Know your Rights

Here is a list of photographer’s “rights”:

1. You can make a photograph of anything and anyone on any public property, except where a specific law prohibits it.

For Example :

http://www.lakecountyohio.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=gx8%2FGGkYQ2c%3D&tabid=558&mid=1249

i.e. streets, sidewalks, town squares, parks, government buildings open to the public, and public libraries.

2. You may shoot on private property if it is open to the public, but you are obligated to stop if the owner requests it.

i.e. malls, retail stores, restaurants, banks, and office building lobbies.

3. Private property owners can prevent photography ON their property, but not photography OF their property from a public location.

4. Anyone can be photographed without consent when they are in a public place unless there is a reasonable expectation of privacy.

There are two types of expectations of privacy:

  • A subjective expectation of privacy is an opinion of a person that a certain location or situation is private. These obviously vary greatly from person to person.
  • An objective, legitimate or reasonable expectation of privacy is an expectation of privacy generally recognized by society.

i.e. private homes, restrooms, dressing rooms, medical facilities, and phone booths.

“The intentional intrusion upon the solitude or seclusion of another or his private affairs or concerns  that would be highly offensive to a reasonable person.” Each state may adopt this section in whole       or in part.

The use of the term “highly offensive” is key. When someone is in public, even if on private property  with limited access, that person likely doesn’t have an expectation of privacy.

5. Despite common misconceptions, the following subjects are almost always permissible:

* accidents, fire scenes, criminal activities

* children, celebrities, law enforcement officers

* bridges, infrastructure, transportation facilities

* residential, commercial, and industrial buildings

6. Security is rarely an acceptable reason for restricting photography. Photographing from a public place cannot infringe on trade secrets, nor is it terrorist activity.

7. Private parties cannot detain you against your will unless a serious crime was committed in their presence. Those that do so may be subject to criminal and civil charges.

8. It is a crime for someone to threaten injury, detention, confiscation, or arrest because you are making photographs.

9. You are not obligated to provide your identity or reason for photographing unless questioned by a law enforcement officer and state law requires it.

10. Private parties have no right to confiscate your equipment without a court order. Even law enforcement officers must obtain one unless making an arrest. No one can force you to delete photos you have made including Police Officers.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2009/04/06/bc-shooting-cameras.html

http://www.infowars.com/do-police-have-the-right-to-confiscate-your-camera/

http://thelinkpaper.ca/?p=2713

http://splc.org/news/report_detail.asp?id=1143&edition=31

http://www.suite101.com/content/photojournalism-and-the-freedom-of-expression-our-right-a346656

These are general guidelines regarding the right to make photos and should not be interpreted as legal advice. If you need legal help, please contact a lawyer.

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