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View Full Version : When is permission needed?


Grasshopper
08-02-2006, 07:24 PM
Just starting into the aerial photography hobby, I am curious as to when (or if) you need permission to overfly someone's property and photograph it? I understand that you need permission to be on private land but what about the airspace over it? Is it any different than if I were flying over and took pictures out the window from a commercial airliner?

Being an amature photographer, I have read up on release forms when you take someone's picture and and want to publish it. It also seems that lately a lot more places such as public tourist attractions and federal property are drawing closer scrutiny to photographers taking detailed pictures. Security and law enforcement are watching this much closer after 911.

I don't want to stirr up a big debate here but I was curious when I need to get permission before I fly over and start snapping pictures.

Tom

BBird
08-02-2006, 08:03 PM
I don't know about the legal aspects of this but my own "rule of thumb" is that it depends what you intend to do with the photorgraphs. If you are just taking pictures for your own, private, non-commerical use then written permission is a nice-to-have unless. If you intend to share the photos or, more importantly, sell them or use them in some way that makes you money (like as illustrations in a book or article) then permission is a must.

Just my opinion based on land-based photography. I am sure there are legal aspects I have not considered like the actual overflight of private property.

Kosh
08-02-2006, 08:12 PM
Thats a very good question, Private pilots have no restrictions as far as I can tell other than no fly zones and some government installations for photos. A landmark case was in the news not to long ago when Barbra Streisand sued a photographer for taking photos of her home from the air.
The judge ruled that the airspace over ones home is public domain and she had no suite. Of course that doesn't mean you can just fly anywhere and have to use some common sense as say like a nuclear power plant.
I think it has more todo with how the photos will be used also, Say your flying over the house next door and photo a topless sunbather. Selling those photos and having them published could lead to a lawsuit against you as it might be considered a invasion of privacy. I'm sure others will chime in on this also here and may offer better insight than my attempt.

firemanbill
08-02-2006, 08:21 PM
All I can say is google and microsoft didn't ask me when they put my house on the internet!

aviatordave
08-02-2006, 09:03 PM
I was taught this from another AP'er

"It's easier to beg forgiveness than beg for permission"

Of course it depends on alot of different factors that have been mentioned above. Some parks have ordinances that dont allow RC of any kind, same as other public places. I was at the Mall early on a Sunday (closed and no people) to take some pics of Cedar Rapids. They have their own Security and they politely asked me to land and leave...which I did, no big deal! I just went across the street and took off again, they didnt care because I was off their property.

As long as your in it to learn and get good at your hobby I personally wouldnt sweat it. Stay away from airports, Nuke sites, crowded areas where it might pose risk to people or equipment.

Dave

ForestCam
08-03-2006, 12:03 AM
Say your flying over the house next door and photo a topless sunbather. Selling those photos and having them published could lead to a lawsuit against you as it might be considered a invasion of privacy.
Got any? http://home.comcast.net/~forestcam2/laughing.gif

I wouldn't say making money off photos taken of other's property would get you into any trouble. I can remember years ago a pilot stopping by every house on my parent's road trying to sell people aerial photos he'd taken of their property.

aviatordave
08-03-2006, 01:18 AM
Got any? http://home.comcast.net/~forestcam2/laughing.gif
I can remember years ago a pilot stopping by every house on my parent's road trying to sell people aerial photos he'd taken of their property.

That happens out here quite a bit, my Father in law had a guy come to his door with a 11 x 14 color print of his property in a nice oak frame, he wanted $175.00 for it...he didnt like the response my Father in law gave him, - 'I get it for free from my Son in law, and he does this for my neighbors farms at alot less than you charge' ;)

Dave

Rugar
08-03-2006, 01:47 AM
That happens out here quite a bit, my Father in law had a guy come to his door with a 11 x 14 color print of his property in a nice oak frame, he wanted $175.00 for it...he didnt like the response my Father in law gave him, - 'I get it for free from my Son in law, and he does this for my neighbors farms at alot less than you charge' ;)

Dave

Maybe so, but do you mount yours in a $150.00 Oak Frame? ;)

loker
08-03-2006, 02:18 AM
I happen to know a little about privacy. if you took photographs of a nude person in their back yard and sold them, you would have the same liability as a paparazzi, which isn't much. anything that can be seen in the open is open territory for looking at, and taking photographs of, including if it can be seen from the air. The only thing I can think of as far as getting in trouble is whether there are any local laws pertaining to the use of rc aircraft.

Rugar
08-03-2006, 02:23 AM
And to think I have two nudist colonies within 15 miles from here ;).

ForestCam
08-03-2006, 02:29 AM
And to think I have two nudist colonies within 15 miles from here ;).
Problem is that 99% of the people at nudist colonies shouldn't be allowed to be nude! :D

Eric_N57105
08-03-2006, 02:42 AM
All I can say is google and microsoft didn't ask me when they put my house on the internet!

With ICBM coordinates!

Eric
www.ke6us.com

Eric_N57105
08-03-2006, 02:46 AM
And to think I have two nudist colonies within 15 miles from here ;).

Yes, you do. My wife and I were guests of friends at the one in Reche Cyn. Now I know why you're dusting off that Copilot...

Eric
www.ke6us.com

firemanbill
08-03-2006, 02:51 AM
With ICBM coordinates!

Eric
www.ke6us.com (http://www.ke6us.com)

Great... Now I feel a lot better!:p thanks:rolleyes:

Rugar
08-03-2006, 03:01 AM
Yes, you do. My wife and I were guests of friends at the one in Reche Cyn. Now I know why you're dusting off that Copilot...

Eric
www.ke6us.com (http://www.ke6us.com)

But Glen Helen would be a whole lot more accessible ;).

rahtware
08-03-2006, 03:32 AM
I happen to know a little about privacy. if you took photographs of a nude person in their back yard and sold them, you would have the same liability as a paparazzi, which isn't much. anything that can be seen in the open is open territory for looking at, and taking photographs of, including if it can be seen from the air. The only thing I can think of as far as getting in trouble is whether there are any local laws pertaining to the use of rc aircraft.
Just donít take any pictures of nude kids (how can you tell a 17 year old from a 20 year old???) Having them in your possession makes you a sex offender in the eyes of the courts. This information comes from my 25 years as a Peace Officer.

Grasshopper
08-03-2006, 03:38 AM
Just donít take any pictures of nude kids (how can you tell a 17 year old from a 20 year old???) Having them in your possession makes you a sex offender in the eyes of the courts. This information comes from my 25 years as a Peace Officer.

You were beginning to worry me Larry. I thought it was going to end with "Don't ask me how I know this"

Whew!!!

loker
08-03-2006, 03:45 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by rahtware http://www.wattflyer.com/forums/images/images_pb/misc/backlink.gif (http://www.wattflyer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8985#post92953)
Just don’t take any pictures of nude kids (how can you tell a 17 year old from a 20 year old???) Having them in your possession makes you a sex offender in the eyes of the courts. This information comes from my 25 years as a Peace Officer.
yes you're right, if the pictures themselves are illegal, then you could get in trouble for them, but that would be true whether the pictures were taken from the air or the ground, anywhere really.

rahtware
08-03-2006, 03:51 AM
You were beginning to worry me Larry. I thought it was going to end with "Don't ask me how I know this"

Whew!!!
I figured I better throw that in... I just had a "red flag" go up reading the other posts so thought I should respond. The trouble is, it can be as simple as your neighbor seeing your plane do a low pass with a camera on board when she has her toddlers out skinny-dipping in the wadding pool. If she files a complaint, the police (by law) have to investigate. Just not worth the trouble.

miljnor
08-03-2006, 06:22 AM
It really sucks that you can actually take a picture and not know whats on it and then get arrested and prosecuted for something that was totatly unintintional!

Most probably wouldn't prosecute but I am sure there are some real briliant DA's out there that would "make and example" of an unlucky RC pilot that was filming in the above example.

Kosh
08-03-2006, 06:45 AM
I dont think that has happened ever but I suppose if you KEPT the photos and sent them to friends your open game. The likelyhood of getting any usable photos or video has to be higher than winning the big lottery I would think. :eek:

mike1699
08-03-2006, 06:56 AM
i could never get my best side,when taking arieal
photos

Nitro Blast
08-03-2006, 03:54 PM
i could never get my best side,when taking arieal
photos
Me either... well at least while I was actually looking at the airplane that is... ;)


My take is, act responsibly. The likelyhood of some actual persucution from an AP issue towards an RC'er has got to be remarkably low. I personally have 'shot first, ask later', and not had any problems whatsoever.

The whole 'nudist colony' issue (or any similar one)... well refer to line 2. Act responsibly. Flying an RC airplane over anyone naked or not does not ring of responsible to me. If not flying 'over', the simple act of attempting to take photos for that reason IMO is just wrong.


GMA this morning had a feature on high-tech voyuer's. Big lens guys spying through your windows.. Thise guys are the ones to worry about, the ones who drop big coin on equipment with the intention of spying on you and publishing the results. Notice Hobby RC nuts with small digital cameras taking aerial photos of parking lots and fields was not law enforcements big concern.

Eric_N57105
08-04-2006, 05:25 AM
But Glen Helen would be a whole lot more accessible ;).

I forgot about that one. Then I think there are THREE within 15 miles of you. There's one in the Lakeview/Nuevo area. I tried to fly my hot air balloon over it in the early 80's a couple of times, but could never find any favorable winds!

Good theme for the monthly AP contest!

Eric
www.ke6us.com

Ira
08-09-2006, 07:02 AM
This is a complicated issue. In general you can take photographs of homes from the air if you don't violate a reasonable expectation of privacy. What that means is wide open to interpertation. Other things to consider is selling the captured image of a sports teams logo could violate copyright and such..... For images containing individuals especialy if they can be recognized in the image a model release should be obtained and as was mentioned any image of a minor if nude or in any way sexual in nature could land you a heap of trouble (and should). Most of this is common sense if you just make a real effort to be a good, considerate and respectfull person.