If I take pictures of my kids and their team mates at a little league or youth sporting event and other parents want to buy pictures from me, can the organization that is holding the event force me to give them any profit and can they threaten to have me arrested if I do sell photos from those events without their permission?


It depends a lot on the property in use. If it takes place on public property and they aren't allowed to tell people they can't be there, then there isn't much they can do to stop you, other than threaten to kick your kid out. Unless it is private property, they don't have a right to restrict what you are taking photos of in most cases.

That said, it doesn't hurt to talk with them and figure it out so there isn't confusion. Even if they don't have a right to stop you, they may try to if they don't know what is going on or you make them uncomfortable. You are far more likely to get an end result that works well for everyone by talking to them about it.

If you are doing it basically at cost, it probably isn't likely to be an issue. If you are actually looking to make money on the deal, they may want a cut, and even if you don't have to, it may be worth giving it to them, because if it works out well, they may ask you about doing it for other teams as well and could become a decent income stream for both you and them, if that's something you are interested in.

  • They've threatened her for exercising her rights. You don't negotiate with that sort of person. – JenSCDC Nov 22 '14 at 22:01
  • @Andy depending on the jurisdiction she might not have it though. If it is private property and they say no commercial photography allowed somewhere then it would possibly be trespassing to engage in commercial photography. The legal details really need a local lawyer. – AJ Henderson Nov 23 '14 at 14:29
  • True- I was assuming it was on public property. – JenSCDC Nov 23 '14 at 15:19
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    While I agree that they probably don't have a legal right to keep her from taking/selling pictures, there is more to this than where are the pictures taken. I used to be heavily involved with Recreational Youth Soccer, and all of our games were played on School or City fields. However the permits issued to us gave us limited control, and often allowed the organization to place restrictions such as no smoking or no dogs at a city park during games a practices. Generally these were safety/health related issues, but the permit did allow me to ban parents who were disruptive. – BillN Nov 26 '14 at 0:14
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    @teammomAg74 - yes, but it is possible that by making them commercial photos you could have committed a crime in taking them. It's probably not the case, but it may be. You should check with a lawyer to be sure. – AJ Henderson Nov 26 '14 at 6:11

I'm not sure about little league but in the UK it depends on a few things so I will try to explain.

There are a lot of sports photo companies that travel to the larger events with several photographers to sell pictures to the parents. These companies will never gain entry without paying to be there and because of their existence, the clubs have learnt that they can earn money from such a thing so if you were looking to sell pictures back to multiple parents, you will no doubt have a fee to pay.

If you want to take pictures of your own children, your are perfectly in your right to do so.

I have often taken sports pictures for a single parent who has commissioned me to be there but I have always advised the get permission from the club. That's usually OK unless one of the larger companies are there and providing the insurance all checks out it is fine.

I suggest speaking to the club to check everything is OK to avoid any embarrassment on the day.


Caveat- I'm not a lawyer, but...

It is well established that you have the right to a) take pictures on public property and b) to take pictures of anything and everything you want and that c) you own the copyright for those images.

As long as the events are held on publicly owned property, you are in the clear. You should contact your local newspaper about this- I'm sure that they'd love to run an article about the attempts to violate your 1st Amendment rights. Also talk to someone at the local chapter of the ACLU for advice.

In some situations there are limits on how you can use your images, but in your case there's no problem since you're selling pictures of kids to their own parents.

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    You may still need a property release and/or liability insurance in some cases. – user13451 Nov 18 '14 at 8:06
  • Good point about the insurance, even though she still is essentially a hobbyist. But since the games are on government property, no property release should be needed. – JenSCDC Nov 18 '14 at 10:28
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    From my time in California: largeformatphotography.info/photo-permits - the jurisdiction of the park is not always clear and permits often get in there for commercial work (which is fun to try to define). – user13451 Nov 18 '14 at 15:25
  • It was my understanding that the permits were for the disruption caused, not the actual shooting. You need a permit to hold a parade, but not to shoot wilderness photos for sale. But as I said, I'm no lawyer. – JenSCDC Nov 18 '14 at 17:24
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    Thats exactly how I felt. Now he wont get a damn thing. – team mom Ag74 Nov 23 '14 at 3:49

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