[Removed unnecessary questions and rephrased the question]

I have a few concerns about taking pictures of people for commercial and non-commercial purposes [U.S.].

  • Can I post online pictures of people in public places for non-commercial purposes (Flickr, Facebook, etc..)?

I noticed that there are way too many picture on the internet with people in the shot, and I doubt all these photographers asked permission to publish.

  • It depends on what country you are located in when you take the photograph. Laws vary widely from one jurisdiction to the next.
    – Michael C
    Feb 15 '13 at 9:04
  • @MichaelClark: Yep, no problem using people's photos in advertisements in the UK without permission.
    – user3739
    Feb 21 '13 at 1:11

These are three separate questions, which you should probably ask separately. However I think they've all been handled before. I think these three cover your questions:

Can I publish photos taken in public legally?

Is a model release needed for all commercial photo sales?

How do I copyright my photographs?

Basically, you can post or sell pictures (as art) that you've taken of people in public places, or use them in contests. You would need permission to use them for commercial purposes, e.g. advertising. You don't have to register your photos to have copyright, but it could allow you to receive higher damages if you sue someone for infringement.

  • Please, note that the first link you provided, mostly addresses (at least in the answers) publishing for commercial purposes. I am interested about non-commercial use of photos.
    – Bob
    Feb 20 '13 at 23:27

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