Is it ok(legal) to photograph/videotape people in public spaces(without their permission) whose faces are partially obscured?

I shot video at a museum during Covid where everyone wore a (Covid)mask. One shot was of a person with his back to me as he looked at a painting. Other people occasionally walked into my frame as I shot video. Obviously, there is no opportunity to get their permission at this point. I would like to publish/post my video on youtube, vimeo, etc.

3 Answers

  • 1 month ago


    You can photograph or video anything you like in any public place.

    I'm not sure of US law, but under English law a "public place" means any place normal people have access to; eg. pretty much anyplace you do not need to be an employee or have a membership or appointment for entry, even if you have to buy a ticket.

    So, "public" specifically includes all normal areas of stores, malls, museums etc.

    Just not employee-only / staff-only parts.

    The owners of such places can set their own rules, and could have a "No photography" rule, which you either obey or get kicked out - eg. as common in cinemas. 

  • 1 month ago

    Taking photographs and video of things that are plainly visible in public spaces is a constitutional right—and that includes transportation facilities, the outside of federal buildings, and police and other government officials carrying out their duties. Unfortunately, INSIDE A MUSEUM is NOT a public space.  The Museum owns the grounds and though they may grant you permission to photograph using a camera, someone could cause a bit of an issue should they wish to.  It would be difficult to prove malice, but the thing to remember here is that it is not really a PUBLIC space. 

  • 1 month ago

    if you receive any payment whatsoever, anyone who is recognized will be able to successfully sue you for using their likeness.

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