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'[OT] Googel on the streets'
2007\05\31@092542 by Tamas Rudnai

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If you view the map od San Francisco or LA with Google Maps then you can
click on [Street View] and if you place the little man on the street map you
will see the street view as a 360 degree interactive photo - even of clearly
identifiable faces of people and registration plates. Is that legal in the
US?

Thanks,
Tamas

2007\05\31@123559 by Robert Rolf

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Tamas Rudnai wrote:

> If you view the map od San Francisco or LA with Google Maps then you can
> click on [Street View] and if you place the little man on the street map you
> will see the street view as a 360 degree interactive photo - even of clearly
> identifiable faces of people and registration plates. Is that legal in the
> US?

They are in a "PUBLIC" space, so they can have no expectation of 'privacy'.
Anyone can take a picture in a pubic space, and no laws are violated.
If there were laws being broken, you can bet celebrities would be suing the
asses off the paparazzi.

R

2007\05\31@124926 by Hazelwood Lyle

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face
> Anyone can take a picture in a pubic space, and no laws are violated.

In fact, there is an entire industry built around taking pictures
in pubic spaces, but that is beyond the scope of this discussion. ;-)

Lyle

2007\05\31@131801 by Rolf

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Robert Rolf wrote:
> Tamas Rudnai wrote:
>
>  
>> If you view the map od San Francisco or LA with Google Maps then you can
>> click on [Street View] and if you place the little man on the street map you
>> will see the street view as a 360 degree interactive photo - even of clearly
>> identifiable faces of people and registration plates. Is that legal in the
>> US?
>>    
>
> They are in a "PUBLIC" space, so they can have no expectation of 'privacy'.
> Anyone can take a picture in a pubic space, and no laws are violated.
> If there were laws being broken, you can bet celebrities would be suing the
> asses off the paparazzi.
>
> R
>
>  
You are actually partially mistaken in this regard....

In a public space you are normally (there are exceptions) allowed to
take photographs at will, but you are not allowed to get commercial gain
from someone else's likeness unless they have signed a release form. So,
taking photographs is fine, but selling people's images is not. I'm
searching for some references.....

Here's a good one.

http://www.danheller.com/model-release.html

In Summary, legal or not illegal are sort of blurry (actually, it is not
about criminal law at all, and only loosely falls in to commercial law),
but, anyone who's face appears on the map pages may attempt to sue
Google for part of Google's income that is derived from their likeness.
Google has most likely just got to blur out that person's face, or
simply re-take that picture, and they are in the clear without having to
do anything more, and likely the only thing that it will cost Google is
legal fees (which will pretty much be nothing because this will all be
dealt with long before it ever sees a court....). i.e. The way it will
work is that Joe Blogs will see their face on a map page. They will hire
a lawyer for $500 bucks, who will pen a long letter to Google saying
"please pay my client $xx for having his face help Google make money".
Google will respond with "Ohh, sorry, didn't know his face was in there.
It's gone now, what next?". And, that will pretty much be the end of it.
No lawyer will let a client try much more than that because it is pretty
pointless.

It is about pragmatism... Google can be a whole lot more pragmatic than
a person who's face appears in an obscure place in a picture....

Rolf



2007\05\31@135057 by Matthew Mucker

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face
IANAL, but I believe the individual would have to prove that Google's income
was the result of his likeness being on Google's site, not that his likeness
just happens to be present when Google makes money. That would be awfully
hard to prove.

Do you think every magazine reimburses every person who happens to be in a
street scene that they publish? I don't either.

{Original Message removed}

2007\05\31@153044 by Robert Rolf

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Rolf wrote:
{Quote hidden}

True.
But the web site is selling the MAP, not the images of people found in public.
Their faces are incidental to the purpose and intent of the photos.

{Quote hidden}

They would only be successful if they could prove that it was the FACE that
was responsible for the revenue generated. They likely could not, since the
primary purpose of the site is to provide MAPS and 3-D views at a location.

{Quote hidden}

But Google has very deep pockets, so you can bet the less scrupulous lawyers
WILL try to press the case and get money as a 'nuisance' lawsuit.

> It is about pragmatism... Google can be a whole lot more pragmatic than
> a person who's face appears in an obscure place in a picture....

Exactly.
But when has that every stopped the lawyering? 4 Million for a spilled cup
of McDonalds  coffee anyone?
Millions in 'disability' award for injuries caused by falling through a
skylight while trying to break in to a school building.
The ability of the American INjustice system to get the wrong result never
ceases to amaze me.

Robert

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