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Photo Booth Hire And Copyright Issues

A person has just stepped out of the photo booth hire at a party that he or she is attending and has taken some entertaining photographs with friends or colleagues. A few seconds later, the picture is delivered and the person walks away with the colleagues laughing at the picture and admiring themselves. The next day, the person has been tagged in the photograph which is now plastered all over Facebook concept. Unfortunately, that person will now be embarrassed because this was an unguarded bit of fun and certainly not for public viewing. What rights does that person have, who owns the copyright of the photo booth hire photographs and what can be done about it?

In many countries, it is generally understood and accepted as a point of law that anyone can take a picture of anyone else in a public place such as a photo booth hire provided there is no harassment in the process. However, the law is not concerned with the thinking of the photograph, but only with the consequences of the publishing of the resulting image. In the case of a portable photo booth hire, it is not in use in a public place because it is normally used in venues for parties and events which are regarded as private property.

The copyright ownership for photographs taken in a photo booth hire should be considered. It is generally accepted in many countries that the person who has taken the photograph owns the copyright. This is straightforward when a person stands in front of another person and takes a photograph with a camera, but wouldn’t be the same position about a photograph taken in a photo booth. Most photo booths require some form of action on the part of the person being photographed-by pressing a button physically or on a computer screen in the booth. In this case, the copyright of the photograph logically belong to the person or persons who pressed the button. Unfortunately, many of the photo booth hire companies do not understand or appreciate the legal issues about the ownership and publication of photographs taken in the booth. It is common practice for them to publish a full photo album taken in the booth at that particular event and allow free public access for anybody who is interested.

In photo booth hire, the action of publishing the photographs and allowing free public access could constitute a breach of the rights of the person’s in the photographs. Unfortunately, the software used by many of the photo booth hire companies does not have the necessary protection in place to prevent publication unless the company has the prior permission of the people in the booth being photographed. This could lead to all kinds of legal arguments and complications which cannot be easily resolved.