What Can I Publish?

Canadian Photography Laws » Overview » What Can I Publish?


This could be:

  • Directly printing in Newspapers, Magazines, Books, etc.
  • Printing and showing in a gallery.
  • Posting online, including but not limited to sites like Facebook or Flickr (even if password-protected / not publicly shared).
Maybe Laws are complex and differ by city and province. This summary uses laws for Toronto, Ontario. If you are not publishing photos here, some of these laws may not apply to you, and others may. Investigate the rules in your city/province in The Laws.
Maybe If the photo was taken in one location, and published in another, there is no clear ruling on which laws apply, so assume that the laws from both locations apply.
No A photo that you do not own.  Copyright Act
No A photo that would interfere with a large number of Canadian’s lives, impairs or threatens the Canadian Forces, national security or intelligence.  Security of Information Act
No The name or photo of a child that is convicted or charged with an offence.  Youth Criminal Justice Act
Yes With the exception of the above, you can publish any other photograph.

Getting Sued

Although not illegal, publishing a photo that would hurt someone (physically, emotionally, financially, or professionally) may cause you to get sued.

Yes All identifiable subjects have signed a model release.
No Publishing a photo of an identifiable person, without consent.

Ontario does not have a law that gives each person a “right to their own image”, allowing them to control what you can do with the photo. However, the lack of a personal privacy law does not mean you won’t get sued over it.  Privacy Act, Civil Law

Yes All identifiable buildings and locations have a location release signed by the property owners.
No Publishing a photo of an identifiable building as a primary subject.  Civil Law
Yes All identifiable Trademarks have written permission to use the Trademark.
No Publishing a photo that uses a trademark as a primary element of the photo.

Companies spend lots of money promoting their brand, and the Trademark is their legal right to control that brand. Incidental logos are fine, but ensure that your photo is not deliberately misrepresenting their brand.  Civil Law

Yes If your photograph is newsworthy, and being published for the purpose of news, then no model release, location release, or trademark permission is needed. This includes newsworthy photos of celebrities, politicians, or other people in the public eye.
No Modifying the photo to deliberately mislead or misrepresent what an identifiable person or company is doing.   This includes using a misleading caption.  Civil Law

I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice. For more information, see the Disclaimer.