Hm- tough call. I mean, whether she's topless or not, she's in public and the camera's in plain view. I think at first we need to separate the fact of her toplessness from any dicussion. Wait- I think the very first thing we need to do is introduce some video and pictoral evidence. :) The second thing is then forget the fact that she happens to be topless in determine legal standing. Now, if someone made a video called "Streets of Seattle" and just went out with their Steadicam and took lots of video of people walking around various Seattle attractions- perhaps intending to sell the video in those gift shops around tourist attractions or something- would they be legally protected to make the video without getting release forms or compensating those who were in their shot? I suspect it would, although the primer that alan linked leaves it unresolved; on the one hand, photos taken publicly don't necessarily need release forms, but then there's this vague "right of publicity" if an individual can be identified and is the focus of the photo/video in question. So: does that mean GGW, Inc., could sidestep everything by simply blurring the faces so they are no longer identifiable individuals? How long in seconds does a camera have to have a particular subject in frame before that subject is the "focus of the shot"? Tough area to ponder...
And what does that mean for shows like "Wild On E!" where we see partygoers and revelers in vacation hot spots, where clearly they couldn't have gotten all those release forms, right? The principle difference seems to be that E! doesn't show nudity (or at least blurs it out) and generally focuses on scenes of general revelry, not individual partgoers. Isn't GGW, Inc. simply calling these documentaries about broader concepts like "Mardi Gras" partying, and thus not be focusing on this B.G. plaintiff in particular, denying both her privacy and publicity claims (well, again it sounds like she's not making any publicity claims)? Ultimately, it really sounds like it's almost going to be a coinflip about which judge gets the case and what the applicable state laws happen to be. Me, I lean towards the "you got naked, don't be ashamed of it, it was part of the fun of Mardi Gras/ Spring Break/ Carnival/ Etc.
As for mathowie's second analogy (the first seems a red herring, since artists performing live music already have copyrighted most of their music, and generally only allow bootlegging as a look-the-other-way grace), there seem to be two key differences: one is that if someone made a collection of some the best comments from Metafilter- such as a Gospel According to Peanuts 'cept with Metafilter- or referenced many comments in other publications, that might be different than just bundling up "Metafilter: The Book". Also, and more importantly, the page footer clearly states "All posts are © their original authors", whereas people don't generally walk around in public places wearing sandwich boards that say "All images of me are © me". Although I guess the question is whether the law imply that sandwich board copyright anyway. Methinks it generally does not.posted by hincandenza at 5:46 PM on September 30, 2001
Guess that'll teach me the folly of proofreading and editing what I've typed before finally hitting "post". ;)posted by hincandenza at 5:50 PM on September 30, 2001
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