Copyright vs. portrait right

OV-campaign team at Station Sloterdijk, Amsterdam.
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Recently, I attended a lecture at the Hollandse Hoogte Photo Agency on “Copyright and Portrait Right” presented by Fulco Blokhuis, lawyer for Boekx (Media & Intellectual Property).

By showing examples in their original context, it became clear which limits exist in the the perpetual battle between copyright holders.

As a Graphics Designer, I have often wondered: what is the dividing line between Copyright and Portrait-right?. In his inspiring lecture, Fulco Blokhuis used visual examples, backed by explanations to define the laws regarding freedom of expression and Rights to Privacy. It is a very fine line indeed! In several examples (such as B9 6032, The Dutch Runner) the audience was astonished to learn the verdict.

Upon the lectures’ conclusion, the audience responded with great enthusiasm. Questions were raised regarding the importance of context, theft or mutilation of images), and how to protect oneself against litigation.

Blokhuis advised that (when portraying someone famous) to do it humourously and tactfully. The truth lies in the details.

Later on, that same day, while waiting for my train home, I was struck by an intriguing visual and took a picture of it. Presently, I was approached by a man who believed himself to be the subject of my photograph. He demanded that I delete it as he felt it was an invasion of his privacy. Inspired by my newly acquired knowledge, I explained that this was a public space and that he was not the true subject of my photo, therefore, I would not delete it. The man furiously got up in my face and screamed for me to delete the shot; “NOW.” A crowd began to gather around us. I offered him Blokhuis’s business card and told him to contact my “new” lawyer.

Fortunately a security officer intervened and the man was escorted away. Here it is. I’ve posted it because I’m curious to know your opinion. What do you think? Did I invade his privacy? The man in question is the one with the pink cap, far right.

Hollandse Hoogte
Boekx Lawyers
Boek9 (case B9 6032)
Case HH 03062010