Can a restaurant ban food photography?

If you eat without uploading an image on the gram, have you eaten at all?

Photographing food and sharing it on social media is as common as cats on the streets of Istanbul. However, the restaurant may not always like it and the reason is usually quite prosaic – the food cools down and the chef is sad (read: angry). Visitors and restaurant staff are also disturbed by the constant bustle that comes with taking pictures.

Restaurants are also unhappy if the food photo is of poor quality and circulates among thousands of people.

Can a restaurant tell customers that food should not be photographed? What is the legal basis for such a ban?

Prohibitions are based on the law – so it is necessary to assess whether there is any legal provision that gives the right to decide (prohibit or allow) what can and cannot be done in a restaurant.

Given that food is served in the room (restaurant, cafe, hotel, etc.), the owner’s will (right to own the property) and the right to determine what customers can do in the room apply. For example, the owner of a room may make it a rule that dogs are not allowed on the premises.

In the same way, the restaurant may make it a rule that food may not be photographed. How to inform of such a ban? For example, in the case of parking, it is considered sufficient when at the entrance of a parking lot there is a sign stating the conditions of parking.

This solution would also work for a restaurant where visitors are informed on the entry that indoor photography is prohibited. Such notification may include a prohibition symbol.

A picture containing clipart
Description automatically generated

Can a chef ban food photography?

The photo is a copy and copying is copyright. Thus, the chef could allow or prohibit the use of photographs through copyright. The precondition here is the condition that the appearance of the food is a work of art (see http://hedman.ee/et/kes-on-toidufoto-autor/).

There are several exceptions to copyright, for example, works may be copied for personal use without the author’s consent. However, such photos cannot be made available to the public online. Thus, the chef can prohibit the distribution of food photos on the web, including Instagram, Facebook, etc. (linking cannot be prohibited, prohibited can only be the uploading of the original photo).

Removal of photos can be requested from both the uploader of the photo and the social media platform, as the terms of use allow you to upload works for which the copyright holder has given their consent.

« Back to articles
Hedman

Our memberships:
FinanceEstonia,
Teenusmajanduse Koda,
EstVCA, EstBan, FECC,
IBA & IBA European regional Forum