Photographer Prevails In First Amendment vs Privacy Case

August 5th, 2013 by Mickey Osterreicher and tagged , , ,

A New York City judge has ruled in favor of photographer Arne Svenson, who was being sued by the parents of minor children whose photographs appeared in an exhibit entitled “The Neighbors.”  In May of this year, Martha and Matthew Foster filed a complaint alleging among other things that Mr. Svenson had violated New York State’s Civil Rights Law by using images of their children without permission for commercial and promotional purposes. They had also sought  a preliminary injunction to prevent the dissemination, display and sale of those images.

Mr. Svenson, an artist and photographer, had taken the photos with a telephoto lens from his apartment of residents living across the street and included them in an exhibition at a Chelsea Gallery. That showing led to a number of news articles which in turn brought the issue to the attention of the Plaintiffs.

In dismissing the case, Judge Eileen  A. Rakower, denied the Plaintiffs Order to Show Cause for their failure to establish a likelihood of success on the merits. because she found the photos protected by the First Amendment as an art form and shielded from New York’s Civil Rights Law Sections 50 and 51. “Through the photos, Defendant is communicating his thoughts and ideas to the public,” she wrote adding “they serve more than just an advertising or trade purpose because they promote the enjoyment of art in the form of a displayed exhibition.” “The value of artistic expression outweighs any sale that stems from the published photos,” she wrote.

The judge also found that because “art is protected by the First Amendment, any advertising that is undertaken in connection with promoting that art is permitted.”  She further found that “‘The Neighbors’ exhibition is a legitimate news item because cultural attractions are matters of public and consumer interest” and that  news organizations and broadcasters  “are entitled to use Defendant’s photographs of Plaintiffs, which have a direct relationship to the news items – the photos are the focus of the newsworthy content.”

Noting that it might make parents “cringe to think their private lives and images of their small children can find their way into the public forum of an art exhibition, there is no redress under the current laws of the State of New York.”  She then concluded by stating,  “an individual’s right to privacy under the New York Civil Rights Law sections 50 and 51 yield to an artist’s protections under the First Amendment under the circumstances presented here.”

In a comment regarding the decision, Nancy E. Wolff, who helped  represent Mr. Svenson said, “I have always maintained that photos are entitled to First Amendment protection as expressive works, irrespective of whether they are sold or if they are otherwise commercially exploited”

The Plaintiff was represented by Richard G. Menaker, Esq. of Menaker & Herrmann LLP. The Defendant was represented by Nancy E. Wolff, Esq. and Matthew A. Kaplan, Esq. of Cowan, Debaets, Abrahams & Sheppard, LLP


Posted in First Amendment, First Amendment rights, Lawsuit, Photographers' Rights, Privacy, Reasonable Expectation of Privacy, Right of Publicity | 133 Comments »

133 Responses to “Photographer Prevails In First Amendment vs Privacy Case”

  1.   Bill Arnold Says:

    Rights are rarely absolute and I think the judge made a dreadful decision. And then she stretched it beyond any reasonable limits to say the images could be used in advertising and by the media. Common sense used to be prized in judicial decisions. The parents have a genuine grievance. The likelihood is that people will resort to “extra-judicial” approaches to protect their kids. A punch in the nose and smashed telephoto lens would be a good start. And this comes from someone who enjoys street photography.

  2.   Bill Arnold Says:

    Rights are rarely absolute and I think the judge made a dreadful decision. And then she stretched it beyond any reasonable limits to say the images could be used in advertising and by the media. Common sense used to be prized in judicial decisions. The parents have a genuine grievance. The likelihood is that people will resort to extra-judicial approaches to protect their kids. A punch in the nose and smashed telephoto lens would be a good start. And this comes from someone who enjoys street photography.

  3.   John Says:

    This will all change as soon as a judge or some other liberal gets their kids photos published without their permission! Just as with all things liberal… It’s fine with them when it works in their favor but as soon as the tables turn, they cry for blood!

  4.   Bill_Sparkes Says:

    I haven’t seen the images. From the article it would appear the family was in their home across the street. Seems like a gross violation of privacy to me, especially for the children. I enjoy street photography myself, but I wouldn’t do this. I don’t know Mr. Svenson, but I wonder how he would feel if the situation was reversed…

  5.   Duane S. Loya Says:

    I don’t see anything wrong with the photographs from the article and the exhibit. As a matter of fact no ones face is totally exposed in any of the photographs. As long as you are in plain view or plain site you can be photographed. What think is funny is that the Plaintiff created a lot of this mess and the media did a great job of reporting it because they can with the same first amendment that is protecting the artist. There is nothing gross about these photographs and I feel the Judge has upheld the law. I’m a photo artist myself. People take my photograph when I am out and about all the time and they take it when I am in my hotel room too. This is the great world we live in with the ability to exercise our freedom.

  6.   leinwand kiel Says:

    It’s actually a cool and helpful piece of info. I’m glad that you simply shared this helpful information with us. Please stay us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

  7.   leinwand oldenburg Says:

    I don’t even know the way I finished up here, but I believed this post was good. I do not recognize who you might be but certainly you’re going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already. Cheers!

  8.   beamer mieten bremen Says:

    I do trust all the ideas you’ve offered for your post. They’re really convincing and can certainly work. Nonetheless, the posts are very brief for newbies. Could you please prolong them a little from subsequent time? Thank you for the post.

  9.   beamer mieten schleswig Says:

    I have learn a few good stuff here. Certainly worth bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how so much attempt you put to make the sort of magnificent informative website.

  10.   beamer miete schleswig Says:

    Hi my family member! I want to say that this post is awesome, nice written and include almost all significant infos. I would like to see extra posts like this .

  11.   vps servers Says:

    Thanks for every other great post. Where else may anyone get that type of info in such an ideal approach of writing? I have a presentation subsequent week, and I’m on the look for such info.

  12.   Reed Fulkerson Says:

    I have recently started a website, the information you provide on this web site has helped me tremendously. Thank you for all of your time & work.

  13.   Cletus Monetti Says:

    I truly appreciated this wonderful weblog. Make certain you maintain up the excellent function. All of the greatest !!!!

  14.   Madie Daros Says:


  15.   Lucius Lassalle Says:

    Appreciate it for helping out, excellent info. “In case of dissension, never dare to judge till you’ve heard the other side.” by Euripides.

  16.   Rhett Harison Says:

    Only wanna input that you have a very nice website, I like the design it really stands out.

  17.   Leota Omohundro Says:

    I believe this website has got some really superb info for everybody : D.

  18.   Rory Lightfoot Says:

    with thanks with regard to the particular article i have been on the lookout with regard to this kind of advice on the net for sum time these days and so with thanks

  19.   Simon Chawla Says:

    Immediately a bit of guests will continue across hotel rooms and obtain tied bus excursions, even so, a lot of with all the fancy car applications give your own tour specialist. That just might aid you browse by means of the neighborhood nicely you can an individual

  20.   Clelia Liberto Says:

    You’ll find a handful of intriguing points at some point in this posting but I don

  21.   Verline Barninger Says:

    I like this website very much, Its a really nice position to read and find info. “There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.” by John Andrew Holmes.

  22.   Cherelle Messineo Says:

    Yay google is my world beater assisted me to locate this excellent internet site!.

  23.   Armand Leder Says:


  24.   Alpha Overholser Says:

    Appreciate it for helping out, good info.

  25.   Madelene Bercegeay Says:

    This internet website is often a walk-through rather than the details you wanted about it and didn

  26.   Charlesetta Rowntree Says:

    I got what you intend, thanks for putting up.Woh I am glad to find this website through google. “Food is the most primitive form of comfort.” by Sheila Graham.

  27.   Millard Neborak Says:

    Merely wanna remark that you have a very nice internet site, I love the design it really stands out.

  28.   Adrian Lapilio Says:

    hello there and thank you for your info

  29.   Chadwick Ar Says:

    For that reason times repeatedly pretty much everything, this life undoubtedly is ended up saving just a little bit a lot more. The program in fact saves currently the And also carbon really motivated in to planet during these development activities. dc free mommy blog giveaways family trip home gardening residence power wash baby laundry detergent

  30.   Jospeh Ruthman Says:

    Wow, nice site you have here. I hope you will maintain updating. Regards TJ

  31.   Farah Lamoreaux Says:

    Extremely clear internet site, regards for this post.

  32.   Alia Medel Says:

    I’m still learning from you, while I’m making my way to the top as well. I certainly enjoy reading everything that is written on your website.Keep the tips coming. I liked it!

  33.   Dion Turne Says:

    The good news is that there can be a solution – wildcard certificates. You are able to obtain SSL on as numerous subdomains as you want.

  34.   Yvone Catrambone Says:

    An incredibly fascinating examine, I may possibly not agree completely, but you do make some really legitimate factors.

  35.   Bert Shepley Says:

    I like this website very much, Its a very nice billet to read and find info. “I leave this rule for others when I’m dead, Be always sure you’re right–then go ahead.” by Davy Crockett.

  36.   Brandie Arnesen Says:

    Thanks for the helpful write-up. It is also my belief that mesothelioma cancer has an particularly long latency interval, which means that symptoms of the disease won’t emerge right until 30 to 50 years after the primary exposure to mesothelioma. Pleural mesothelioma, that’s the most common form and influences the area within the lungs, might cause shortness of breath, torso pains, and also a persistent cough, which may lead to coughing up blood vessels.

  37.   Tyron Foeller Says:

    I was just seeking this information for some time. After 6 hours of continuous Googleing, at last I got it in your website. I wonder what’s the lack of Google strategy that don’t rank this type of informative web sites in top of the list. Normally the top web sites are full of garbage.

  38.   Darnell Pieper Says:

    You are my inspiration, I own few web logs and infrequently run out from to post.

  39.   Harrison Hansley Says:

    This really is an excellent article and I entirely realize where your coming from in the third section. Perfect read, I

  40.   Sarina Storck Says:

    I?m certain you will find plenty of added nice instances inside the long term for individuals who study your web site.

  41.   Bethanie Goldfarb Says:

    Hey There. I located your weblog making use of msn. This really is an extremely effectively written write-up. I

  42.   Dean Huffstickler Says:

    I feel that is among the so a lot significant info for me. And i am pleased studying your post. But ought to observation on some normal issues, The web site taste is wonderful, the articles is in fact fantastic. Superb activity, cheers.

  43.   Tomas Neelly Says:

    Wow, incredible blog structure! How lengthy have you ever been blogging for? you produced running a blog look effortless. The full look of your website is great, properly the content material!

  44.   Dewitt Kanevsky Says:

    Pretty correct subdivision. I just came across your website and wanted to tell that I’ve really enjoyed reading your opinions. AnyhowI

  45.   Trinity Dewick Says:

    Thank you for the sensible critique. Me and my neighbor were just preparing to do some research on this. We got a grab a book from our area library but I believe I learned far more clear from this post. I

  46.   Hye Piette Says:

    Hello my friend! I wish to say that this article is amazing, great written and come with almost all significant infos. I’d like to look extra posts like this.

  47.   Shan Bredin Says:


  48.   Denita Lilley Says:

    wonderful issues altogether, you simply won a logo new reader. What could you recommend in regards to your publish that you made some days ago? Any positive?

  49.   Carey Mitchener Says:

    I’ve learn some just right stuff here. Definitely price bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how much effort you set to make this kind of wonderful informative website.

  50.   Chester Edelstein Says:

    I enjoy your writing type, do maintain on writing! I

  51.   Harold Arzaga Says:

    Oh my goodness! an incredible article dude. Thank you Nevertheless I’m experiencing problem with ur rss. Don

  52.   Mora Ehsan Says:

    I dugg some of you post as I thought they were very beneficial very beneficial

  53.   Gene Barbee Says:

    I like the valuable details you give within your articles. I

  54.   Horacio Can Says:

    Some times its a pain inside the ass to read what people wrote but this web site is real user genial !.

  55.   Dorsey Ganser Says:

    Fantastic blog here! Also your website loads up fast! What host are you utilizing? Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my website loaded up as quick as yours lol

  56.   Paris Stupak Says:

    This internet web site is my breathing in, really excellent pattern and perfect content material.

  57.   Filiberto Gerchak Says:

    This really is extremely fascinating, That you are a really skilled blogger. I

  58.   Sanda Szitar Says:

    Hi there just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in your article seem to be running off the screen in Internet explorer. I’m not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to do with browser compatibility but I thought I’d post to let you know. The design and style look great though! Hope you get the issue fixed soon. Thanks

  59.   Hettie Mosher Says:


  60.   Cythia Dibert Says:

    My husband and i have been now more than happy Ervin could complete his analysis from the ideas he discovered through the web pages. It is now and again perplexing just to choose to be releasing ideas which most people have been making money from. And we all consider we need the website owner to appreciate for this. All the explanations you have made, the straightforward site menu, the friendships you can make it easier to engender – it’s many extraordinary, and it’s helping our son and the family recognize that this article is brilliant, which is certainly tremendously pressing. Thanks for all!

  61.   Verena Feliu Says:

    You need to get involved in a contest first of the greatest blogs more than the internet. I

  62.   Robby Vien Says:

    I would like to thnkx for the efforts you’ve put in writing this website. I’m hoping the same high-grade web site post from you in the upcoming as well. In fact your creative writing skills has encouraged me to get my own blog now. Really the blogging is spreading its wings fast. Your write up is a great example of it.

  63.   Wesley Sholl Says:

    Cheap Gucci Handbags Is normally blogengine much greater than wp for reasons unknown? Should be which is turning out to be popluar today.

  64.   Ebony Nydam Says:

    A quite informationrmative post and lots of really honest and forthright comments produced! This certainly got me thinking a lot about this issue so cheers a whole lot for dropping!

  65.   Lanette Elkington Says:

    As I web site possessor I believe the content matter here is rattling wonderful, appreciate it for your hard work. You should keep it up forever! Good Luck.

  66.   Stephaine Rickenbaugh Says:

    Very interesting points you have noted, regards for posting.

  67.   Bruno Saults Says:

    I conceive this internet site contains some real excellent info for everyone. “In this world second thoughts, it seems, are best.” by Euripides.

  68.   Cassandra Fockler Says:
  69.   Karina Farthing Says:

    Utterly written content material, Really enjoyed reading through.

  70.   Gilberto Kincy Says:

    Great beat ! I wish to apprentice while you amend your website, how can i subscribe for a blog site? The account aided me a acceptable deal. I had been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast provided bright clear idea

  71.   Skye Merdian Says:

    I basically could not go away your web site prior to suggesting that I actually enjoyed the standard info an individual supply to your visitors? Is gonna be again continuously to be able to look at new posts

  72.   Jordan Baum Says:

    You have observed very interesting points! ps nice site.

  73.   Ashlyn Cappo Says:

    Wow i like yur internet site. It genuinely helped me with the info i wus looking for. Appcriciate it, will bookmark.

  74.   Lance Rogge Says:

    As soon as I detected this website I went on reddit to share some of the love with them.

  75.   Otis Litchford Says:

    I needed to create you that little bit of note to be able to say thanks a lot as before considering the spectacular pointers you’ve documented on this website. It was so surprisingly open-handed with people like you to offer extensively just what numerous people would have offered for an e book in order to make some bucks for themselves, most notably since you could possibly have done it in case you desired. These guidelines also acted as the great way to realize that most people have the identical dreams just like my very own to know a lot more in respect of this issue. I think there are numerous more pleasurable occasions up front for those who read your website.

  76.   Sid Golding Says:

    Hello. remarkable job. I did not expect this. This is a excellent story. Thanks!

  77.   Hyon Villalouos Says:

    I am glad for writing to make you be aware of what a fine encounter my friend’s girl experienced viewing your web page. She discovered too many pieces, not to mention what it is like to have an amazing helping style to get certain people really easily completely grasp chosen specialized issues. You undoubtedly surpassed visitors’ desires. Thank you for rendering these interesting, healthy, explanatory and as well as unique thoughts on the topic to Tanya.

  78.   Miles Edris Says:

    Good post. I discover something considerably harder on different blogs everyday. It will always be stimulating to read content utilizing their company writers and practice slightly something from their site. I

  79.   Ji Borjon Says:

    Do you mind if I quote a couple of your posts as long as I offer credit and sources back to your web site? My blog is inside the very identical niche as yours and my visitors would genuinely benefit from lots of the information you give here. Please let me know if this okay with you. Thank you!

  80.   Rona Bourgoine Says:

    appreciate the effort you put into acquiring us this information. Was looking on google and located your post randomly.

  81.   Brenda Skorepa Says:

    I agree completely with what you said. Great Stuff. Maintain it going..

  82.   Dean Gugliuzza Says:

    i could only wish that solar panels cost only several hundred dollars, i would really like to fill my roof with solar panels-

  83.   Soraya Yagle Says:

    Thanks for your posting on the traveling industry. I might also like to include that if your senior considering traveling, it truly is absolutely important to buy travel cover for retirees. When traveling, golden-agers are at greatest risk of having a professional medical emergency. Receiving the right insurance policies package for one’s age group can look after your health and provide peace of mind.

  84.   Melda Dallen Says:

    I think this website holds some very excellent information for everyone. “Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever.” by Napoleon.

  85.   Liz Sedanos Says:

    Regards for helping out, great information. “A man will fight harder for his interests than for his rights.” by Napoleon Bonaparte.

  86.   Linwood Perno Says:

    I just discovered your weblog site! You??re wonderful. Nice 1 for this.

  87.   Tyson Embelton Says:

    Have you ever considered about adding a little bit more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is important and all. Nevertheless think about if you added some great visuals or videos to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with pics and video clips, this website could certainly be one of the most beneficial in its niche. Superb blog!

  88.   Arlette Dillen Says:

    Hi there! Do you use Twitter? I

  89.   Adolph Boler Says:

    Thankyou for this wonderful post, I’m glad I noticed this internet web site on yahoo.

  90.   Flor Favuzza Says:

    I’ve been browsing online greater than 3 hours these days, yet I by no means found any attention-grabbing article like yours. It is pretty price sufficient for me. In my view, if all webmasters and bloggers made just right content material as you did, the internet will be a lot more helpful than ever before.

  91.   Dominica Belden Says:

    Hey there, You

  92.   Mui Warstler Says:

    A lot of thanks for your own efforts on this website. My mum enjoys participating in investigation and it’s simple to grasp why. My spouse and i hear all of the lively way you render reliable techniques on your web blog and therefore cause response from website visitors about this subject plus my child has always been being taught a lot. Enjoy the remaining portion of the new year. You are conducting a fabulous job.

  93.   Sergio Lamberth Says:

    I’m curious to uncover out what weblog platform you happen to be making use of? I

  94.   Portia Wynia Says:

    Wow! This can be one particular of the most useful blogs We have ever arrive across on this subject. Actually Fantastic. I’m also an expert in this topic so I can understand your effort.

  95.   Alisha Ardrey Says:

    I am constantly looking online for articles that can help me. Thank you!

  96.   Jamie Soop Says:

    I went over this web site and I believe you have a great deal of outstanding information, saved to favorites (:.

  97.   Ruben Okins Says:

    Quit smoking benefits

  98.   Kasey Jagneaux Says:

    I thought it was going to be some boring old publish, but it truly compensated for my time. I will publish a link to this page on my weblog. I’m confident my visitors will discover that quite helpful

  99.   Dannielle Maloy Says:

    Just desire to say your article is as astounding. The clearness in your post is simply nice and i can assume you’re an expert on this subject. Fine with your permission let me to grab your RSS feed to keep updated with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please keep up the rewarding work.

  100.   Kelvin Helmbrecht Says:

    I enjoy the efforts you have put in this, thank you for all the great articles.

  101.   Venita Longhini Says:

    *There are some fascinating points in time in this article but I don

  102.   Demetrice Kozeliski Says:

    Considerably, the actual publish is normally the finest about this deserving topic. I agree with your results and in addition could excitedly anticipate your potential updates. Merely just stating thank you may not merely you should be sufficient, for that great quality inside your writing. I

  103.   Jonell Perina Says:


  104.   Wilburn Riddle Says:

    There several intriguing points in time in this post but I do not know if every one of them center to heart. It is possible to uncover some validity but I

  105.   Teodoro Biskup Says:


  106.   Cyrus Ruiz Says:

    I wan

  107.   Kisha Malehorn Says:

    I enjoy what you guys are normally up too. This kind of clever function and reporting! Maintain up the very excellent works guys I

  108.   elektryk piaseczno Says:

    Thank you for sharing superb information. Your web position is so cool. I’m impressed by the details that you have resting on this web locate. It reveals how nicely you appreciate this subject. Bookmarked this website page, will extend rearward in support of further articles.

  109.   Habibi Says:

    I really enjoy studying on this web site, it has got excellent articles. “A short saying oft contains much wisdom.” by Sophocles.

  110.   Habibi Says:

    We’re a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community. Your web site offered us with valuable information to work on. You have done a formidable job and our entire community will be grateful to you.

  111.   Habibi Says:

    Perfectly indited content material, thankyou for selective information.

  112.   Williams Salling Says:

    Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive read anything like this before. So nice to search out someone with some original ideas on this subject. realy thank you for beginning this up. this website is one thing that is needed on the web, someone with a little bit originality. helpful job for bringing something new to the web!

  113.   Buster Bellisle Says:

    I was reading through some of your content on this internet site and I think this internet site is rattling instructive! Keep on posting.

  114.   Delbert Holoman Says:

    Great weblog, I

  115.   Werner Boerstler Says:

    This put up is totaly unrelated to what I used to be looking google for, however it was indexed on the initial page. I guess your performing something right if Google likes you adequate to spot you at the initial page of a non related search.

  116.   Lovella Lebel Says:

    Glad to be 1 of numerous visitants on this awful internet internet site : D.

  117.   Donald M. McWilliams Says:

    I usually do not drop a great deal of remarks, but i did a few searching and wound up here NPPA
    Advocacy Committee

  118.   Stacy Freeborn Says:

    I truly like this weblog site, will surely come back again. Make certain you carry on creating quality content material articles.

  119.   Mose Benites Says:

    Seriously, what a blog! I mean, you just have a great deal of guts to go forward and tell it like it’s. You happen to be what running a blog ought to have, an open minded superhero who isn

  120.   Isreal Chaiken Says:

    I thought it was heading to become some dull previous publish, however it truly compensated for my time. I

  121.   Amberly Namsaly Says:

    I observe there is plenty of spam on this weblog. Do you want assist cleaning them up? I may support among classes!

  122.   Cathie Morano Says:

    Thank you for such a amazing blog. Where else could anyone get that kind of information written in such a perfect way? I have a presentation that I am presently working on, and I’ve been on the look out for such details

  123.   Arturo Kitanik Says:

    Excellent post, I conceive internet site owners need to larn a great deal from this web site its quite user friendly.

  124.   Rigoberto Rucci Says:

    Howdy! I just want to give an enormous thumbs up for the fantastic details you may have here on this post. I will likely be coming back to your weblog for more soon.

  125.   Mozelle Cameli Says:

    Thank you, I’ve just been searching for info about this subject for ages and yours is the greatest I’ve came upon till now. But, what in regards to the conclusion? Are you certain in regards to the source?

  126.   Jong Gumbert Says:

    Wow! This could be one particular of the most useful blogs We have ever arrive across on this subject. Basically Magnificent. I am also an expert in this topic so I can understand your hard work.

  127.   Zula Wilemon Says:

    not everyone would require a nose job but my girlfriend really needs some rhinoplasty coz her nose is kind of crooked-

  128.   Sebastian Alfera Says:


  129.   Coy Volle Says:

    Keep up the great work, I read few blog posts on this internet site and I believe that your web site is very interesting and contains circles of great information.

  130.   Donovan A. Harrell Says:

    Why users still make use of to read news papers when in
    this technological globe the whole thing is accessible on net?

  131.   Julio Crank Says:

    Hello, you used to write excellent, but the last few posts have been kinda boring

  132.   Margene Cammack Says:

    Some really quality content on this internet site, bookmarked.

  133.   part time jobs for teenagers Says:

    Superb resources! Wish I could find more knowledge like this from others:D Thank you!!

Leave a Reply