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The crux of my post here is that I'm interested in selling my photography services to local golf courses by providing them with print of landscapes I'll take and I wondered what's the legal situation regarding using previously shot photos in my portfolio. I've taken some photos of a local golf course and I want to use those photos in a portfolio to sell my services to other courses. I took some of these photos from public footpaths that cross the course but some of them I took on the greens without permission. What I want to know is, am I allowed to use these photos that were taken without permission on private property in a portfolio with the aim of getting work out of the portfolio?

Btw I'm in England so it would be like English law

Thanks for the future help!

closed as off-topic by xiota, inkista, Hueco, Tetsujin, Saaru Lindestøkke Aug 2 at 9:33

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    law.SE may be a better home for this. – inkista Jul 23 at 18:35
  • "Btw I'm in England so it would be like English law". Like English law or actually proper English law? Actual proper English law will require an English Attorney who knows property rights in regards to photography, portfolio vs publication. – Alaska Man Jul 24 at 18:03
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    vtc b/c Request for "legal advice". Consider consulting an attorney. – xiota Jul 25 at 0:18
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Disclaimer - I'm not a lawyer, and this should not be construed as legal advice. You need to consult a competent attorney who practices in the jurisdiction in question for legal advice.


If you took the images and were not under any type of contract to assign the rights to someone else, then you own the rights to the images. Assuming there are no personally identifiable individuals included in the photos, nor any other intellectual property such as trademarked logos, architecture, etc. you should be free to use those images in your portfolio without any fear of violating another's personality rights, rights of publicity, or intellectual property.

However - and this is a fairly large "however" - those images are also prima facie evidence that someone trespassed onto the golf course' property without permission. If the golf course insists they gave no one permission to take such images, and if you insist that they are your images taken by you, then you are more or less confessing to trespassing. Whether or not the golf course decides to pursue charges against you is solely at their discretion.

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    There is no offence of trespass in English law. The Criminal Justice Act 1994 introduced aggravated trespass, but that requires more than just standing on someone's land. – Philip Kendall Jul 24 at 6:21
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Note: The same disclaimer applies... my opinion is just my opinion based upon my study of the relevant laws over the years. Consulting an IP lawyer in that jurisdiction would be a good idea; and in the end, only a judge's determination is the final answer.

Assuming there was no restriction placed upon your entry onto the property (i.e. publicly accessible private property), and that there were no restrictions placed upon photography while on the private property, then you are free to use the images however you like.

However, you do not have to be notified that there is a restriction to photography for there to be one in effect, and for you to be bound by it. I.e. a private club (members only) is more likely to have restrictions on photography as a term of entry onto the course (to protect member's privacy) than a public course would (where anyone can pay to play). Those restrictions might be noted on the website, in the member's contract, etc... but they would apply to all who enter the property regardless (i.e. a guest).

In EU/UK law there is no requirement for model releases/property releases/etc., in general. However, commercial use of such images (advertising) could put you in jeopardy of violating someone's personal rights. But portfolio/self promotion use is not commercial use.

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