In this place was an olive branch ... I was eventually slapped in the face with the same branch. It's gone now.

This site is meant to educate everyone about the rights and responsibilites of photographers

We hope to cut through the misinformation, confusion, hysteria and fear that surround the issue of photography in these times when many people are quick to limit freedoms and artistic expression in the name of secuity, privacy and protection of individuals and structures.

"In a post 9/11 age of paranoia and suspicion, public photography is increasingly seen as threatening, or mistaken as criminal...Amateur photographers are the documentarians of real life. We capture our world to help us understand it. We are not a threat. " - JPG Magazine

 

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Some facts that may interest you:

1. Anyone in a public place can take pictures of anything they want. Public places include parks, sidewalks, malls, etc. Malls? Yeah. Even though it’s technically private property, being open to the public makes it public space.

2. If you are on public property, you can take pictures of private property. If a building, for example, is visible from the sidewalk, it’s fair game.

3. If you are on private property and are asked not to take pictures, you are obligated to honor that request. This includes posted signs.

4. Sensitive government buildings (military bases, nuclear facilities) can prohibit photography if it is deemed a threat to national security.

5. People can be photographed if they are in public (without their consent) unless they have secluded themselves and can expect a reasonable degree of privacy. Kids swimming in a fountain? Okay. Somebody entering their PIN at the ATM? Not okay.

6. The following can almost always be photographed from public places, despite popular opinion:

* accident & fire scenes, criminal activities
* bridges & other infrastructure, transportation facilities (i.e. airports)
* industrial facilities, Superfund sites
* public utilities, residential & commercial buildings
* children, celebrities, law enforcement officers
* UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, Chuck Norris

7. Although “security” is often given as the reason somebody doesn’t want you to take photos, it’s rarely valid. Taking a photo of a publicly visible subject does not constitute terrorism, nor does it infringe on a company’s trade secrets.

8. If you are challenged, you do not have to explain why you are taking pictures, nor to you have to disclose your identity (except in some cases when questioned by a law enforcement officer.)

9. Private parties have very limited rights to detain you against your will, and can be subject to legal action if they harass you.

10. If someone tries to confiscate your camera and/or film, you don’t have to give it to them. If they take it by force or threaten you, they can be liable for things like theft and coercion. Even law enforcement officers need a court order.

What To Do If You’re Confronted while photographing

Be respectful and polite. Use good judgement and don’t escalate the situation.
If the person becomes combative or difficult, think about calling the police.
Threats, detention, and taking your camera are all grounds for legal or civil actions on your part. Be sure to get the person’s name, employer, and what legal grounds they claim for their actions.
If you don’t want to involve the authorities, go above the person’s head to their supervisor or their company’s public relations department.
Call your local TV and radio stations and see if they want to do a story about your civil liberties.
Put the story on the web yourself if need be.

 

Resources:

http://www.krages.com/phoright.htm The Photographer’s Right, A Downloadable Flyer Explaining Your Rights When Stopped or Confronted for Photography
http://www.photoattorney.com/ Carolyn E. Wright, Esq., is an attorney whose practice concentrates on the law for photographers.
http://www.photosecrets.com/law.html Legal Aspects Of Photography A free, online guide to the rules of taking and selling photos.
http://www.photolaw.net/faq.html A Simple Guide for Photographers, Artists, Illustrators, Writers, Musicians and Other Creative Individuals
http://www.photoattorney.com/2006/08/10-common-misconceptions-of-law-for.html 10 Common Misconceptions of the Law for Photographers
http://www.photolawnews.com/ Photography and The Law
http://www.flickr.com/groups/photography_is_not_a_crime Photography Is Not A Crime flickr group
http://www.flickr.com/groups/photography-is-legal Photography Is Legal flickr group
http://www.flickr.com/groups/670894@N20 "Photos You Got Hassled While Taking" flickr group
http://www.photopermit.org/ Forums, Links, News and Blog

Country Specific Resources:

http://ambientlight.ca/laws.php Photography Law in Canada
http://photorights.org UK Photography Rights Webiste
http://4020.net/words/photorights.php Australian Street Photography Legal Issues
http://www.sirimo.co.uk/ukpr.php UK Photographer's Rights
http://www.aclu.org/ American Civil Liberties Union

Podcasts and Blogs
(general photography info with legal info from time to time)

http://www.allensphotoblog.com The Digital Photogrpahy Podcast
http://twipphoto.com This Week In Photography
http://digiphoto.thepodcastnetwork.com The Digital Photography Show
http://www.tipsfromthetopfloor.com Tips From The Top Floor
http://www.thedigitalstory.com/blog The Digital Story


If you have any links that you think should be on this list (especially country specific links) please email them to allen@allenrockwellphoto.com

All information on this website is collected from various reliable sources (books, websites, lawyers, magazines, etc) and is accurate to the best of the knowlege of the author, however laws differ from country to country and often from state to state. Nothing on this website should be considered legal advice, the author of this website is not a lawyer. If you think you need or desire legal advice you should contact a lawyer and get professional advice.

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