When reporting on The Rich, it's critical to prove that they are, in fact, rich. This is most easily accomplished by showing their homes, because every reader can immediately tell that they couldn't even afford the solid gold horse stable, much less the platinum guest house or uranium master bedroom. But most of The Rich aren't gauche enough to allow a photographer to set foot on their property. What to do? Hire a helicopter, of course. You can spy on wealthy barons from the air all you want, and it's perfectly legal! Here's the proof, and the pudding:
[A legal expert] said that generally speaking, it's OK to take aerial photos of objects that are readily visible to the naked eye, since they're taken from public airspace.
The possibility of trouble arises when people use high-powered telephoto lenses. If a photo reveals a home's security operations or shows close-ups of people, there could be an argument for an invasion of privacy claim. She said that "capturing someone sitting on their patio sunbathing nude" could create a legal challenge, but added that "if you're just showing that someone has this lovely home, I'm not sure that would be a compelling argument for a claim."
You heard it straight from the WSJ: you are well within your rights to try to "incidentally" snap a photo of Bill Gates in the buff. Because you like his lovely home. And thank god for that. Without these rights, the media would never get jealousy-producing shots like these:
Rodney Propp's $40 million Hamptons spread, from Vanity Fair:
A mere glimpse of Abigail Johnson's hideously valuable Massachusetts manse:
You get the idea, plebe.