Photographer's Rights - written by an attorney

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by Father Kodak, Jan 7, 2006.

  1. Father Kodak

    Father Kodak Guest

    I recently found this one-page writeup of photographers' rights and
    want to share this with fellow photographers.

    This was written by an attorney in the USA, and might not apply in
    other countries.

    The gist of the article is that people have the right to take
    photographs while standing on public property, unless there are signs
    prohibiting such activity. Further, private security guards at
    industrial facilities or shopping malls cannot detain you or force you
    to surrender your film or confiscate your equipment. If such
    personnel try to take any of these actions, they are breaking the law
    and can also be subject to civil suits.

    Father Kodak.
    Father Kodak, Jan 7, 2006
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  2. Father Kodak

    Henretta Guest

    Not trying to dampen the spirit of your post but have you ever tried to
    get a civil court case going against anyone? It is no trivial matter and
    certainly quite likely to cost the price of an average new automobile.

    The fact it's written by an Attorney speaks volumes in itself.
    Just because laws exist, does not in itself mean justice under those
    laws is available to everyone, even anyone.
    Henretta, Jan 7, 2006
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  3. That's for sure....Every day in this country thousands (perhaps hundreds of
    thousands) of people have their civil rights taken away from them by
    municipal court judges all across the nation. They know full well that it
    is not worth the time and trouble for the victims to carry their case to an
    appeals court, so they will just pay whatever the fine is, and go away. And
    even if they do protest, and eventually win their case, the very next day
    the same judges in the same courts will take the same rights away from their
    brothers, so nothing is gained by their trouble. No precedent is set by them
    winning their case, so what's the point? In local government's zeal to make
    money, any pretense of following constitutional law is thrown out the
    window. The higher up the court, the closer to constitutional law are the
    decisions, but the lower court judges could care less. Many of them aren't
    even trained in the law. They are just there to make money for local
    government, and it sure does show in the decisions they make....
    William Graham, Jan 7, 2006
  4. What country is that? (Please don't assume everyone here is in the same
    Peter Marquis-Kyle, Jan 7, 2006
  5. Father Kodak

    Don Guest

    I assume you mean the signs are on the public land and meet the legal
    requirements to prohibit you from engaging in the activity of photo taking
    (and this would be doubtful)? Such a sign on private land would in most
    instances be of no effect.


    Don, Jan 7, 2006
  6. Father Kodak

    Ole Larsen Guest

    Father Kodak skrev:
    On my 1. trip across The Atlantic I would shoot (from the
    pavement/sidewalk?) a building on Broadway NYC. The security-guard
    prohibited me. A few mins later I met 2 police officers and asked them.
    They had the same opinion as the guard: Private
    Strange, I felt. You can (with legal rights) take a picture of my
    umbrella/house/nose/whatever, any time it is in public area in Denmark.
    And if anybody tries to stop you, you don´t have to go to trial. The
    police know the law.
    Ole Larsen, Jan 7, 2006
  7. Father Kodak

    PTRAVEL Guest

    No, the police do not know the law, particularly when it comes to
    intellectual property rights. I took a look at the document referenced in
    the subject line, and it's quite good -- and quite accurate.

    If you were on a public sidewalk, you can shoot whatever you want. Note,
    however, that in New York, a lot of what appear to be public sidewalks are
    actually owned by the buildling owner, with a public easement granted for
    PTRAVEL, Jan 7, 2006
  8. Father Kodak

    Celcius Guest


    It doesn't matter which country. The Justice system is heavy and
    costly. The only difference with certain countries is simply the fact
    it's even worse.

    Celcius, Jan 7, 2006
  9. Father Kodak

    Ole Larsen Guest

    PTRAVEL skrev:
    Probl. a language probl. - my fault. I was talking about police here
    Ole Larsen, Jan 7, 2006
  10. Father Kodak

    Sionnach Guest

    Your written English is excellent, and it's perfectly clear from context -
    at least to me - that "The police know the law" is referring to Danish law
    and police.
    Sionnach, Jan 7, 2006
  11. Father Kodak

    Guest Guest

    And in many countries things are much better.
    Guest, Jan 7, 2006
  12. Such a sign on public property would have no effect. How, for
    example, can such a sign mean anything if posted along side a
    roadway? By what authority would or could *anyone* prohibit
    photography on a public road?
    No... on private property the sign would *absolutely* have an
    effect! (Essentially if you violate the rules, you become a
    trespasser.) Of course that effect would only extend to the
    edge of the private property, so in essence it would disallow
    photography only while on the private property. (An example
    would be that a museum could post such a sign. It is also very
    common for telephone companies, for purely technical reasons, to
    have such signs posted near digital switching systems!)

    The statement in the OP's article that taking pictures while
    standing on public land is always permitted is not necessarily
    true. For example, using a 1000mm telephoto aimed at a crack of
    light from a bedroom window in a private residence is *clearly*
    not legal...
    Floyd Davidson, Jan 7, 2006
  13. Can you point a telephoto lense at a narrow crack in the
    curtains of someone's bedroom window, while standing on a public
    Floyd Davidson, Jan 7, 2006
  14. Father Kodak

    Alan Browne Guest

    That is invasion of privacy. No different than being a peeping tom.
    Unless you publish the image. Then it's *much* worse.
    Alan Browne, Jan 7, 2006
  15. Father Kodak

    Henretta Guest

    Oddities exist in all laws. In Australia no one has any right NOT to be
    photographed yet if you photograph someone's home (for a real estate
    database) it is illegal.

    Many local authorities make rules on the fly which later become
    "by-laws". An example (again in AU) is the prohibition of taking photos
    of children in a park known as "Southbank" in Brisbane.

    A pedophile was found to be photographing scantily clad (and naked)
    children at the man-made "Kodak beach" and distributing the pictures all
    over the world via the Internet. Nothing here about a person's non-right
    to be photographed.

    Just a knee jerk reaction to ban everyone from taking pictures at
    "Kodak" beach, for Christ sake! Stupid in the extreme. At least in AU
    Police are tolerant enough to let you go unless you are shooting a
    strategic bridge's pylons, beach scenes or something.

    SO now it's illegal to take any pictures at that beach if there are
    children not related to you in the scene.
    Henretta, Jan 7, 2006
  16. Father Kodak

    TheDave© Guest

    No, because by closing the curtains, the person inside has expressed a
    "reasonable expectation of privacy". Entirely different matter.
    TheDave©, Jan 7, 2006
  17. Father Kodak

    Ole Larsen Guest

    Henretta skrev:
    Yes I guess all countries suffer from what we call ooops-laws.
    Ole Larsen, Jan 7, 2006
  18. Father Kodak

    Jeremy Nixon Guest

    They (the police and the guard) were both wrong.

    If you were *standing* on private property when taking the pictures
    (which may not be completely obvious in a city setting) the guard would
    have the right to order you off the property, of course, but still could
    not prevent you from taking pictures, assuming the "private" property was
    a public area.
    You can't assume that here. In fact, it would be of benefit to assume the
    exact opposite.
    Jeremy Nixon, Jan 7, 2006
  19. It *is* being a peeping tom!

    Of course that comes under the jurisdiction of local laws,
    and may or may not actually be a law.
    Which is to say that no you *cannot* shoot whatever you want
    just because you happen to be standing on a public sidewalk.

    Moreover, if you do shoot whatever that is on the public
    sidewalk with you, it is still quite up in the air as to what
    can be done with the image. Short of having a release, just
    about *nothing* that involves commercial gain is allowed.
    Floyd Davidson, Jan 7, 2006
  20. Not different at all. The point is that just because you are in
    a public place that does *not* mean that what you can photograph
    from there is also public.
    Floyd Davidson, Jan 7, 2006
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