plenty of implications that cannot be defined or regulated.
    Any more clues on this Naomi Campbell case? I would like to take a look at the written judgement ofr myself since it was a House of Lords case as you mentioned - most, if not all House of Lords cases are reported.

    US laws on model releases is not relevant in Singapore, but the UK case may be relevant depending on what it actually held. I am surprised you said "breach of confidentiality" because that is usually meant for protecting trade secrets and confidential information.

    I'll try to research more on this, and more information would be useful.

    Quote Originally Posted by noelle View Post
    there was a landmark case in 2004 when naomi campbell was photographed in public, walking out of narcotics anonymous (contrary to her previously denying that she did drugs hah) and she won the case in the house of lords in the uk. the case caused quite a stir among media/press about privacy and photography.

    anyway, yea, like a few others have mentioned in this thread, a significant difference between usa and singapore/uk is that in usa, you can sue for breach of privacy but in uk/singapore, you can't. (naomi campbell sued for breach of confidentiality instead.)

  5. #45
    vince123123
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    Default Re: Photographers' rights in Singapore

    Okay I found the House of Lords case, and here are noteworthy points which may influence the initial impression I had when reading Noelle's initial post:

    For those who are interested, the case is Campbell v. MGN Ltd [2004] UKHL 22

    1. The House of Lords were split on this decision - 3:2.

    2. Brief Facts:

    The claimant was an internationally famous fashion model who had courted publicity, volunteered information to the media about her private life and averred publicly, but untruthfully, that she did not take drugs.

    The defendant newspaper published articles which disclosed her drug addiction and the fact that she was receiving therapy through a named self-help group, gave details of group meetings she attended and showed photographs of her in a street as she was leaving a group meeting.

    The claimant sought damages against the newspaper for breach of confidentiality. She accepted that the newspaper was entitled to publish the fact of her drug addiction and the bare fact that she was receiving treatment, but alleged that the newspaper had acted in breach of confidence by obtaining and publishing the additional details of her therapy at the group meetings and the photographs, which had been taken covertly. The newspaper denied the claim on the ground that it was entitled, in the public interest, to publish the information in order to correct the claimant's misleading public statements and asserted that the information that was published about her treatment was peripheral and was not sufficiently significant to amount to a breach of the duty of confidence.



    Vince123123 Note: Notice that it is the "additional details" of therapy and covert photographs that are the subject of contention here by the plaintiff, not so much the photos that were taken in the public street.

    3. Brief Summary of Judgement (its way too long to put here) (3:2 dissenting)

    (a) "the threshold test as to whether information was private was to ask whether a reasonable person of ordinary sensibilities, if placed in the same situation as the subject of the disclosure, rather than its recipient, would find the disclosure offensive"

    Vince123123 Note: In this case, the House of Lords then went on to hold that details of therapy is very private, akin to medical records. They also said that assurance of anonymity was essential to this type of treatment. Such that disclosure would be offensive to the person and she would discontinue treatment, causing a setback in recovery.

    (b) That there is a Human Rights Act 1998 which the House of Lords tried to rely on to give a right of privacy. There is no such Act here in Singapore.

    Also, they relied on the Europe Convention on Human Rights, which again, is of doubtful import in Singapore.

    (c) One dissenting Law Lord did not find the photographs taken covertly was nothing wrong.

    "Miss Campbell, expressly, makes no complaint about the taking of the photographs. She does not assert that the taking of the photographs was itself an invasion of privacy which attracts a legal remedy"

    "But the pictorial information in the photographs illustrating the offending article of 1 February 2001 added nothing of an essentially private nature. They showed nothing untoward. They conveyed no private information beyond that discussed in the article. The group photograph showed Miss Campbell in the street exchanging warm greetings with others on the doorstep of a building. There was nothing undignified or distrait about her appearance"

    The other dissenting Judge noted this case:

    "The first development is generally associated with the speech of Lord Goff of Chieveley in Attorney General v Guardian Newspapers Ltd (No 2) [1990] 1 AC 109, 281, where he gave, as illustrations of cases in which it would be illogical to insist upon violation of a confidential relationship, the "obviously confidential document … wafted by an electric fan out of a window into a crowded street" and the "private diary … dropped in a public place". He therefore formulated the principle as being that: "a duty of confidence arises when confidential information comes to the knowledge of a person … in circumstances where he has notice, or is held to have agreed, that the information is confidential, with the effect that it would be just in all the circumstances that he should be precluded from disclosing the information to others."

    Other relevant quotes in relation to photographs:

    "In the present case, the pictures were taken without Ms Campbell's consent. That in my opinion is not enough to amount to a wrongful invasion of privacy. The famous and even the not so famous who go out in public must accept that they may be photographed without their consent, just as they may be observed by others without their consent. As Gleeson CJ said inAustralian Broadcasting Corpn v Lenah Game Meats Pty Ltd (2001) 208 CLR 199, 226, para 41: "Part of the price we pay for living in an organised society is that we are exposed to observation in a variety of ways by other people."

    "But the fact that we cannot avoid being photographed does not mean that anyone who takes or obtains such photographs can publish them to the world at large. In the recent case of Peck v United Kingdom (2003) 36 EHRR 719 Mr Peck was filmed on a public street in an embarrassing moment by a CCTV camera. Subsequently, the film was broadcast several times on the television. The Strasbourg court said, at p 739, that this was an invasion of his privacy contrary to article 8: "the relevant moment was viewed to an extent which far exceeded any exposure to a passer-by or to security observation and to a degree surpassing that which the applicant could possibly have foreseen when he walked in Brentwood on 20 August 1995.""

    In my opinion, therefore, the widespread publication of a photograph of someone which reveals him to be in a situation of humiliation or severe embarrassment, even if taken in a public place, may be an infringement of the privacy of his personal information. Likewise, the publication of a photograph taken by intrusion into a private place (for example, by a long distance lens) may in itself by such an infringement, even if there is nothing embarrassing about the picture itself: Hellewell v Chief Constable of Derbyshire [1995] 1 WLR 804, 807. As Lord Mustill said in R v Broadcasting Standards Commission, Ex p British Broadcasting Corpn [2001] QB 885, 900, "An infringement of privacy is an affront to the personality, which is damaged both by the violation and by the demonstration that the personal space is not inviolate."

    The Judge then went on to say that in the Naomi case, he found nothing embarassing or such to intrude into private space.

  6. #46
    vince123123
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    Default Re: Photographers' rights in Singapore

    (cont'd from previous post)

    (d) Now we go on to see the majority ruling's decision and rationale

    The First Judge went on and on about confidential information, medical records, privacy for treatments, Narcotics Anonymous etc. He also relied on the European Act and Convention mentioned above.

    Next, he talked about photographs:

    The photographs were taken of Miss Campbell while she was in a public place, as she was in the street outside the premises where she had been receiving therapy. The taking of photographs in a public street must, as Randerson J said inHosking v Runting [2003] 3 NZLR 385, 415, para 138, be taken to be one of the ordinary incidents of living in a free community. The real issue is whether publicising the content of the photographs would be offensive: Gault and Blanchard JJ in the Court of Appeal [2004] NZCA 34, para 165. A person who just happens to be in the street when the photograph was taken and appears in it only incidentally cannot as a general rule object to the publication of the photograph, for the reasons given by L'Heureux-Dubé and Bastarache JJ in Aubry v Éditions Vice-Versa Inc [1998] 1 SCR 591, para 59. But the situation is different if the public nature of the place where a photograph is taken was simply used as background for one or more persons who constitute the true subject of the photograph. The question then arises, balancing the rights at issue, where the public's right to information can justify dissemination of a photograph taken without authorisation: Aubry, para 61. The European court has recognised that a person who walks down a public street will inevitably be visible to any member of the public who is also present and, in the same way, to a security guard viewing the scene through closed circuit television: PG and JH v United Kingdom Reports of Judgments and Decisions 2001-ix, p 195, para 57. But, as the court pointed out in the same paragraph, private life considerations may arise once any systematic or permanent record comes into existence of such material from the public domain. In Peck v United Kingdom (2003) 36 EHRR 719, para 62 the court held that the release and publication of CCTV footage which showed the applicant in the process of attempting to commit suicide resulted in the moment being viewed to an extent that far exceeded any exposure to a passer-by or to security observation that he could have foreseen when he was in that street.

    This judge then went on to say that the deliberate act of zooming in is an intrusion and also relied on the European Convention. He then concluded to say that because it is "distressing" therefore the action succeeded.

    The Second Judge also referred to the European Convention and the Human Rights Act. She also noted that the information here is akin to medical records and medical privacy; health privacy etc.

    What is useful to note is this quote from her:

    Publishing the photographs contributed both to the revelation and to the harm that it might do. By themselves, they are not objectionable. Unlike France and Quebec, in this country we do not recognise a right to one's own image: cfAubry v Éditions Vice-Versa Inc [1998] 1 SCR 591. We have not so far held that the mere fact of covert photography is sufficient to make the information contained in the photograph confidential. The activity photographed must be private. If this had been, and had been presented as, a picture of Naomi Campbell going about her business in a public street, there could have been no complaint. She makes a substantial part of her living out of being photographed looking stunning in designer clothing. Readers will obviously be interested to see how she looks if and when she pops out to the shops for a bottle of milk. There is nothing essentially private about that information nor can it be expected to damage her private life. It may not be a high order of freedom of speech but there is nothing to justify interfering with it. (This was the view of Randerson J in Hosking v Runting [2003] 3 NZLR 385, which concerned a similarly innocuous outing; see now the decision of the Court of Appeal [2004] NZCA 34.)

    The last Judge just followed whatever the First and Second majority judges said.

    In all of the Lord's judgement, whether dissentiing or majority, all placed a focus on whether confidential information was released by the photographs; medical confidentiality and the like.

    Vince123123's personal opinion:

    To rely on this case in support of model releases would be iffy at best.

    First, Singapore does not have Human Rights Act and European Convention of Human Rights.

    Second, the House of Lords were split 3:2, which suggests that the decision is not a very strong decision either way.

    Third, in most cases Clubsnappers where take photos without model releases, these do not include cases where serious breach of privacy is involved, or confidential information revealed or the like. I mean, what confidential information can there be in a model shoot? Those doing street shoots may need to be a bit more aware, but I dont think there's any significant risks still.

    Hope that this helps shed more light and it has been educational for both me, and hopefully, all of you as well.

  7. #47
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    Default Re: Photographers' rights in Singapore

    Think we need to clean this thread up a bit; half of it is privacy related, half of it is copyright related. I think especially if you aren't clear or familiar with the subject, then it's very easy to muddle the two up especially if the information is floating about in the same thread...

  8. #48
    vince123123
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    Default Re: Photographers' rights in Singapore

    Actually, they both still relate to the same subject matter and question - people are asking whether photos may be published without a release.

    Copyright, privacy etc are all points towards finding an answer to that question. Both are separate and distinct rights / causes of action.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jed View Post
    Think we need to clean this thread up a bit; half of it is privacy related, half of it is copyright related. I think especially if you aren't clear or familiar with the subject, then it's very easy to muddle the two up especially if the information is floating about in the same thread...

  9. #49

    Default Re: Photographers' rights in Singapore

    Just to share with fellow snappers. If you are taking any street photos and intend to publish it in any magazines/ commercial work overseas, you would like to see a release forms with clauses that protect the publishers and ad agencies from damages due to non-waiver of privacy rights in the country where the pictures are taken.

    For example, if we are to shoot a public street shot here, montage it and submit for a US magazine to publish and receive the editorial fees. The major characters in the photos can still sue for invasion of privacy and prepare a lawsuit against the photographers in the states.

    This is what I have been told by my publishers, editors and creative directors from the states when we submit our stuff to them. A long list of documents to prepare man

  10. #50

    Default Re: Photographers' rights in Singapore

    See the great SM Lee's statement:

    "I am often accused of interfering in the private lives of citizens. Yet, if I did not, had I not done that, we wouldn't be here today. And I say without the slightest remorse, that we wouldn't be here, we would not have made economic progress, if we had not intervened on very personal matters - who your neighbor is, how you live, the noise you make, how you spit, or what language you use. We decide what is right, never mind what the people think. That's another problem."

    So forget about privacy law. "It's for your own good." - From Jack Neo.

    The above is not conclusive. there are other part of law which we are bound to. Welcome to the world of LAW.
    Last edited by Draccoyap; 15th November 2007 at 11:18 AM.

  11. #51

    Default Re: Photographers' rights in Singapore

    Quote Originally Posted by Jed View Post
    Think we need to clean this thread up a bit; half of it is privacy related, half of it is copyright related. I think especially if you aren't clear or familiar with the subject, then it's very easy to muddle the two up especially if the information is floating about in the same thread...
    I would agree with you for other things. but we were discussed about "Photographer' rights". Unless there is a Law of Photograher Right or the like in Singapore, all orther part of the law can be relevant.

  12. #52

    Default Re: Photographers' rights in Singapore

    Quote Originally Posted by Jed View Post
    Think we need to clean this thread up a bit; half of it is privacy related, half of it is copyright related. I think especially if you aren't clear or familiar with the subject, then it's very easy to muddle the two up especially if the information is floating about in the same thread...
    well so far, i counted only one post abt wat i actually was asking about (photo/property release forms) - other than my original post

    i guess it seems that the rules abt such things in s'pore and the US are totally diff
    at least ive learnt a lot reading all the posts - though many werent easy to understand (and very long too)

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    Default Re: Photographers' rights in Singapore

    Quote Originally Posted by vince123123 View Post
    Actually, they both still relate to the same subject matter and question... Both are separate and distinct rights / causes of action.
    So are they the same, or separate and distinct rights?

  14. #54
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    Default Re: Photographers' rights in Singapore

    Quote Originally Posted by 2.8photography View Post
    well so far, i counted only one post abt wat i actually was asking about (photo/property release forms) - other than my original post...

    reading all the posts - though many werent easy to understand (and very long too)
    That being my whole point. For starters, on the first page alone there were a number of posts going on about the ownership of copyright in the case of a commission, which has nothing directly to do with your original question.

    Perhaps you were asking about rights in general, rather than specifically on model releases, which it seemed to be. If that were the case, then again, the issue is very very broad and easy to complicate.

  15. #55
    vince123123
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    Default Re: Photographers' rights in Singapore

    I'll rephrase.

    Both copyright and privacy/confidential information are separate and distinct rights.

    They are relevant to the same subject matter, ie whether releases are required in the situation the thread starter said.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jed View Post
    So are they the same, or separate and distinct rights?

  16. #56
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    Default Re: Photographers' rights in Singapore

    Quote Originally Posted by vince123123 View Post
    I'll rephrase.

    Both copyright and privacy/confidential information are separate and distinct rights.

    They are relevant to the same subject matter, ie whether releases are required in the situation the thread starter said.
    I am still not sure I am following, because I still don't see how copyright is relevant to the original post. From re-reading it again, the issue of the photographer holding copyright is never questioned but assumed in the original thread. If you don't hold the copyright to the photograph then you are not be able to have the photographs published on magazines, websites, or be able to submit them to contests in the first place. Whether you have a release or not is immaterial to the legitimacy of the use unless you own the copyright to the photograph in the first place.

    Put another way, you could formulate a response to the original question, without having to deal with the issue of copyright at all, perhaps with the exception of a caveat that you own the copyright in the first place. If the answer is yes or no, then there is no further need to continue down that line. If the answer is I don't know if I own the copyright or not, then that's another question for, as I'm arguing anyway, another thread.

    Anyway, there's nothing *wrong* with discussing tangential matters here, it just could make things harder for people to grasp.

    Thanks for doing the Naomi legwork btw. Was only previously familiar with that from a layman's perspective.

  17. #57
    vince123123
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    Default Re: Photographers' rights in Singapore

    It was simply a factor which someone proposed in trying to answer the question. In the end, it turned out that itwas barking up the wrong tree.

    Most pple don't know what they are trying to argue until it has actually been argued. Now that it has been debated, of course its easy for everyone to see it isn't reelvant. From the get go, I already know that copyright is not the subject. In fact, privacy has nothing to do with releases either.

    In fact, releases has nothing to do with Singapore in the first place.

    No prob on Naomi - it was one long judgement to read with so many diverging views, even within the 5 HL judges.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jed View Post
    I am still not sure I am following, because I still don't see how copyright is relevant to the original post. From re-reading it again, the issue of the photographer holding copyright is never questioned but assumed in the original thread. If you don't hold the copyright to the photograph then you are not be able to have the photographs published on magazines, websites, or be able to submit them to contests in the first place. Whether you have a release or not is immaterial to the legitimacy of the use unless you own the copyright to the photograph in the first place.

    Put another way, you could formulate a response to the original question, without having to deal with the issue of copyright at all, perhaps with the exception of a caveat that you own the copyright in the first place. If the answer is yes or no, then there is no further need to continue down that line. If the answer is I don't know if I own the copyright or not, then that's another question for, as I'm arguing anyway, another thread.

    Anyway, there's nothing *wrong* with discussing tangential matters here, it just could make things harder for people to grasp.

    Thanks for doing the Naomi legwork btw. Was only previously familiar with that from a layman's perspective.

  18. #58
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    Default Re: Photographers' rights in Singapore

    Quote Originally Posted by Jed View Post
    If you don't hold the copyright to the photograph then you are not be able to have the photographs published on magazines, websites, or be able to submit them to contests in the first place.
    I don't think this is correct. One can hold a license to the usage rights, without holding the copyright.

  19. #59

    Default Re: Photographers' rights in Singapore

    Quote Originally Posted by LittleWolf View Post
    I don't think this is correct. One can hold a license to the usage rights, without holding the copyright.
    bro vince123123 is not wrong. we are talking about right to copy, when you are licensed (or authorised) to freely copy/publish the photograph, you are holding a right to copy, although you do not own the right.

  20. #60

    Default Re: Photographers' rights in Singapore

    the thread is about photographer's right, which I do not think that there is such right in singapore, or others country.

    The thread first asked what right does the photographers' have in relation to the publishing and sharing the photos taken by him. Copyright is the first to talk about here so it is relevant. what photographers do is to photograph pictures/images and when you talk about publishing pictures/images, i believe the frist thing we will think about is copyright. In case you are asking, when you publish something, you are making lots of copies of the photographs, which you will need a right (copyright) to do that.

    what I am trying to say is that photographer has copyright to the photos he takes, he can publish it anywhere and anyhow he like, but he must also aware that there are other aspect of law prohibiting certain publication. becasue of the other aspect of law, we went on to talk about other different type of rights here. All are related to what the right that a photographer has.

    for topics related to legal matters, like it or not, you will from a simple question to a highly complicated answer, sometime, you won't even get any answer. that's probably why some lawyers are making big money.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jed View Post
    I am still not sure I am following, because I still don't see how copyright is relevant to the original post. From re-reading it again, the issue of the photographer holding copyright is never questioned but assumed in the original thread. If you don't hold the copyright to the photograph then you are not be able to have the photographs published on magazines, websites, or be able to submit them to contests in the first place. Whether you have a release or not is immaterial to the legitimacy of the use unless you own the copyright to the photograph in the first place.

    Put another way, you could formulate a response to the original question, without having to deal with the issue of copyright at all, perhaps with the exception of a caveat that you own the copyright in the first place. If the answer is yes or no, then there is no further need to continue down that line. If the answer is I don't know if I own the copyright or not, then that's another question for, as I'm arguing anyway, another thread.

    Anyway, there's nothing *wrong* with discussing tangential matters here, it just could make things harder for people to grasp.

    Thanks for doing the Naomi legwork btw. Was only previously familiar with that from a layman's perspective.
    Last edited by Draccoyap; 16th November 2007 at 06:06 PM.

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