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June 10, 2009 12:05 PM   Subscribe

How can I deal with bloggers uploading pictures of private events?

In my small-ish community, there are a LOT of 'events,' usually a few every day. While tradition calls for most of these to be modest affairs, people have gone crazy with size and cost over the years. Specifically weddings and engagement parties, where anyone with any tangential connection will at least show up for a few minutes of congratulation. I don't have a problem with that, I do it myself occasionally.

While I'm still old-fashioned enough to think that invitations should be personal (and everyone still does make those personal invitations to everyone they might otherwise miss), it's become common for local 'community blogs' to publicize the dates, times, and locations of all of these events. This huge invasion of privacy is often overlooked, but…

Recently, they've 'upgraded.' Now they're posting PICTURES of many events online. Still many people are happy with this, and even consider this (along with the 'notifications' of the events in the first place) a public service. I hate it.

So, what are my options to stop it?

We're talking about various websites, who use many, many, photographers. Should I ever make such a party, there's no way I'd know everyone there, and there's no way I can stop people from entering. I don't like the idea of a sign asking people not to photograph (a. I have no problem with guests taking pictures, posting them to their Flickr and Facebook accounts etc, so the wording would be weird. b. It'd probably be ignored anyway).

I can't know for certain who might be doing this, although a good hint is anybody who's not family or hired carrying an SLR. Should I see learn somebody is taking pictures for one the (I think it's now 5 or 6 different) blogs, what are my rights?

These parties, despite what they've become, are privately paid for, etc, so I imagine I can throw them out. If somebody goes without making a big deal of it, can I insist (read: force) him/her to delete the pictures taken without my authorization? What are my options if they don't want to leave? Don't want to delete the pictures? Can the fact that the time/date/location has been posted online be construed as an invitation? Does the fact that someone is invited help them at all? I don't like the idea of somebody who isn't a guest taking pictures, even if they're not being published – it's still creepy. (Nobody who's there as a guest will be taking more than a few, these bloggers routinely take hundreds.)
posted by mhz to Law & Government (81 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Is it your property they are taking the photographs in? Or of? If not, I don't think there's a lot you can do.
posted by Solomon at 12:08 PM on June 10, 2009


I am confused. You say that you don't want them posting pictures online, but then say you don't have a problem with them being posted to Flickr or Facebook.

Is it a specific site that you are concerned about the pictures appearing on?
posted by odinsdream at 12:11 PM on June 10, 2009


I'm not really understanding the issue here. Make it clear that the party you're managing is by invitation only, and then enforce that concept, if it's that big a deal to you.

Explain that you'd prefer pictures not be published on blogs, but really, that's something that's a bit of a weird request, especially nowadays. Either confiscate cameras up front, or better control who knows about your parties.

I'm not really sure I'm grasping the concept of these events--when I host a party, I publish it to friends I want to attend. It doesn't make it back in the newspaper and become a gala. I don't live in New York and I'm not super-connected, but I'm saying you likely have more control over who shows up and who you allow in than you think, but if it's an open invitation and you're okay allowing those people in, telling them they can't photograph or upload photos is a bit weird.

Further, at least in a public place, you have no reasonable expectation of privacy, so you can't prohibit people from taking photos. On private property, it's a bit more weird, but do you really want to be camera police? That's almost worse than just turning these people away to begin with.

Assign someone as bouncer, put them at the door, and put people on a list.
posted by disillusioned at 12:12 PM on June 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm totally guessing, but are these perhaps the kinds of parties that people wouldn't necessarily want everyone in the world to know they're attending?
posted by box at 12:14 PM on June 10, 2009


I'm also a little confused by a few things

1. how public these invites are. Are they posted on the open web or something a bit more controlled, like facebook?
2. what you want to achieve. You say that a lot of people don't mind this sort of thing ad yet you do. Are you in some position where you have a say in what happens at these events, or are you hoping to have a plan in place when you are the one who is hosting?
3. why there is a division between "guest" and other attendees. Is there a way to limit attendance to guests only?

I can speak to how one place where this was a huge problem -- at Burning Man -- dealt with it when I was there. If you had a camera and you were a member of the media/press you had to "register" your camera. This was, if I recall, free but it had some rules associated with it. I don't remember the specifics of the whole situation but these photographers needed to wear their camera registration tag so that people would be aware when there were press photographers there. Average people taking home snapshots were able to do that. I am not sure how they made the distinction but you can read more here.

Burning Man is/was in a sense an open party where anyone could go (if they purchased a ticket) but restricted which meant some rules could be set. The bigger headache was enforcing those rules and also being in a position where you could be the rule setting person to begin with. I'm unclear what your status is with regards to these parties, but some sort of "hey anyone can come but you have to abide by these rules, sign here" would give you some leeway if there are paparazzi types who are messing up your events with their intrusive photography. This is also why there are not more "Girls Gone Wild at Burning Man" sorts of videos out there.

That said, it's really unclear to me what you want to do here but maybe that will give you an idea of how to get started.
posted by jessamyn at 12:19 PM on June 10, 2009


Rented halls.

I don't have a problem with the guests, i.e. people I've invited, my friends and family, posting pictures to their sites. May seems like a fine line, but it's pretty clear to me. People rarely post entire events on their personal sites. These blogs so.

It's tough to say it's an invitation-only party. Everybody who comes has at least some sort of connections, occasionally even these bloggers (I know at least one of them is a classmate, who, if asked would not bring his ever-present camera).

So it's a private place, and the difference is the private sites, as opposed to those that are 'news' sites, which put these pictures up. We're not talking Gawker here, but the concept is similar, although on a smaller scale, with NO celebrities, even by local standards, involved.

And box, no, these are perfectly normal parties – weddings and the like.
posted by mhz at 12:19 PM on June 10, 2009


There's too much information missing from this question. Why the heck do you care?
posted by rokusan at 12:24 PM on June 10, 2009


Still many people are happy with this, and even consider this (along with the 'notifications' of the events in the first place) a public service. I hate it.

I have a friend who, for personal reasons, doesn't want any photos of herself on line. Her solution has been, simply, to tell people this. When she sees a camera at a party or event she's at, she'll go up to the person and say "Hey, I just wanted to let you know that its important to me not to have any photos of me posted on-line. Thanks!"

This direct approach has been incredibly sucessful, to the point where if I or any of fifty other people were to run across a photo of her on-line (say, in someone's Flickr Album) we'll contact the photographer and say "I'm sure you didn't know, but F really, really doesn't want any photos of herself posted online. Would you be willing to take this photo down?" I've yet to run across anyone who has been unwilling to abide by this request.

So, your solution is to let other people be happy with it, but get the word out that, for unspecified personal reasons, it just doesn't work for you. You'll be surprised how well it will work.
posted by anastasiav at 12:24 PM on June 10, 2009


jessamyn,

As far as I'm concerned, should I make a party like this, and friends and family have, they're private. I'll invite whomever I want there. However, I'll do it knowing many more will show, and I'm happy about that. This isn't a money issue – most will come in for less than 10 minutes, many will not even sit down.

I tried to clearly define the line where I'm ok with it. Every wedding I've been to has had lots of people with their cameras snapping away for facebook and their memories. That's cool. But then there's a few who are almost invariably there primarily for the pictures, not for the celebration (whatever it is).

I think that the fact these very same websites 'invite' everybody, they feel it's open. I hate that.

I don't want to do anything involving registering, and I think the most likely thing would be me finding someone taking pictures (only), and me asking them not to post them online. Most, I imagine, would comply. I want to know what my options are if they refuse (if they leave immediately), or even if they agree, but don't want to delete the pictures they've already taken.
posted by mhz at 12:25 PM on June 10, 2009


rokusan, that's really not the issue here. I care, I want to stop it.

anasasiav, I've actually done that to a degree. But it's stopped bothering me. I have a facebook account, and when a friend posts and tags a picture of me, I can live with it.

But this is about websites that I have no connection with coming to my parties and doing it. I have, in the past, been photographed at these parties, and pictures have gone online. Such is life. But I'd like to think I have more control when I'm renting the hall and paying for the party.
posted by mhz at 12:28 PM on June 10, 2009


Mhz, as you can see from the responses, we don't really understand what the concern is.

Likely there is very little you can do to assuage your concern other than to stop inviting those people who you think are invading your privacy to these events, or ask people at the events who take pictures not to post them online.

Beyond that I don't really think there's anything you can do and no one here will have the magic bullet that will solve your "problem."

Honestly, it sounds like you have a bit of a control problem.
posted by dfriedman at 12:31 PM on June 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I tried to clearly define the line where I'm ok with it. Every wedding I've been to has had lots of people with their cameras snapping away for facebook and their memories. That's cool. But then there's a few who are almost invariably there primarily for the pictures, not for the celebration (whatever it is).

How do you know?
posted by symbollocks at 12:31 PM on June 10, 2009


If it's someone else's wedding or event, it seems a little out of bounds to police it. You do have a perfect right to decline being photographed yourself; anastasiav has good advice.

It seems a little weird, though, I admit, that they'd even want the photos. I have absolutely no interest in looking at hundreds of photos of your non-celebrity best friend's wedding on a Gawker-esque site. What audience are they aiming for, here?
posted by Juliet Banana at 12:34 PM on June 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


It seems like the bigger question is "how do I prevent my private party from being posted as an event in a community paper/blog/forum, etc.?"

If you are hosting a private party, how are these public events lists getting the dates and times of your event?
posted by onhazier at 12:37 PM on June 10, 2009


dfriedman,

I'm not going to argue whether I have a control problem. And I know that asking people not to post pictures will sometimes work. What I want to know is about the times someone argues. If somebody tells me 'I can post pictures of this event, you can't stop me,' what can I tell them?

Jessamyn's link to the Burning Man's policies seemed reasonable to me. If I know that the person is going to use them on their own sites (which, I suppose, can be considered commercial sites because they're for-profit), surely I can tell them not to post pictures! I just want a way to articulate my argument.


symbollocks,

No real connection to anybody there, then posts pictures to a commercial site.
posted by mhz at 12:39 PM on June 10, 2009


You will need to provide these specifics:

1. Why you are concerned - this has not been made clear because all of the normal reasons for being concerned (i.e., personal privacy, celebrity status, political associations, security, etc.) have been dismissed already.

2. What these "news" websites are, at least in a general sense. I don't understand: "...these very same websites 'invite' everybody, they feel it's open. I hate that."

There are websites that invite people to other people's parties? Really? Your question's title mentions "Public Service" - is this related to the sites that are posting the pictures? Are these sites performing (or at least see themselves as performing) a type of citizen journalism? If so, are your parties or the happenings at them something that could be considered a public concern?

2A. Why these sites are different than Flickr or Facebook - because both Flickr and Facebook are just as much "on the internet" as these other sites. What specifically is it about these "other sites" that concerns you?
posted by odinsdream at 12:39 PM on June 10, 2009


Juliet Banana,

I've already accepted this for others' parties. I'm talking about if I make my own.

The audience? I dunno, voyeurs? I don't care what they're aiming for, they're clearly doing it.

onhazier, they're not secrets. So even if they weren't posted online, people who are not directly invited would show. I've already said that this is NOT the problem.
posted by mhz at 12:43 PM on June 10, 2009


On point 2, I just realized that perhaps there is some new type of commercial venture that trawls facebook for event dates and times, then assigns its employees to pose as guests, take photos, and hand out cards inviting other "real" guests to visit their site later and purchase event photos.

This is just off the top of my head - but if such a thing exists, is that what's going on?
posted by odinsdream at 12:45 PM on June 10, 2009


You're being tremendously evasive with answering the questions posed to you - People wouldn't be asking if it weren't relevant.

Are you having a problem with people taking pictures, despite having no interest in the event, and posting them online? Or... What?

I mean, really, I don't understand what type of person is publishing what type of photo on what type of website, no less what's upsetting you about it.

Especially if it's not even your own event. I think what I'll have to do is give you an answer based on what you've been able to tell us:

If you don't like the nature of these events, or the way they wind up online, and (nearly) everyone else approves of the nature of these events, and the way they end up online, your only recourse is to not go.
posted by Rendus at 12:48 PM on June 10, 2009


The best you can do is to restrict entrance. Hire a doorman or be the doorman and check invites with a list, if need be. And if you know who the offenders are then put put them on a list to block at the door. Beyond that there is not much more that you can do. If you want control, you have first, be in a position of control and second must have a secure system of access. If money is not a concern then hiring someone to enforce access is pretty easy to do.
posted by JJ86 at 12:49 PM on June 10, 2009


odinsdream,

1. For the purposes of this question, I don't think I really need a reason. But, the same way many events can draw the line between a personal use photographer and a press photographer, I've no problem with guests' personal pictures, but I don't like bloggers who are there to photoblog about it.

2. Really? They're just local sites with gossip, legitimate news, and largely a huge waste of time. However, they're profitable enough for there to be more than one, so clearly they get readers. So yes, they may feel like it's citizen journalism, and feel that because so many people here know so many others, that they're providing a service.

2a. This goes back to 1, where I don't think I need a reason for the purposes of this question. But if it helps, it feels creepy that some random person is taking pictures of my private event for personal gain.
posted by mhz at 12:50 PM on June 10, 2009


You clearly are unwilling to limit attendance to invited guests, or impose a blanket photography policy. This makes your goals much harder to achieve.

If you're organizing an event, you can ask anyone to leave or deny them admission. You can ask anyone to abide by whatever photography rules you want to impose.

If you know who's taking pictures for public blogs, then deny them admission or demand they leave their cameras at home. If you don't, then you'll have to figure it out.

You could post a sign by the door saying that photography for personal purposes is OK, but not for public distribution. There are two problems with this: 1. it will be ignored; 2. the line between private and public is blurry at best these days. Even if you successfully limited photography, the publishers of those blogs who you want to exclude probably could and would gank the pictures taken for private purposes that are posted to flickr and facebook, leaving you in an even more problematic position: then you really do need to impose a stricter policy on photos and apply it to everyone.

Another way to approach it is to demand that anyone taking a picture have the explicit consent of the people in the picture. This is not easy to police, but if everyone knows that is the policy, and if they have their photo taken without consent, they can report it to you and you can take appropriate measures. Still another is to allow photography in one spot, but not elsewhere.
posted by adamrice at 12:50 PM on June 10, 2009


Why these sites are different than Flickr or Facebook - because both Flickr and Facebook are just as much "on the internet" as these other sites.

Well, Facebook is a bit more private than your garden-variety internet content, since it has a whole set of rules about who's allowed to see what stuff on their site.

But with Flickr, yeah, how is that different from a blog? They're both just: "here's some photo someone posted on the web, possibly with text." In fact, Flickr is more popular than most blogs, and Flickr pages often show up prominently in Google searches.

Saying that your motivation is "really not the issue here" is a little weird. Your motivation could quite possibly be relevant to dealing with the problem. If you can't even explain your motivation to us neutral bystanders, how are you going to be able to persuade the people who actually want to take/post the photos?
posted by Jaltcoh at 12:51 PM on June 10, 2009


I've no problem with guests' personal pictures, but I don't like bloggers who are there to photoblog about it.

Okay, all other issues aside, this is a glaring mistake in your logic. There is no functional difference between a photoblog and a guest's Flickr page. Can you highlight your specific concerns on this exact point?
posted by odinsdream at 12:52 PM on June 10, 2009


I have, in the past, been photographed at these parties, and pictures have gone online. Such is life.

Yes, because you cannot control access to a party that is not yours. Your only realistic option, as you already know, is to not attend functions if you do not want photographs of you to be potentially photographed.

But I'd like to think I have more control when I'm renting the hall and paying for the party.

You do. It's just that you've already explored and rejected the options here. You can:

a) Restrict attendance only to people whom you have specifically invited, and thus whom you do not mind taking and publishing photographs;

b) Open attendence to everyone, and post "please do not publish photographs without permission" signs.

c) Open attendence and police the people taking photos.

I want to know what my options are if they refuse (if they leave immediately), or even if they agree, but don't want to delete the pictures they've already taken.

You cannot ask them to delete the photos; the photos, once taken, are not your property even if they are taken on your property. You can ask them not to publish the photos, but I do not believe you have a legal ground for trying to enforce that.

Perversely, I would suggest you read more about Model Releases from the excellent Dan Heller. This will help you understand what they are, why you want to be able to require them, and why you cannot.

IANAL and your reading may be different than my cursory refresher skimming.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:53 PM on June 10, 2009


It took way too long for me to figure out exactly what you're complaining about. So you're upset that you're throwing semi-public events and seeing said events posted onto blogs like, say racked.com or gothamist.com or whatever? You don't want to restrict who is allowed to come to your non-private events but you do want to control how it's displayed online. Unless you're willing to control the guest list, you need to be more proactive in how you allow photography to be done at your events.

Post a sign at the front of the door that says Photography is only allowed for non-commercial, personal purposes and may not be published without your permission or something along those lines. Make the sign nice and big. On your invitations, write this information in big letters. When you see someone taking pictures at your event and you know that person is from a blog or whatnot, throw them out. Hire bouncers. Treat your events like a concert venue or like how a Broadway Theater doesn't allow photography inside the theater. Toss these people out when you see them. And when said images are posted online, have a lawyer send them a cease-and-desist letter. If they complain, point to the fact that you have policies posted at the entrance and they violated those polices.

If you are unwilling to clamp down in this manner, and unwilling to clamp down on the guest list, then you will need to embrace the fact that your events will be posted to places that you don't control and live with it. Or else buddy up with the blogs, become their best friends, and do deals where some of your events are photographed while most are not. Carrot, stick, accept, or stop throwing these events.
posted by Stynxno at 12:55 PM on June 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Rendus, I've tried to be clear, multiple times.

I'm not a big fan of the idea, but I've accepted the fact that everywhere anybody goes, anything anybody does, is liable to end up where anybody else can see it.

I'm referring to what I can do to stop this at my private parties.

I have a real problem with somebody whom I have not invited showing up my event, and posting pictures of said event online for anybody to see.


JJ86, because of the nature of these events, that's impossible.


I'm interested in knowing my rights if somebody who has come to a party uninvited has already taken pictures. I'd like to think that I can have them removed for whatever reason (which is what I understood from other questions), I want to know about the pictures they've taken while there.
posted by mhz at 12:55 PM on June 10, 2009


I have a real problem with somebody whom I have not invited showing up my event, and posting pictures of said event online for anybody to see.

Your problem can be solved, then, by restricting access to your event to those that were invited and their guests. There is no other option.
posted by odinsdream at 12:59 PM on June 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


We've finally gotten a problem out of you, so you can be provided with the answer.

If you want a legal answer, ask a lawyer in your jurisdiction.

If you want a social answer, the answer will depend on how aggressive you are willing to get about it. Police your party, look for people with cameras, ask them to leave. Send invitations, make people present them at the door, ensure there's only one way in.

Provide and enforce security at your party, and you'll get what you want. But you'll also eventually get people to not show up.
posted by Rendus at 1:01 PM on June 10, 2009


dfriedman, troll away :-)

odinsdream, it's a subtle line, but guests are there first and foremost for the party and themselves. They may take pictures, but they're not there for that. The uninvited bloggers are there for their blogs. Yes, motivation matters to me.

DarlingBri & Stynxno thank you. Answers!

So I have no rights to force them to delete anything (I suppose the police/DHS/TSA retained that exclusively). I can't even stop them from publishing. I can only even have a C&D (which will only get it taken down, not stop it in the first place) if I clearly post these policies.

Because I don't want to do that, I'll have to rely on people being nice. What has the world come to?

Am I understanding it correctly?
posted by mhz at 1:03 PM on June 10, 2009


I'm referring to what I can do to stop this at my private parties.

There's a nomenclature issue here. There not private parties if the public is allowed to attend. They're also not private parties if you don't treat them like private parties by being willing to keep them private. I understand your general concerns, I think, but there still seems to be a disconnect between what you want to have happen and the work you want to do to make sure that this happens.

To your general question: How can I deal with bloggers uploading pictures of private events?

You basically can't unless you're willing to have and enforce rules about this sort of activity or have other people have and enforce rules for you.

I'm aware that you think you're being clear, but I'd like to suggest to you that your experiences may be far enough away form the typical MeFites experiendces in this arena that you may need to be clearer.
posted by jessamyn at 1:03 PM on June 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


You really have three choices:

1. Guest list only. Bouncer at the door chacking names. You can give all of your guests a +1 or +2 if you don't want to be super restrictive but don't want randoms.

2. Open admission, with a no photographs policy. You could designate a couple of "official" photographers if you want but make it clear that no one else is allowed to take photos.

3. If you are unwilling to either restrict entry to these events or have a clear "no photos" policy, your only other option is just to accept the facts that these photos may end up on blogs and try not to let it bother you.

Personally, I think the Guest List option is the best way to address your concerns.
posted by emd3737 at 1:10 PM on June 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I would kick out anyone carrying an SLR or other hefty camera unless it's a family member or close friend (presumably these people aren't causing your problem, and if they are, presumably you can talk to them.) You can always keep a guest list, if you want to. It sounds like you don't want to do that, though.

If you want legal advice on whether you can prohibit photography at these (somewhat) private events, and especially if you want legal advice on whether you have the right to insist that photos from these events be taken off of people's blogs, you should consult a lawyer in your jurisdiction. If you are uncertain about what sort of lawyer you need, call the bar association in your state and ask how to get in touch with the lawyer referral service.

(By the way, the more information you provide up front in a question, the better answers you will get. Your tone in the question and all your follow-ups was so rude I almost didn't answer.)
posted by Happydaz at 1:13 PM on June 10, 2009


Once someone takes a photo, even if they take it in a space you own or rent, the photo is their property. They can keep it, publish it, or use it to make tiny voodoo dolls of the people depicted if they want to. A person who is the subject of the photo *may* have a legal claim if the photographer tries to sell the photo, but you as the event host have no right to make demands about the disposition of photos taken of other people at your event. You cannot demand that they delete the photos or that they refrain from posting them online.

In other words, you do not have the rights you're hoping to claim.

If you don't want photos of your events posted online, your only recourse is to prevent such photos from being taken in the first place. You can do that in the manner suggested by several posters above, whom you have dismissed.

(IANAL)
posted by decathecting at 1:15 PM on June 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


So I have no rights to force them to delete anything (I suppose the police/DHS/TSA retained that exclusively

They don't have those rights, they just tell people they do. There is a big difference. This is a derail of your own question.

I'll have to rely on people being nice. What has the world come to?

Well, when you have an unclear request you do not wish to transmit or enforce, what else can you do?
posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist at 1:18 PM on June 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


If they're your private parties, and you know who the people are who are taking photos for the offending sites, you have every right to deny them entrance. If you can't post a doorman or bouncer, follow the advice above re: signage, then kick the offenders out of the party as soon as you see them and lawyer up if the pictures show up on the sites.
posted by sjuhawk31 at 1:22 PM on June 10, 2009


Forget the desire not to have pictures. I'm just baffled at the whole premise:
In my small-ish community, there are a LOT of 'events,' usually a few every day. ... Specifically weddings and engagement parties, where anyone with any tangential connection will at least show up for a few minutes of congratulation.
Zuh? I've never heard of such a thing. I can't even conceive of this. Let me get this straight: What we have here is a "small-ish" community with multiple weddings and engagement parties EVERY day, which people who barely know the celebrants will show up to, because the information about these events is published on "community blogs." Few or none of these events are "invite-only," and presumably these peripatetic well-wishers are showing up in street clothes for what are normally fancy events (unless they are getting dressed up on a Tuesday afternoon to spend just ten minutes at one of these things), and during their brief stays at these parties, they snap tons of photos and then post them to their blogs.

Forgive me, but this makes zero sense. The only way I can make any sense of this is if you turn "small-ish community" into "college campus," turn "weddings and engagement parties" into "dorm parties and keggers," turn "every day" into "weekends," and turn "community blogs" into "Facebook." Then the concern becomes, "I don't want pictures of me boozing/toking showing up on the Internets." That at least makes more sense.

Anyone with me on this "translation"?
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 1:22 PM on June 10, 2009 [14 favorites]


I'm aware that you think you're being clear, but I'd like to suggest to you that your experiences may be far enough away form the typical MeFites experiendces in this arena that you may need to be clearer.

What jessamyn said. I truly have no idea what these websites are you're referring to or what kind of place you live where everybody feels comfortable crashing other peoples weddings, birthdays, etc, let alone where someone would post information about these events on a website to encourage crashing. I don't know if this is because of your location, nationality, culture, ethnicity, economic status, social class, or celebrity status, but this just isn't something that happens in the world I live in.

That said, as others have said, for the immediate situation you need bouncers at the door and probably plainclothes security to quietly ask people to leave who are breaking your rules.

Are you in the US? Your posting history suggests you might be in NYC, or you might be in Australia. Freedom of the press may be an issue if these bloggers can make a persuasive case that they are covering news. You will need a lawyer to assist you in removing any announcements of your parties from these websites and removing any pictures after the fact if all preventative matters fail. Really, probably all of the measures you can take totally depend on your local legal system, so telling us where you are might be helpful.
posted by hydropsyche at 1:27 PM on June 10, 2009


Happydaz

I didn't mean to be rude or dismissive. I was trying to get to one point. I did post a fair amount of information in my original post. I would have posted more had I known the variables I was missing.

I've reread my original question, and I'd like to think it's pretty clear in that my main concern was what to do AFTER I'd already found someone taking pictures.

I wrote off what would be the first bunch of answers before even getting to my question – these events, for various reasons, can't have the guest lists, rules and/or bouncers that I knew many would suggest. Also, many appeared to think I was referring to others' events, so I repeated, a few times, that I was referring to a hypothetical event I would make. The only people who I may have been a bit abrupt with both asked why I care. I told them the truth – it doesn't matter.
posted by mhz at 1:29 PM on June 10, 2009


I have no rights to force them to delete anything (I suppose the police/DHS/TSA retained that exclusively).

The police, DHS, and TSA also have no legal right to force people to delete their photos.

Like you, a number of officers and security guards are confused about this.
posted by ook at 1:30 PM on June 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


So I have no rights to force them to delete anything (I suppose the police/DHS/TSA retained that exclusively).

Even they can't do that legally, except in very specific circumstances. Your only option, given your bizarre scenario, is to restrict attendance.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:32 PM on June 10, 2009


Antidisestablishmentarianist, yes, a derail. Forget it.

My 'what has the world come to' was sarcastic. My first option would always be to ask nicely. I just wanted to know if I have any other options if that doesn't work.

Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell & hydropsyche

I don't doubt it's a bit confusing and far and away from a typical situation. It's a cultural thing. Conrad, the translation doesn't really work :-)
posted by mhz at 1:35 PM on June 10, 2009


Anyone with me on this "translation"?

I certainly am. I also have literally no way to conceive of the situation as it's been described, which is why I asked for clarification that I have yet to receive. That is of course because I'm granting mhz the benefit of the doubt that they are honestly describing the situation.

mhz: If you have changed any details about this situation along the lines of what Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell has mentioned, please at least let us know so that we can understand your question. It harms your chances of getting reasonable answers if you're "just changing stuff that doesn't matter anyway" in your question.
posted by odinsdream at 1:36 PM on June 10, 2009


Crap. That (poor) bit of sarcastic commentary on the police/DHS/TSA was noticed by more people than I expected. I know they don't have that right.
posted by mhz at 1:37 PM on June 10, 2009


I would be happy enough if you could further clarify what you meant by the title of your question: "I don't need your stinkin public service!"

What does public service refer to in this context?
posted by odinsdream at 1:38 PM on June 10, 2009


mhz posted: JJ86, because of the nature of these events, that's impossible.

I'm interested in knowing my rights if somebody who has come to a party uninvited has already taken pictures. I'd like to think that I can have them removed for whatever reason (which is what I understood from other questions), I want to know about the pictures they've taken while there.


Yeah, you can go through a tedious process of C&D and threats of lawyers but in that case the damage is done. Why go through that extra hassle when it would be so much easier to prevent access to those individuals? The nature of events can be changed easily to limit access. Living in the big city, I have been to plenty of events and locales that have that type of restriction. In smaller communities it is actually easier because you know who the culprits are.
posted by JJ86 at 1:39 PM on June 10, 2009


odinsdream, my situation is exactly as I've described it. You'd have to be from the specific subculture I'm in to understand how regular events can become as open as I've described. But there are no euphemisms, no substitutions.
posted by mhz at 1:39 PM on June 10, 2009


odinsdream, the fact that, as I mentioned, some people like this. They probably consider it a service. I'm not really clear on that myself… but they're doing it.
posted by mhz at 1:41 PM on June 10, 2009


It's a cultural thing. Conrad, the translation doesn't really work

If you say so. However, your past questions indicate you live in New York City. I've lived here my entire life. While I don't presume to know all there is to know about every culture that has made a home in this wonderful town, I feel pretty well-versed in many of its folkways. So try me. Try all of us, in fact - this is MetaFilter, after all... there are a lot of very knowledgeable and understanding people here.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 1:42 PM on June 10, 2009


After you would find someone taking pictures, you ask them to leave. It is a private party and once they are told to go, they have to go or you can have them removed, by police, or security if you retained any. Don't try to force them out yourselves, that could turn into a civil or criminal assault charge against you. IANAL.

I don't think you have any right to touch their camera if they refuse you access. Go ahead and demand they delete everything, but they don't have to comply. You can, however, retain a lawyer and attempt to get an injunction preventing them from publishing any pictures of your party. Would this work? I have no idea, we have a lot of laws that favor the press, so talk to a lawyer if this happens, they would know what you can and cannot do. I am sure it will cost you, as New York is expensive. A strongly worded letter on legal stationary would probably scare them off from publishing, this might cost $500-1500 I'd guess, depending on the lawyer.
posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist at 1:44 PM on June 10, 2009


Okay, I think we may have a little hint here. Is this in the Hasidic community, or perhaps another Orthodox community? This actually would make the idea of frequent weddings, engagement parties, aufrufs, kaballat panim, hakhnassat kallahs, tishes and the like a lot more plausible. And given what I know about such communities, the idea of the extended community coming in to offer well-wishes also makes a lot of sense.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 1:47 PM on June 10, 2009


That's about it. Ironic that that's what gave it away – I asked that question for a friend, and I hadn't so much as heard of a bialy till that day!
posted by mhz at 1:50 PM on June 10, 2009


to try to draw a line between people taking pictures and posting them on flickr and people taking pictures and posting them on "blogs" you are trying to enforce thought crime. you say that intent matters to you - unfortunately, it matters less in the situation you're trying to control. you also say many times that these are people who you deem have no connection to anything going on at the event, but you also say a classmate is one of the photographers (who would stop if you asked - have you tried asking?). people are confused because a lot of your answers just don't add up. also, you come off as talking about weddings and the like and then you start talking about particular subcultures, further muddying the waters you're trying to clear.

ok - lets try this. in your hypothetical party you can ask everyone with a camera to not post pictures on for profit blogs (of course, if someone posts them to flickr then what stops the blogs from taking them from there or linking back to them from there?). that's about it.

now, in the real world with the parties you are discussing (the ones run by other people) - you have no control or say in what pictures people take or post, especially if many of the people participating enjoy the pictures being posted.

the answer you don't want to hear, but the answer nonetheless, is restrict your guest list, make a no camera policy, ask people to stop taking pictures, or get over it.

or you could do what the chinese did and have a group of guests with umbrellas.
posted by nadawi at 1:55 PM on June 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


oy vey. This question could have been a little simpler if that was spelled out in the OP.
posted by JJ86 at 1:56 PM on June 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


So I have no rights to force them to delete anything (I suppose the police/DHS/TSA retained that exclusively). I can't even stop them from publishing.

The police, DHS and TSA do not have that right. If they do not, you certainly do not.

I can only even have a C&D (which will only get it taken down, not stop it in the first place) if I clearly post these policies.

I do not believe this would be effective because I do not believe the policy posted is legally enforeable. It would depend on a variety of factors and you would really need to see a local attorney to clarify.

Because I don't want to do that, I'll have to rely on people being nice. What has the world come to?

The world is as it always has been. There are plenty of behaviours many of us would consider rude and ill-mannered that are perfectly within the bounds of the law.

Honestly, this really would have been a lot simpler if you had said "Hasidic community" to begin with. There are probably other ways to achieve what you want to achieve here, but this crucial piece of info has come very late in the game now.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:57 PM on June 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Srsly? Bialys are not common among Hassidic/Orthodox communities in Brooklyn? Well, who knew!

Anyhow, I think you can see that your concerns about your culture "not translating" are misplaced. My father, a psychiatrist, treated many Hassidim over the years - even though he is not observant - because he speaks Yiddish. He was often invited to such events, and even took me with him to a wedding one time when I was young. It was a huge affair, and I don't doubt that many people barely knew the bride and groom. I'm sure, like we did, plenty of people probably didn't even stay all that long.

So, I can see why you can't have guest lists. And I can see why it would be very hard to police camera usage. But these aren't raging keggers... so what's the issue with the photos getting posted online? Are people gossipping? "Oh, Yoni went to Moishe's wedding but couldn't be bothered to stop by Mendel's?"
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 1:57 PM on June 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I was going to ask if it is cultural that others 'just show up', but your post suggests otherwise ("While I'm still old-fashioned enough to think that invitations should be personal") If so, can you get the community together to support you? Especially the elders or the most established members of the cultural hierarchy? Make it a 'known' thing in your small community that the pictures for profit are not appreciated. Then, when people do start taking photos, you have more support when asking them to stop.
posted by Vaike at 1:58 PM on June 10, 2009


You keep saying "private event" and yet you're letting in people who weren't invited. Thus, they're not private. If people are allowed in who were not invited, the event is public. Stop kidding yourself on this one. Either make it private and limit who attends or call it what it really is: a public event.
posted by onhazier at 2:00 PM on June 10, 2009


Vaike - the problem here is that other people seem to enjoy that the pictures get posted.
posted by nadawi at 2:08 PM on June 10, 2009


You keep saying "private event" and yet you're letting in people who weren't invited. Thus, they're not private. If people are allowed in who were not invited, the event is public. Stop kidding yourself on this one. Either make it private and limit who attends or call it what it really is: a public event.

No. That's exactly why the cultural context clue that was missing in the OP is so crucial. It isn't a public event, but it is open beyond the invitation list to the community because that is the tradition of the Hasidim.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:11 PM on June 10, 2009


I think this represents a reasonably accurate paraphrase of what the OP was probably trying to get at:
I live in a Hasidic community in Brooklyn. Weddings and engagement parties here are frequent - people tend to have lots of kids, and folks marry young (compared to US averages). We send out invitations, but because of community norms, there really are no guest lists for such events. People are expected to welcome just about the entire community to their parties, and conversely, there's social pressure to attend as many as possible.

In the past, news of these events would spread by word-of-mouth. But with the rise of the Internet, various community sites publish the details of just about every party. More people know about these events, so more people go, and thus there is also pressure to make every party bigger and more extravagant than the last.

Something else has also changed: People are now snapping tons of photos with their digital cameras at every event - even parties where they barely know the bride & groom, and where they only stop in for a few minutes. Then, people upload these photos to the same community sites which publicize information about the parties to begin with.

I might be throwing my own such party soon, and I'd rather not see photos get plastered all over the Internet. Is there any way I can stop people from taking photos at my event? Or prevent websites from displaying them?
I don't know why the OP couldn't just come out with all of this, but in the end, it doesn't make much of a difference. I can't see any reasonable way in which to prevent this practice - except to have the party on Shabbos.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 2:20 PM on June 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


JJ86, DarlingBri

I wanted to know what my options were even if it weren't in my community. By posting that it's in a small Jewish subculture, I felt that people would say 'just abide by whatever norms you have.'

Conrad, I meant that your 'translations' have different, negative, connotations. We've all heard of people who've had work-related problems because pictures wherein they're drunk surfaced. These parties are not keggers, or anything where there would be that kind of problem.
posted by mhz at 2:21 PM on June 10, 2009


It sounds like there are a few known blogs that routinely post these photos. Can you and ask that they please not send a photographer or post any photos of your party that they receive? I think a simple request may actually take you farther than any kind of forceful action (and if there are as many parties as you state, no one is going to freak out because one didn't get posted, if they do, the blog can say that it was per mhz's request, etc.).

You could put up a sign too, but if there's just a few websites that you don't want your photo on, it's easier to go direct in advance than to hope a sign will deter them on the day of.
posted by ml98tu at 2:27 PM on June 10, 2009


Conrad, there are a few significant things.

(I'm not sure how the kids and marrying young affect it, btw)

For weddings, there is no social pressure, nor any expectation, for those not invited to show. Most of my question (although I didn't specify) centers around engagements (and this comes to mind because I went to a friend's last week).

Another thing, and it's barely mentioned, in the past, there was no 'word-of-mouth' spreading. The parties were SMALL. I think the internet's effect has been to cause more, uninvited, people to show, thus making bigger parties. These community blogs are part of this problem.

Also, there blogs are not MetaFilter style. They are small operations, with a staff. You don't have just 'people' uploading photos, which differentiates it from Facebook. There is a difference, both in my view and any way of stopping, between many peoples' semi-private Facebook/Flickr, and a few individuals' for-profit websites.
posted by mhz at 2:28 PM on June 10, 2009


ml98tu,

There's no question that I'd try that. My question, from the beginning, has been what to do if that doesn't work.
posted by mhz at 2:30 PM on June 10, 2009


How often do you throw weddings that this is a problem for you? Are you really some sort of joan rivers/larry king hybrid, getting re-married every two weeks? If it's not your party, you ARE a control freak, probably annoying the person whose party it is.
posted by nomisxid at 2:35 PM on June 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


nomisxid,

I've never thrown any parties that would qualify for this question in my life. It's a pet peeve of mine, and I'd like to know what I CAN do when/if I ever make such a party.
posted by mhz at 2:36 PM on June 10, 2009


Alright, I understand what you meant about my earlier "translation," which I acknowledge was obviously wrong.

As for my summation of your question, sorry I wasn't entirely right about the social pressure aspects - though obviously something is inspiring more people to show up at these events uninvited. Simply having easier access to the information probably is not the only reason.

The issue still is - and I think it would help us answer your question - why are you so concerned about photos of your own engagement party not showing up on these websites?
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 2:40 PM on June 10, 2009


I'd like to know what I CAN do when/if I ever make such a party.

It's been answered many times in the thread, so I'm not sure why you keep asking: you can ask them politely to stop, or you can grin and bear it.
posted by ook at 2:47 PM on June 10, 2009


An event is an event, I suppose. I don't feel there's a pressure aspect to it, but because we're pretty close knit, it's always a chance to catch up with friends and the like, and not feel too out of place. So some people are more likely to be at every (or any) event than others.

I think it's creepy, really. What is at its core a private event, for one to celebrate with family and friends, being publicized for profit by someone else. It just annoys me.
posted by mhz at 2:48 PM on June 10, 2009


Ook is right - and, to be honest, it's incredible frustrating that (1) you didn't realize that yourself, and (2) that you still don't seem to be hearing it. You're holding out hope for an answer that simply doesn't exist.
posted by brozek at 2:49 PM on June 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


ook, I've already marked this answered. I know. I'm just explaining for those who are still trying to decipher my question.

I can change it to 'I wanted to know,' but I'm always open to new suggestions.
posted by mhz at 2:50 PM on June 10, 2009


brozek, please notice the a) marked best answers are the ones that say that that's my only option, as well as my responses accepting that, and b) the resolved tag.
posted by mhz at 2:50 PM on June 10, 2009


Alright, now that we actually know what's going on, here is my suggestion:

Make it physically unlikely that the problem photographers would show up by holding your event at a more remote location.
posted by odinsdream at 2:57 PM on June 10, 2009


Oh. Papparazzi.

You can, if Hollywood is any guide, do one of three things: 1) Throw a fit at the operator of any camera pointed your way, which will result in a photo of you snarling; 2) Put on a show; or 3) Put on a pleasant face, go about your business and don't engage or encourage them.

Or just prohibit cameras at your event, but good luck confiscating everyone's cell phone.
posted by sageleaf at 3:06 PM on June 10, 2009


mhz, have you ever thought about your scenario from the point of view of your guests? i'm probably a pretty good example of someone you might find problematic. mathowie probably also fits this profile, jessamyn too except i don't think she has a slr.

i'm occasionally considered part of the media and have an slr. i upload photos to flickr that i've taken both in personal and professional capacities. i have a comparatively high public profile, internet-wise, and get invited to interesting things so sometimes when i upload photos i've taken in a personal capacity, blogs use those photos—sometimes personal blogs, sometimes commercial blogs.

if i were invited to one of your parties as a private individual, as a relative, friend or a friend of a friend, would you tell me 1) i wasn't allowed to take any photos or that 2) i wasn't allowed to upload them to flickr, because of my public profile or what other people have done with my photos? 3) would you then still let other people take photos and upload them online?
posted by lia at 5:08 PM on June 10, 2009


Of course, there is always this or these.
posted by bz at 5:28 PM on June 10, 2009


Interesting. So random community members did not show up prior to the events being listed in community media. From what you indicated, this changed when the events started being listed. Typically, items listed publicly are open to the community. Seems like part of the solution would be keeping your events from publicly being listed. This doesn't make it a secret but it does avoid everyone feeling free to drop in, take some pics and post.
posted by onhazier at 6:30 PM on June 10, 2009


If it's such a relatively closely-knit community, could you not go and talk specifically with the bloggers in question? It seems like a moral thing to comply with the wishes of an event's host. If they don't play along, perhaps you could lay some social pressure on them, but talking with them in person might be enough.
posted by egg drop at 7:53 PM on June 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Here's a technological solution to the problem. A device exists that senses the flash of a camera and immediately projects an image or picture onto the surface that is being photographed. In theory, you could watermark a huge "Please, no photography" onto all the photographs taken at your events (or a slightly more pointed admonition). Of course, this would apply to all the photos including your friends and doesn't actively stop photography, it only ruins the resulting photos. Eventually folks might lose interest.
posted by Jeff Howard at 11:16 PM on June 10, 2009


Yes! Why did it take someone so long to say this?

egg drop > could you not go and talk specifically with the bloggers in question?

This all seems to be originating from whoever is publicizing the events. You need to request them directly that you don't need or want their "pubic service." Preferably before you invite people and they have a chance to announce the date and time. Just say that your family would rather not be put out on the public internet or have the event publicized on the internet. It might be tactful to mention that everyone is still welcome to drop by if that is the case.
posted by Gor-ella at 9:22 AM on June 11, 2009


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