Public Filming Legal but Ethical?

After this week’s lecture about public photography and the laws around photographing people in public I was a little shocked at how open they are. There is no law against someone taking a photo of you in a public place and using it for their own purposes. Since the release of the smart phone photography is now readily accessible to everyone at any skill level so where do we draw the line?

I will be relating this blog towards another subject DIGC202, where I am currently filming different social groups that live on campus and what activities they engage in. Upon reflecting on my footage and project I noticed that I never asked any of the participants if they did not want to be filmed. I also did not ask if I could use their footage to upload to YouTube and Twitter. My filming contains content that participants may not want to be associated with for example trespassing on abandoned oil rigs and factories and footage of participants intoxicated. It also shows participants faces and even names. So is it still okay for me to upload this footage despite not asking for permission?

Looking directly at the Australian Laws for photography it is clear that I can use this footage without permission as there are no publicity or personality right in Australia nor is there a right to privacy that protects a person’s image. Looking at the laws it is clear that photography in public becomes an ethical issue.

After learning about these laws I went back to my footage and asked all participants if they were okay for me to use their names, faces and behaviours in my video. They all agreed. However if whilst filming, a member of the public who could appear in the background approached me and asked me to delete the footage I would do so despite it being legal I feel it would be unethical. To ban filming in public places would be an irrational decision however there should be an ethical law which enables the public to request a photograph or film be deleted should they feel embarrassed or not willing to appear in photography.

Reference List:

2015, Street photographer’s rights, Arts Law Centre of Australia’s standards, accessed 5th September 2015,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s