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Legality of taking photos of people in Spain

Legality of taking photos of people in Spain

Old Aug 1st 2016, 8:22 pm
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Default Legality of taking photos of people in Spain

I'm trying to find out about the legal position in Spain as to taking photos of people in public places such as streets, festivals, fiestas and events in general.

Yesterday I was taking some nighttime pictures of fairground rides. A parent asked, no told, me to stop. Although I resented the implication as to why I was taking the photos I did stop. I later did a bit of checking and it's pretty clear that in Spain you need consent to take pictures of people. In the case of children the consent has to come from the parents though it seems that children over the age of twelve are usually considered competent to give their consent.

So what do you think is the legal position if, for instance, I stand outside the Sagrada Familia (or a Carrefour supermarket) to take photos of it with people in the picture? There are lots of places where it would be more or less impossible to take a snap without people. I think my fairground would be an example - parked dodgem cars and static empty rides don't quite have the same impact as the moving thing! Street markets would be another example.

What about the parade at your local fiesta, the Reyes cabalgata at Christmas, the Carnaval and Semana Santa processions when people parade, sit atop floats and wave at the crowd? I have often taken photos of such events and one of the things that happens is that groups of youngsters, and adults, will strike a pose and ask for their photos to be taken. Presumably this is considered to be giving consent if they are adults.

Finally what about the specific pictures of people. I was at a pop festival the other day. I took lots of snaps of people - simply because I thought they would look good as photos. Proper photographers do the same. It seems pretty clear to me that taking those photos is not legal without going over to the group of people and asking.

I am not asking about selling the photos. I do put them on my Facebook and Google albums page though.
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Old Aug 1st 2016, 9:49 pm
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Default Re: Legality of taking photos of people in Spain

At my son's school, we have to sign a waiver to allow our son's face to appear on the school Facebook page. Otherwise they must blur out the face by law

Only photos of children whose parents have agreed are allowed to appear in publications, either online or paper

That's all I know about the matter
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Old Aug 1st 2016, 10:02 pm
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Default Re: Legality of taking photos of people in Spain

I belong to a local forum which i won't identify. They have a group dedicated to local restaurants and bars. Often, photos are published showing members' dining and/or drinking but they also show other customers. I posed the question on the forum as to what was the legal (moral!) position regarding this as, in certain circumstances, couples for instance may not wish to be identified dining or drinking together and for this to be made available publicly.
My post quickly disappeared and I have not queried why. I take it the moderator thought it trivial or ridiculous in some way.
Likewise for Facebook and similar others, I wonder what is the position?
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Old Aug 1st 2016, 10:05 pm
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Default Re: Legality of taking photos of people in Spain

As always in Spain, there is a specific law that covers this

https://www.boe.es/buscar/doc.php?id=BOE-A-1982-11196

It seems to cover taking photos of people without their consent.

I don't know how it could be enforced for the circumstances you describe without expensive legal proceedings.

Your biggest exposure is posting any personal images on the Internet, especially on social media.

Incidentally, the rules about CCTV in Spain are very restrictive which explains the fact that you see very few cameras in public places.
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Old Aug 1st 2016, 10:09 pm
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Default Re: Legality of taking photos of people in Spain

Originally Posted by Biffta
I belong to a local forum which i won't identify. They have a group dedicated to local restaurants and bars. Often, photos are published showing members' dining and/or drinking but they also show other customers. I posed the question on the forum as to what was the legal (moral!) position regarding this as, in certain circumstances, couples for instance may not wish to be identified dining or drinking together and for this to be made available publicly.
My post quickly disappeared and I have not queried why. I take it the moderator thought it trivial or ridiculous in some way.
Likewise for Facebook and similar others, I wonder what is the position?
In a private establishment, which a restaurant would be, you may be at risk for legal action. I know that, in the UK, if I was takinh a photo which might well finish up published, then I would always tell people, and ask any who didn't wish to be identified to either move out of range or to turn away so their faces were not in picture. When I was PRO for British Naturism I always ensured that, if the local press were attending that they asked permission before taking any photograph, or even if our own photographer was taking photos for publication in our'in-house' magazine that people were warned. Out on the streets or in public, like on a beach, then those rules don't apply, at least not in the UK, but photographing children is still regarded as a no-no.
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Old Aug 1st 2016, 10:16 pm
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Default Re: Legality of taking photos of people in Spain

Thanks for that Fred. Yes, I accept your point about enforcement. Thanks also for the legislation.
Thanks also Mikelincs.
It's just something that occurred to me especially as now it seems not only fashionable and commonplace to photograph the food on the table (??) but also to take multiple shots of the diners and the establishment.
As for CCTV in Spain I would have thought restrictions would have been relaxed in view of the current security situation and of course the terrible Madrid bombings several years back.
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Old Aug 1st 2016, 10:47 pm
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Default Re: Legality of taking photos of people in Spain

I feel it is rude to take pictures of strangers, without first asking their permission.
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Old Aug 1st 2016, 10:48 pm
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Default Re: Legality of taking photos of people in Spain

Fred, my Spanish is reasonable but legal wording does not make for an easy read. It seems though that the general sense of the law is to protect the privacy and dignity of people from intrusions into their lives. Basically no spying.

Do you see anything in there about the "accidental" capture of images, the people in the crowd, the people walking by the cathedral, the idea that it could have been anyone in the picture but it just happened to be them? And what about the situation where someone is on display - the human statues, the person giving a demonstration of esparto weaving. Have they temporarily waived their privacy?

My reading of it is that the law is there to protect that privacy and dignity of people in that it gives them the right to stop the publication (I think I mean publication rather than taking) of an image should they wish to. So, if someone says no then that means no but if the photographer doesn't ask and the person doesn't challenge there is no illegality though the right to challenge that image remains a possibility.

Last edited by Culebronchris; Aug 1st 2016 at 10:59 pm.
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Old Aug 1st 2016, 10:52 pm
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Default Re: Legality of taking photos of people in Spain

missile I would agree with that in the sense that if someone came up to you in the street and took your picture. Do you think it's the same if you were watching a bike race pass by and the person taking a picture of the riders caught you in the crowd?
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Old Aug 1st 2016, 10:53 pm
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Default Re: Legality of taking photos of people in Spain

Originally Posted by Culebronchris

My reading of it is that the law is there to protect that privacy and dignity of people in that it gives them the right to stop the publication (I think I mean publication rather than taking) of an image should they wish to. So, if someone says no then that means no but if the photographer doesn't ask and the person doesn't challenge there is no illegality though the right to challenge that image remains a possibility.
That's pretty much how I would interpret it.

If it was easily enforceable there would be 10 million Japanese tourists in prison!
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Old Aug 1st 2016, 11:12 pm
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Default Re: Legality of taking photos of people in Spain

Originally Posted by Culebronchris
missile I would agree with that in the sense that if someone came up to you in the street and took your picture. Do you think it's the same if you were watching a bike race pass by and the person taking a picture of the riders caught you in the crowd?
I was responding to the example you gave in post No 1, i.e. taking photos of children at play. I would suggest if the people were incidental to your photo it is OK. For example:
1. If you took a photo of a group of children playing with your child - OK.
2. If you took a photo of a group of children playing - whilst your intention may be innocent, I would still consider that to be unacceptable behaviour.
3. If you took a photo of a friend and I happened to be in the background - OK.
4. If you took a photo of me without first asking my permission - that is rude.
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Old Aug 1st 2016, 11:31 pm
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Default Re: Legality of taking photos of people in Spain

I cannot comment on Spain (nor be bothered to wade through all the legalise). However the law in the UK is quite clear.

There is no law against taking photographs of other people's children, provided you do not harass or harm them.(Information Source: The Home Office)
It's the sort of mad idea that over-zealous managers and teachers are always making up and we get the blame."(Information Source (Health & Safety Executive)
It is not illegal to take photographs or video footage in public places unless it is for criminal or terrorist purposes.
There will be places where you have access as a member of the public, but will have to ask permission or may be prevented altogether. These could include stately homes, museums, churches, shopping malls, railway stations and council / government buildings. You need to check the situation out on a case by case basis.
The taking of photographs of an individual without their consent is a civil matter. Taking a photo of a person where they can expect privacy (inside their home or garden) is likely to be a breach of privacy. (Information Source: Ask the Police)
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Old Aug 2nd 2016, 5:47 am
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Default Re: Legality of taking photos of people in Spain

A professional photographer friend commented as follows on Spanish law "To summarise it is not the photographs you take , it is what you do with them later . Then the legal infringements may occur ".
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Old Aug 2nd 2016, 6:36 am
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Default Re: Legality of taking photos of people in Spain

Originally Posted by rspltd
I cannot comment on Spain (nor be bothered to wade through all the legalise). However the law in the UK is quite clear.

There is no law against taking photographs of other people's children, provided you do not harass or harm them.(Information Source: The Home Office)
It's the sort of mad idea that over-zealous managers and teachers are always making up and we get the blame."(Information Source (Health & Safety Executive)
It is not illegal to take photographs or video footage in public places unless it is for criminal or terrorist purposes.
There will be places where you have access as a member of the public, but will have to ask permission or may be prevented altogether. These could include stately homes, museums, churches, shopping malls, railway stations and council / government buildings. You need to check the situation out on a case by case basis.
The taking of photographs of an individual without their consent is a civil matter. Taking a photo of a person where they can expect privacy (inside their home or garden) is likely to be a breach of privacy. (Information Source: Ask the Police)


Slightly off topic, but I heard that it was EU law regarding CCTV cameras that the reg plate of a car or the face of a person must not be distinguishable when viewed by a camera when fixed on public areas other than a national security/government etc security camera. So that is why there are disclaimers when you go in to a bank or shop to get around the law and you enter knowing that you are agreeing to being observed.
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Old Aug 2nd 2016, 9:34 am
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Default Re: Legality of taking photos of people in Spain

The rules relating to the use of CCTV are here, in English.

https://www.agpd.es/portalwebAGPD/ca...ilancia_en.pdf
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