Are there any legal issues I need to be aware of before I upload a photo?
Yes, please keep in mind the following:
Origin of the photo
Uploading a photo to Photocase is strictly prohibited, if
- you did not take the photo yourself.
- you reworked a photo that does not belong to you without the original creator’s consent.
- you found the photo on another photo database, photo catalogues, etc., or you retrieved it from some other location, including but not limited to the Internet, books, magazines, etc.
Offensive, pornographic, racist or violent content
- Photocase will not accept photos that are slanderous, defamatory, pornographic, discriminatory, obscene, sexually demeaning, racist or any photos that glorify violence.
Photos of property or buildings
To photograph property or buildings and to upload the photo to Photocase is allowed. However, there’s an exception to every rule:
- Photos of copyrighted materials will not be permitted. This can include things such as photos of paintings, photos of sculptures in museums, photos of other photos, photos of dance recitals or theatrical productions (the scenery is usually copyrighted), pieces of furniture, when the design is not exclusive to the practical function. Only the creator of the property has the right to use the photo, and they must grant you permission before you can upload it to Photocase. You are in theory permitted to upload photos of copyrighted material if you are in a publicly accessible place when you take the photo.
- Also the exterior of a building can be copyrighted, as far as the appearance is owed not by only functional requirements. A photo of a copyright protected building may be uploaded only if it is taken from a public place or if the owner of the property grants permission for you to publish the photo.
- Photos of the inside of a building may be uploaded in principle only with the consent of a person or company with the proper authority to grant consent. This can be the owner on hand or the occupant of the building or the area concerned. The creator of the interior design has rights as well and you may not publish photos of their work if the design extends beyond the simple functionality of the area; this idea extends to photos of train or bus stations and – as a general rule – events of any kind.
- Photos of military bases, equipment or personnel, court hearings or court buildings, penal institutions and their personnel, police officers or other national safety personnel will not be accepted.
- Photos containing brands or logos will likely not be accepted, better to remove the logo beforehand.
Photos of people
- Photos of people can only be published on Photocase if the person or persons depicted in the photo supplies you with written permission. If the photo depicts a person who has not yet reached the age of majority (18 years old in Germany; 18 or 19 years old in Canada for example) then you must obtain written permission from their parent or legal guardian. In any case, you must produce this agreement or permission form upon request.
- Since you also permit the Downloader to use your images in a commercial way, i.e. in a non-editorial manner, then uploading photos of contemporary public figures is not permitted;
- Photos may be uploaded if the person shown is not the primary subject or theme of the image, e.g. the appearance of that person has no influence on the motif or composition of the picture. It is occasionally not necessary to procure a Model Release. Generally, if the person in the photo is completely unrecognizable ("unrecognizable" in this case means that the person or persons pictured would not recognize themselves) then you may not need a Model Release.
Rights of owner or occupier
- To take photos on private property requires the permission of the owner and/or occupant of the property.
Privacy, Personal Rights
- Photos taken from private property are inadmissible without agreement of the owner/manager. This applies for example of photos that were taken from someone's garden or through a window ;
- Also inadmissible are distinguishing characteristics which infringe upon a person’s privacy. Examples are a home address or license plate number from a car.
Please be aware that you and you alone are in the best position to understand the origin and contents of your photos. Should any controversy arise over one of your photos, you must be able to prove you hold the necessary permissions if requested.