Report on our Law and Photography seminar

Posted on: July 3, 2021 by

On Thursday, 1st July we hosted a seminar entitled ‘Law and Photography’ where various aspects of photography and its relationship with the law were discussed. During this seminar, our speakers focused on copyright, licensing, moral rights and privacy rights. The seminar was chaired and moderated by Simon Stokes of Blake Morgan and Alexander Herman of the Institute.

 Dr. Elena Cooper, a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow with CREATe at the University of Glasgow,  began the seminar. She presented ‘Photographs and Copyright in the Nineteenth Century: What can we Learn from the Past?’ Her presentation focused on copyright history and landmark copyright statutes and case law.

Stokes spoke next, with his presentation on ‘Originality- What Is and What Isn’t Protected’. He focused on how a photograph meets originality requirements in order to be protected under UK copyright law, as well as the basics of copyright infringement in photography.

Then, Elizabeth Walley from the Design & Artists Copyright Society (DACS), spoke on the role of copyright management organisations in licensing photographs and images. Walley explained the purpose of DACS in representing artists’ rights and managing images and their reproductions. 

After Walley, Molly Stech, a U.S. copyright attorney (and author of the book Artists’ Rights, published with the Institute), spoke on fair use under US law. She focused on the four relevant fair use factors, as well as some of the important cases in the US (see our run-through of some of these here).

Megan Noh, the Co-Chair of Art Law at Pryor Cashman LLP, then spoke on the manipulation of images and moral rights. She focused on the Visual Artists Rights Act in the US. Noh went into some detail on the Act and the definition of ‘visual art’, as well as its effects in the case law. Alexander Herman then spoke briefly on moral rights law in the UK and some of the differences between UK and US law.

Noor Kadhim of Armstrong Teasdale spoke next, discussing the freedom of panorama exception and social media. She spoke on the legality behind posting pictures of public spaces on social media and the differences between European countries, as well as the history of freedom of panorama. 

After Kadhim, we heard from Mark Stephens CBE of Howard Kennedy and one of the founders of DACS, who discussed privacy, photographs and UK law. He focused on the idea of reasonable expectations of privacy in regards to photography, particularly the differences between public figures and regular citizens, as well as the restrictions on pictures of children.

Adam Jomeen presenting on street photography in France during the seminar on Law and Photography, 1 July.

Finally, Adam Jomeen, who is on the verge of launching his new London-based practice at Art Law Studio Ltd, spoke on street photography under US and French law. He focused on New York and Paris, speaking on the issue of consent with street photography and the subjects’ rights to privacy. He presented statutes and case law relevant to the two cities, highlighting the differences between the two. 

We would like to thank all those who spoke and attended the seminar. We hope it was educational and beneficial for all who attended.