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Privacy and photography

Image Privacy and photography

In an era in which constant references to the dictates of the GDPR on privacy arrive, perhaps spending a few words to update it in our reality does not hurt.

In particular, we will try to understand how to behave when we photograph.

And, mind you, by saying "when we photograph" I mean all those who use any tool suitable for shooting, therefore even the simple smartphone.

How many millions of shots are taken every day in any part of Italy?

You don't have to be a professional photographer to be subject to the privacy law even in photography. Let's think, for example, of how insidious the mobile phone is in capturing photos. In fact, it looks much less in the eye than a reflex camera, with the risk of shooting unconscious subjects.

Furthermore, it is very likely that some passer-by does not notice us while we are filming him with the mobile phone, while noticing if we are holding a camera.

In both cases, however, the photographer who immortalized the passer-by does not think about the limits of use he has on that photo.

The legal context of privacy in Italy applied to the world of photography is extremely delicate and, in some ways, little known.

But precisely for this reason problems could arise, and not of minor importance.

I stress again, you don't have to be a professional photographer to run into legal consequences. What matters is the shot, by whatever means of shooting, and everything that follows from this simple gesture.

So, whether you are a fan of street photography or just a young man shooting his friends in a goliardic moment, you have to ask yourself what you want to do with your photography.

It seems incredible, but if on the one hand it is true that in a public place we can take pictures, generally without particular limitations, in reality the problem arises above all when we decide what to do with our result.


Elements to consider in photography

It will therefore be important to focus on these phases:

  1. protection of the storage method;
  2. use of the photo itself.

In other words, we must also pay close attention to how the photographs are stored. In fact, it is necessary to guarantee protection for our shots, even if we only look at them.

In fact, other people could have access to this data, even casually, and recognize people unintentionally portrayed.

The method of conservation of photographic archives therefore becomes fundamental.

However, and here I move on to the second point, the use we make of our photographs is also and above all important.

From when we open them on our PC / smartphone to when we print them or publish them on social media, we forcefully enter the individual sphere of the person being filmed, especially if the latter is not aware of it.


Reference judgments

We are also reminded of this by a sentence of the Court of Milan, section I, of 16.04.2015. It confirms that any dissemination without the consent of the person portrayed is prohibited, including the case of photographing well-known personalities.

Again, the Civil Cassation, section I, of 29.01.2016 n. 1748, examines the case in which it is necessary to have the consent of the interested party for the publication of photos, pursuant to Articles 96 and 97 L. 633/1941. The only case in which consent is excluded, the Supreme Court specifies, is when the publication responds to needs of public utility.

In this regard, however, note that publication will be allowed in the immediacy of the event, to justify the right to report, which runs out in a short period of time.


Concluding evaluations

So pay attention to how we behave. That's right, because we should always sign the authorization for the use of the image by the person taken.

In fact, we never, or hardly ever do. The “almost” consists at most in downloading a generic authorization facsimile from the web, thinking that it is good for any situation.

For heaven's sake, it is already a step ahead of those who do nothing, but often it is not enough.

The situations are different from time to time and the indemnity downloaded from the network does not necessarily help us to protect ourselves.

Let us recall a fundamental principle: the right to an image is reduced only in the face of the right to report, as the Supreme Court taught us. In all other cases it is protected.

Therefore, for lovers of the "street", but not only, remember that being aware of this can help, and not a little.

This article is intended to be only a rough indication, just a moment of reflection to understand the importance of our actions and the resulting consequences.


Law Firm

Lawyer Paola CHIAPPINI

Via Mira, 4/10


T.: 010/3624308; 333/8099295