Wednesday, November 18, 2015

UPDATED:No, I Do Not Grant You Permission or a License to Use My Image.

Sign at Davies, November 13, 2015

UPDATE: The SFS communications department saw my tweet and sent me email about the sign. It turns out that the signs were posted in error. They are old signs from when Keeping Score was being recorded and filmed and audience members would have in the TV broadcasts and DVDs. The Friday program was being recorded for CD release in the upcoming Schumann series. The signs should have been a different set that just warned the audience about the CD recording. The signs we saw last week will be retired. 

I should have been less outraged, I own it! And I'm glad I never showed the sign to Mike (Godwin's Law) Godwin, whom I've known for many years.


I'm absolutely certain that San Francisco Symphony's lawyers wrote or approved this particular sign, which I saw in a couple of locations before this evening's concert. That approval doesn't make it a good idea. Let me count the ways.
  1. It's just plain rude to spring this on patrons with no warning.
  2. It's especially rude to do when you've already taken their money.
  3. That's because you're making a material change to the conditions under which the patrons are attending. You give people a choice between losing their money and compromising, if they object to granting blanket permission by simply stepping into the auditorium.
  4. There's this thing called a "photo release." Journalists, photographers, and lawyers know all about them. It's better to get releases than to pull this crap.
  5. Some people don't want their photos circulating for good reasons; for example, they've been the victim of a stalker or an abusive ex. SFS shouldn't do anything to put these people in danger, such as photographing them and using those photos in publicity materials.
  6. On the other hand, SFS could do what SFO has: put up a selfie corner and invite patrons to voluntarily send along their photos to SFS, individually or in groups.
I am going to forward the photo above to a lawyer friend - and write an irate letter to patron services, marketing, and Brent Assinck. 


CruzSF said...

I can confirm that we were not given any notice when we bought our tickets, and surely they knew by then that they were going to be recording this night. It was a nasty surprise, and of course we weren't going to leave and just eat the price of our tickets.

john_burke100 said...

Not being a lawyer, I can't say how this relates to the legal notion of "expectation of privacy," except that I know there is such a thing, and that the law recognizes that a person's reasonable expectation of privacy depends (among other things) on the circumstances they're in. Would SFS defend this warning by arguing that, since concertgoers have waived their expectation of privacy by attending a public unction, the notice is actually going an extra step to alert the audience that they have, in fact, already made this waiver? I stress that I don't know the answer but I think this might be a relevant question.