The Daily Commuter has gotten someone’s attention

This is in response to a recent comment I received from a reader about a particular post. I welcome most comments after I review them, whether they’re positive or negative. Not everyone who comes upon this blog agrees with the content but I respect their opinions. Some of the negative comments I receive are a result of me posting something some readers view as controversial. I don’t know how they came upon the blog but if their search is about fat people, smelly people, loud people, etc. then they better be prepared to read unflattering things about these folks as it relates to me and my experiences on my commute.

Commuting is not always pleasant and usually it is a result of inconsiderate and obnoxious human interactions, many of these involve people who are of a larger body mass.

I understand that my comments about XXL people can be viewed as ridicule by some readers. I admit that my descriptions of them is not flattering. In fact, some readers find it offensive. The words I use are meant to illustrate to the reader what I see, and what I experience.

What offends me is how quickly a person who is big and round will sit their fat asses down knowing very well they do not fit in the seat, and they’re most likely squashing the person they’re sitting next to or on top of. It does happen. It’s inconsiderate and I find that offensive.

However, what I find more offensive is when I receive comments from people who are making claims without backing it up with examples and/or facts. I’m referring to the reader who claimed that a picture I had taken and posted on my blog is illegal.

I did my research and there aren’t laws that specify taking pictures of people in public spaces is unlawful. If anything, I am permitted to take pictures of people in public spaces as long as it is not used for purposes of trade or advertising. I’ve even consulted with a few photographers about this issue and they’ve advised me of the same. Furthermore, photos taken of a person or persons in public is not subject to a signed release form for permission to publish photo if used as an editorial.

“A newspapers publication of a photograph of a black man, taken in a public place, to illustrate an article on the upward mobility of blacks was not misappropriation because his name was not used, and the photograph was published for illustrative, not commercial purposes. But the photographer and agency that supplied the picture to the newspaper were liable under a state misappropriation law. The law subsequently was amended to protect freelancers supplying photographs for use as news. Arrington v. New York Times, 433 N.Y.S.2d 164 (N.Y. App. Div. 1980), modified, 55 N.Y.2d 433 (1982), cert. denied, 459 U.S. 1146 (1983).”

– excerpt from the website of Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press; Photographer’s Guide to Privacy. There are also plenty of examples, precedence, where the court ruled in favor of photographer.

The above example is also explained on this webpage on www.photo.net; “The law and photographing people in public places”.

The reader then continues with the following comment, “Also, it is absolutely illegal to photograph people specifically and then to publish that photograph without a signed release (regardless of compensation).” That’s not entirely true.  See above along with numerous other examples listed on that link from http://www.rcfp.org.

What annoys me about this reader’s comment is that this person did not make this argument earlier when I posted a video of a woman putting on her make-up on the bus. Instead, the reader commented that this was common in Japan. If this reader was truly concerned about photographing people in public places, then I’d expect her to leave a different comment about the make-up video.

I suspect that the reader was more offended that I highlighted the inconsiderate attitudes of some of the heavy set, portly, and roly-poly  commuters taking public transportation by capturing an image of an example of what commonly happens.

However, I can respect something from the reader’s comment about their concern of taking pictures of people in public spaces that show their faces, which they may recognize and/or be recognized by others. A photo like the one I had taken and posted could be viewed as ridicule by some readers, and offensive by others, and camaraderie from those who have experienced being a human fat sandwich, where there is a lean piece of meat and too much bread. However, should someone recognize themselves on my blog and did not want their face(s) to be posted on my blog, I may be able to accommodate their request depending upon their concerns. Instead, the reader threatened me with filing charges against me and suing me should I take a picture of the reader and post it on my blog without understanding what is unlawful, and the rights of a photographer.

I don’t expect every reader to agree with or like what I blog about. There are people who want to live in a PC world free of discussions that are considered taboo.

I guess I also shouldn’t expect a level of intelligence from some readers when they leave comments that are baseless and contain threats as a way to tell me what I can or can’t publish with MY blog.

I’m not perfect but I certainly strive to do what is within the law and within my rights. Should any reader find something in my blog that could be unlawful I’d certainly appreciate a heads up. If a reader is gonna get cocky on my ass regarding my posts, they had better be prepared with facts to back up their claims because I do not tolerate threats!

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~ by thedailycommuter on Tuesday, September 8, 2009.

3 Responses to “The Daily Commuter has gotten someone’s attention”

  1. *sigh*

    So I’ve been reading your blog pretty much since the beginning. I’ve enjoyed it every day ever since and I think you do an awesome job. I like your writing style, particularly your snark. Without it, I’d miss out on a few chuckles every day.

    I’m also a big guy, but unlike the messes you post about, I don’t sit at all on the train if it isn’t mostly empty. I understand that doing so makes it uncomfortable for others and I never want to be “that guy.” Apparently not everyone has my scruples.

    My point, though, is that I see where you’re coming from and when I read the stuff you write, I know you’re not talking about me. You’re talking about the ones who inconsiderately shove their fat asses into a seat whether it can fit or not, and frankly, I agree with you! I think the only reason someone can take offense to the things you say is if they’re guilty of what you’re talking about. Something to think about, right?

    Anyway, don’t worry about taking photos of people in public places. As long as they’re in public, there’s no expectation of privacy and you have no requirement to get any kind of release from them unless you’re using it for commercial purposes, and even that isn’t necessarily as black and white as it sounds. I’ve taken hundreds and hundreds of photos of the folks on the NYC Subway (you can see them here: http://picasaweb.google.com/vferrari/NYCSubway) and I have no fear whatsoever that anyone is going to come back and sue me because, if they do, their argument would be laughed out of court.

    Keep doing what you do. It’s well-appreciated and well-liked. There’s a reason I make this site a daily stop and it’s that you’re entertaining and interesting. Don’t change that.

  2. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. I guess i do write with a bit of “snark” but I think you have to if you’re a New Yorker and taking public transportation basically everyday since high school, and writing about many of the obscene behaviors of many different kinds of people. For some reason, when people enter the mode of daily commuting, all civility is left at home. It may be funny because it’s true. Thank you again! Oh, i was able to get access to your photos.

  3. No worries. Just keep making me laugh 😉

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