You're at your kid's soccer match at school, and you're taking pictures. Being the photo buff that you are, you get everything: kids scoring goals, parents screaming from the sidelines, the popcorn vendor, and fans in the stands. Later, you show the pictures to some of the people and find that some want to buy a print for themselves. This becomes a popular trend and, over time, your reputation grows. The local newspaper gets wind of your talent and wants to license a few photos so it can put some in the paper for an article on the school's sports curriculum. Perhaps the local gift shop wants to sell enlargements of the shot you took of the winning goal at the state championships.
All's going well — until someone tells you that you can't do any of these things unless the people in the photos sign a "release" allowing you to use pictures of them.
Are they right? After all, you're not the only person there with a camera. Everyone takes pictures. And, as evidenced from looking at just about any Web site on the Internet, photos are everywhere. Yet, whenever people take pictures in public (especially around schools and parks where children congregate), there's always someone in the crowd ready to voice objections, threats, or warnings. So, what's wrong with what you're doing? And if something is wrong, what can happen to you as a result?