Sybase Employees, TechWave and Photos

Back in August I asked Sybase their policy of photographing Sybase employees at TechWave in public areas:

I know that attendees sign a disclosure when they register for TechWave regarding photos taken of them for the duration of the conference. Although it is common courtesy for the photographer (even a poor one like me  😉  to ask permission.

What exactly is the deal with Sybase employees in common areas?  Are they exempt from any photo disclosure?  That is, if a photographer asks them if he can take their photo and the employee says no (at which point photographer says ‘no problem’ and starts to turn)…  should the employee then lecture the photographer about the legality of photographing employees because the individual employees didn’t sign a photo disclosure?

When I worked for Sybase and went to TechWave, it was explained to me (by a TS Director that is now retired) that as employees, Sybase employees automatically agree to photo disclosure if they attend the conference.  If we didn’t want our photograph taken, we were to politely ask the photographer that we didn’t want our photograph taken.

I never received a reply back from Sybase so I contacted three different lawyer friends that deal with privacy laws in (Nevada, California and federal) to find out the legal rights of the photographer, the Sybase employees and attendees.  The consensus is:

  1. Attendees sign a photo disclosure when they register for TechWave if in common public areas.
  2. Sybase employees are covered under photo disclosure in common public areas by being employees of Sybase and attending TechWave.
  3. Photographers (professional or amateur) when taking portrait shots should ask whether the individual(s) would like their picture taken or not.  The photographer should respect the wishes of the individuals.   There is no legal or professional courtesy reason to ask individuals if they want their picture taken in a group shot.  If there are any disputes then the issue should be taken up with the sponsor (Sybase) which may act as an arbiter between the parties.

Common public areas do not include bathrooms, hotel rooms, etc.

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