Montreal Grand Prix: Not for the camera shy


Who can take your picture where, and what can they do with it?

GrandPrix2013

Today the annual Formula 1 circus rolls into Montreal for a weekend of extravagance.  This event belches exhaust fumes into our air and cash into our hotels, restaurants and stores. Some estimates put the revenue for the weekend at upwards of $100 million; that’s worth coughing for a few days.

This event belches exhaust fumes into our air and cash into our hotels, restaurants and stores

HowardHughes
Howard Hughes blocks camera

If you are planning to take in any of the events, and are a bit camera shy, you may want to bear in mind the following. I noticed the signs for the first time last year, they were posted on the barriers that are erected to close Crescent Street for the festivities (as people often lean on these barriers the signs aren’t terribly visible, but they’re there and I think that’s what matters). I suspect they are on all similar entry points to F1 events in the city. The signs weren’t prominent, nor were they particularly impressive in design, looking like a last minute addition, they were printed on 8.5 X 11 paper.  But the message is what matters; the signs explained, in both French and English, that by entering this F1 site you agreed to potentially being photographed and that said photos may be used commercially.

… by entering this F1 site you agreed to potentially being photographed and that said photos may be used commercially

I’m no lawyer, but I think the F1 folks are covering their ass by posting in advance lest anyone complain later when they show up in a shot used to promote F1 or any of its sponsors in a magazine or on a poster. So it all boils down to one thing: if you don’t want to risk having your picture taken and used you’d best not pass beyond the barriers.

There are numerous websites regarding what one can and can’t photograph. Photorights.org, a UK based site states the following:

You can’t take my photo without permission’. Oh yes you can, usually. Point to the CCTV cameras and wave, they never asked either. Of course it is perfectly understandable that individuals may feel singled out and perhaps intimidated, frightened or angry not to be in control, but it’s not a legal point.

The website Ambientlight has a more Canadian take on the laws of photography, including those of Quebec that would directly affect the Montreal Grand prix:

In Quebec, the Quebec Human Rights Code, Chapter 1, 5, grants all humans the right to their private life. For photography, this broadly-worded right allows each individual person in Quebec control over the use of their image (meaning, a photo of them). This was recently upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada in a case (Aubrey v. Edition Vice-Versa Inc.) where a photographer published a photo of an individual in public, without the subject’s permission. The image was nothing special, it was taken from a public place of a person in public, and did not injure their reputation. However, the Supreme Court of Canada said that the photographer should not have published the photo without the permission of the person photographed, and ruled in the favour of the subject of the photo. They did note that there are exceptions for newsworthy events, people who are in the public eye, like politicians or celebrities, or if the person was incidental to the photo, and not the main subject(s).

If you’re one of those who puts their hands up to block themselves and yells “Get that camera out of my face” at photographers, you’re out of luck at the Grand Prix

If you’re one of those who puts their hands up to block themselves and yells “Get that camera out of my face” at photographers, you’re out of luck at the Grand Prix. I don’t imagine the signs count as model release forms, given you don’t sign them, but the Grand Prix is a newsworthy and photographer friendly event. Even crowd scenes can potentially land you in trouble, so make sure that really is your wife/husband you’re holding hands with when the flash goes off! You have been warned! Of course you could always chance it and, should you be photographed and should those photos be used, sue the Formula one folks. But I have a hunch they may be able to afford some fine lawyers!

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One thought on “Montreal Grand Prix: Not for the camera shy

  1. I think most, if not all, attendees would be pissed if the camera shot in the whatever media was cropped and they just missed being in it.

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