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Old Jan 12, 2008, 11:11 AM   #1
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here's an easier to read version. thanks kjell.


About this Guide

Confrontations that impair the constitutional right to make images are becoming more common. To fight the abuse of your right to free expression, you need to know your rights to take photographs and the remedies available if your rights are infringed.



The General Rule

The general rule in the United States is that anyone may take photographs of whatever they want when they are in a public place or places where they have permission to take photographs. Absent a specific legal prohibition such as a statute or ordinance, you are legally entitled to take photographs. Examples of places that are traditionally considered public are streets, sidewalks, and public parks. Property owners may legally prohibit photography on their premises but have no right to prohibit others from photographing their property from other locations. Whether you need permission from property owners to take photographs while on their premises depends on the circumstances. In most places, you may reasonably assume that taking photographs is allowed and that you do not need explicit permission. However, this is a judgment call and you should request permission when the circumstances suggest that the owner is likely to object. In any case, when a property owner tells you not to take photographs while on the premises, you are legally obligated to honor the request.



Some Exceptions to the Rule

There are some exceptions to the general rule. A significant one is that commanders of military installations can prohibit photographs of specific areas when they deem it necessary to protect national security. The U.S. Department of Energy can also prohibit photography of designated nuclear facilities although the publicly visible areas of nuclear facilities are usually not designated as such. Members of the public have a very limited scope of privacy rights when they are in public places. Basically, anyone can be photographed without their consent except when they have secluded themselves in places where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy such as dressing rooms, restrooms, medical facilities, and inside their homes.



Permissible Subjects

Despite misconceptions to the contrary, the following subjects can almost always be photographed lawfully from public places: accident and fire scenes children celebrities bridges and other infrastructure residential and commercial buildings industrial facilities and public utilities transportation facilities (e.g., airports) Superfund sites criminal activities law enforcement officers



Who Is Likely to Violate Your Rights

Most confrontations are started by security guards and employees of organizations who fear photography. The most common reason given is security but often such persons have no articulated reason. Security is rarely a legitimate reason for restricting photography. Taking a photograph is not a terrorist act nor can a business legitimately assert that taking a photograph of a subject in public view infringes on its trade secrets. On occasion, law enforcement officers may object to photography but most understand that people have the right to take photographs and do not interfere with photographers. They do have the right to keep you away from areas where you may impede their activities or endanger safety. However, they do not have the legal right to prohibit you from taking photographs from other locations.



They Have Limited Rights to Bother, Question, or Detain You

Although anyone has the right to approach a person in a public place and ask questions, persistent and unwanted conduct done without a legitimate purpose is a crime in many states if it causes serious annoyance. You are under no obligation to explain the purpose of your photography nor do you have to disclose your identity except in states that require it upon request by a law enforcement officer. If the conduct goes beyond mere questioning, all states have laws that make coercion and harassment criminal offenses. The specific elements vary among the states but in general it is unlawful for anyone to instill a fear that they may injure you, damage or take your property, or falsely accuse you of a crime just because you are taking photographs. Private parties have very limited rights to detain you against your will and may be subject to criminal and civil charges should they attempt to do so. Although the laws in most states authorize citizen's arrests, such authority is very narrow. In general, citizen's arrests can be made only for felonies or crimes committed in the person's presence. Failure to abide by these requirements usually means that the person is liable for a tort such as false imprisonment.



They Have No Right to Confiscate Your Film

Sometimes agents acting for entities such as owners of industrial plants and shopping malls may ask you to hand over your film. Absent a court order, private parties have no right to confiscate your film. Taking your film directly or indirectly by threatening to use force or call a law enforcement agency can constitute criminal offenses such as theft and coercion. It can likewise constitute a civil tort such as conversion. Law enforcement officers may have the authority to seize film when making an arrest but otherwise must obtain a court order.



Your Legal Remedies If Harassed If someone has threatened, intimidated, or detained you because you were taking photographs, they may be liable for crimes such as kidnapping, coercion, and theft. In such cases, you should report them to the police. You may also have civil remedies against such persons and their employers. The torts for which you may be entitled to compensation include assault, conversion, false imprisonment, and violation of your constitutional rights.



Other Remedies If Harassed

If you are disinclined to take legal action, there are still things you can do that contribute to protecting the right to take photographs.

(1) Call the local newspaper and see if they are interested in running a story. Many newspapers feel that civil liberties are worthy of serious coverage.

(2) Write to or call the supervisor of the person involved, or the legal or public relations department of the entity, and complain about the event.

(3) Make the event publicly known on an Internet forum that deals with photography or civil rights issues.



How to Handle Confrontations

Most confrontations can be defused by being courteous and respectful. If the party becomes pushy, combative, or unreasonably hostile, consider calling the police. Above all, use good judgment and don't allow an event to escalate into violence. In the event you are threatened with detention or asked to surrender your film, asking the following questions can help ensure that you will have the evidence to enforce your legal rights:

1. What is the person's name?

2. Who is their employer?

3. Are you free to leave? If not, how do they intend to stop you if you decide to leave? What legal basis do they assert for the detention?

4. Likewise, if they demand your film, what legal basis do they assert for the confiscation?



Disclaimer

This is a general education guide about the right to take photographs and is necessarily limited in scope. For more information about the laws that affect photography, I refer you to the second edition of my book, Legal Handbook for Photographers (Amherst Media, 2006). This guide is not intended to be legal advice nor does it create an attorney client relationship. Readers should seek the advice of a competent attorney when they need legal advice regarding a specific situation. published by: Bert P. Krages II Attorney at Law 6665 S.W. Hampton Street, Suite 200 Portland, Oregon 97223 http://www.krages.com © 2003 Bert P. Krages II

Your Rights and Remedies When Stopped or Confronted for Photography Updated November


2006
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Old Jan 12, 2008, 11:36 AM   #2
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Good read Roy!
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Old Jan 12, 2008, 12:33 PM   #3
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Thanks Robar a good read with a lot of information.


Wacky roger
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Old Jan 12, 2008, 12:35 PM   #4
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Hi Roy,

This is an important subject, IMO. Knowing one's rights is the primary step to keeping them in what seems to be an increasingly photographer unfriendly world.

I've taken to keeping a folder with a number of my bird shots and a bunch of my custom amateur nature photographer "business" cards to deflect the numerous inquiries about "what exactly I'm doing" whenever I'm out shooting.

In my mind, a guy with a tiny P&S or a camera phone would be much more likely to be taking "suspicious" photographs than a guy with a huge 300/2.8 on a DSLR that is pointed up at some trees -- but I guess that's just me. . .:roll:

Scott
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Old Jan 12, 2008, 12:37 PM   #5
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i'm on a new machine with no software. someone could copy this and reformat it to be more readable. then email it and i'll update the thread. it was a pdf when i got it..

roysphoto at gmail.com
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Old Jan 12, 2008, 12:40 PM   #6
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snostorm wrote:
Quote:
Hi Roy,

This is an important subject, IMO. Knowing one's rights is the primary step to keeping them in what seems to be an increasingly photographer unfriendly world.

I've taken to keeping a folder with a number of my bird shots and a bunch of my custom amateur nature photographer "business" cards to deflect the numerous inquiries about "what exactly I'm doing" whenever I'm out shooting.

In my mind, a guy with a tiny P&S or a camera phone would be much more likely to be taking "suspicious" photographs than a guy with a huge 300/2.8 on a DSLR that is pointed up at some trees -- but I guess that's just me. . .:roll:

Scott
i agree scott,
heck, my phone has over 1gig memory and takes video as well
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Old Jan 12, 2008, 12:48 PM   #7
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Nothing is showing up on my screen Roy.....Do I need to heat it up with a candle or sumpthin'

Dawg?
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Old Jan 12, 2008, 1:25 PM   #8
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robar wrote:
Quote:
i'm on a new machine with no software. someone could copy this and reformat it to be more readable. then email it and i'll update the thread. it was a pdf when i got it..

roysphoto at gmail.com
Here it is

The Photographer's Right
Your Rights and
Remedies When
Stopped or
Confronted
for Photography

Updated November
2006

About this Guide

Confrontations that impair the constitutional right to make images are
becoming more common. To fight the
abuse of your right to free expression,
you need to know your rights to take
photographs and the remedies available if your rights are infringed.

The General Rule

The general rule in the United States
is that anyone may take photographs
of whatever they want when they are
in a public place or places where they
have permission to take photographs.
Absent a specific legal prohibition
such as a statute or ordinance, you are
legally entitled to take photographs.
Examples of places that are traditionally considered public are streets,
sidewalks, and public parks.

Property owners may legally prohibit photography on their premises
but have no right to prohibit others
from photographing their property
from other locations. Whether you
need permission from property own

ers to take photographs while on their
premises depends on the circumstances. In most places, you may reasonably assume that taking photographs is allowed and that you do not
need explicit permission. However,
this is a judgment call and you should
request permission when the circumstances suggest that the owner is likely to object. In any case, when a property owner tells you not to take photographs while on the premises, you are
legally obligated to honor the request.

Some Exceptions to the Rule

There are some exceptions to the
general rule. A significant one is that
commanders of military installations
can prohibit photographs of specific
areas when they deem it necessary to
protect national security. The U.S.
Department of Energy can also prohibit photography of designated
nuclear facilities although the publicly
visible areas of nuclear facilities are
usually not designated as such.

Members of the public have a very
limited scope of privacy rights when
they are in public places. Basically,
anyone can be photographed without
their consent except when they have
secluded themselves in places where
they have a reasonable expectation of
privacy such as dressing rooms, rest-
rooms, medical facilities, and inside
their homes.

Permissible Subjects

Despite misconceptions to the contrary, the following subjects can
almost always be photographed lawfully from public places:

accident and fire scenes
children
celebrities
bridges and other infrastructure
residential and commercial buildings
industrial facilities and public utilities
transportation facilities (e.g., airports)
Superfund sites
criminal activities
law enforcement officers

Who Is Likely to Violate Your Rights

Most confrontations are started by
security guards and employees of
organizations who fear photography.
The most common reason given is
security but often such persons have
no articulated reason. Security is
rarely a legitimate reason for restricting photography. Taking a photograph is not a terrorist act nor can a
business legitimately assert that taking a photograph of a subject in public
view infringes on its trade secrets.

On occasion, law enforcement officers may object to photography but
most understand that people have the
right to take photographs and do not
interfere with photographers. They do
have the right to keep you away from
areas where you may impede their
activities or endanger safety. However, they do not have the legal right
to prohibit you from taking photographs from other locations.

They Have Limited Rights to Bother,
Question, or Detain You

Although anyone has the right to
approach a person in a public place
and ask questions, persistent and
unwanted conduct done without a
legitimate purpose is a crime in many
states if it causes serious annoyance.
You are under no obligation to explain
the purpose of your photography nor
do you have to disclose your identity
except in states that require it upon
request by a law enforcement officer.

If the conduct goes beyond mere
questioning, all states have laws that
make coercion and harassment criminal offenses. The specific elements
vary among the states but in general it
is unlawful for anyone to instill a fear
that they may injure you, damage or
take your property, or falsely accuse
you of a crime just because you are
taking photographs.

Private parties have very limited
rights to detain you against your will
and may be subject to criminal and
civil charges should they attempt to
do so. Although the laws in most

states authorize citizen's arrests, such
authority is very narrow. In general,
citizen's arrests can be made only for
felonies or crimes committed in the
person's presence. Failure to abide by
these requirements usually means
that the person is liable for a tort such
as false imprisonment.

They Have No Right to Confiscate
Your Film

Sometimes agents acting for entities
such as owners of industrial plants
and shopping malls may ask you to
hand over your film. Absent a court
order, private parties have no right to
confiscate your film. Taking your film
directly or indirectly by threatening to
use force or call a law enforcement
agency can constitute criminal offenses such as theft and coercion. It can
likewise constitute a civil tort such as
conversion. Law enforcement officers
may have the authority to seize film
when making an arrest but otherwise
must obtain a court order.

Your Legal Remedies If Harassed

If someone has threatened, intimidated, or detained you because you were
taking photographs, they may be
liable for crimes such as kidnapping,
coercion, and theft. In such cases, you
should report them to the police.

You may also have civil remedies
against such persons and their
employers. The torts for which you
may be entitled to compensation
include assault, conversion, false
imprisonment, and violation of your
constitutional rights.

Other Remedies If Harassed

If you are disinclined to take legal
action, there are still things you can do
that contribute to protecting the right
to take photographs.

(1) Call the local newspaper and see if
they are interested in running a story.
Many newspapers feel that civil liberties are worthy of serious coverage.
(2) Write to or call the supervisor of
the person involved, or the legal or
public relations department of the
entity, and complain about the event.

(3) Make the event publicly known on
an Internet forum that deals with photography or civil rights issues.
How to Handle Confrontations

Most confrontations can be defused
by being courteous and respectful. If
the party becomes pushy, combative,
or unreasonably hostile, consider calling the police. Above all, use good
judgment and don't allow an event to
escalate into violence.

In the event you are threatened with
detention or asked to surrender your
film, asking the following questions
can help ensure that you will have the
evidence to enforce your legal rights:

1. What is the person's name?
2. Who is their employer?
3. Are you free to leave? If not, how do
they intend to stop you if you decide
to leave? What legal basis do they
assert for the detention?
4. Likewise, if they demand your film,
what legal basis do they assert for the
confiscation?
Disclaimer

This is a general education guide
about the right to take photographs
and is necessarily limited in scope.
For more information about the laws
that affect photography, I refer you to
the second edition of my book, Legal
Handbook for Photographers (Amherst
Media, 2006).

This guide is not intended to be legal
advice nor does it create an attorney
client relationship. Readers should
seek the advice of a competent attorney when they need legal advice
regarding a specific situation.

published by:
Bert P. Krages II
Attorney at Law
6665 S.W. Hampton Street, Suite 200
Portland, Oregon 97223
www.krages.com
© 2003 Bert P. Krages II


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Old Jan 12, 2008, 1:44 PM   #9
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Location: D/FW area Texas
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thanks to both of you. it's been awhile since i set up a machine. just about have this one done. just one more to go..

roy
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Old Jan 12, 2008, 1:52 PM   #10
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 2,974
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Highlighted the article. CCP. Pasted in wordpad. CCP. Pasted. Here for repost as the original post.

Thanks for posting this.




About this Guide


Confrontations that impair the constitutional right to make images are becoming more common. To fight the abuse of your right to free expression, you need to know your rights to take photographs and the remedies available if your rights are infringed.



The General Rule

The general rule in the United States is that anyone may take photographs of whatever they want when they are in a public place or places where they have permission to take photographs. Absent a specific legal prohibition such as a statute or ordinance, you are legally entitled to take photographs. Examples of places that are traditionally considered public are streets, sidewalks, and public parks. Property owners may legally prohibit photography on their premises but have no right to prohibit others from photographing their property from other locations. Whether you need permission from property owners to take photographs while on their premises depends on the circumstances. In most places, you may reasonably assume that taking photographs is allowed and that you do not need explicit permission. However, this is a judgment call and you should request permission when the circumstances suggest that the owner is likely to object. In any case, when a property owner tells you not to take photographs while on the premises, you are legally obligated to honor the request.



Some Exceptions to the Rule

There are some exceptions to the general rule. A significant one is that commanders of military installations can prohibit photographs of specific areas when they deem it necessary to protect national security. The U.S. Department of Energy can also prohibit photography of designated nuclear facilities although the publicly visible areas of nuclear facilities are usually not designated as such. Members of the public have a very limited scope of privacy rights when they are in public places. Basically, anyone can be photographed without their consent except when they have secluded themselves in places where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy such as dressing rooms, restrooms, medical facilities, and inside their homes.



Permissible Subjects

Despite misconceptions to the contrary, the following subjects can almost always be photographed lawfully from public places: accident and fire scenes children celebrities bridges and other infrastructure residential and commercial buildings industrial facilities and public utilities transportation facilities (e.g., airports) Superfund sites criminal activities law enforcement officers



Who Is Likely to Violate Your Rights

Most confrontations are started by security guards and employees of organizations who fear photography. The most common reason given is security but often such persons have no articulated reason. Security is rarely a legitimate reason for restricting photography. Taking a photograph is not a terrorist act nor can a business legitimately assert that taking a photograph of a subject in public view infringes on its trade secrets. On occasion, law enforcement officers may object to photography but most understand that people have the right to take photographs and do not interfere with photographers. They do have the right to keep you away from areas where you may impede their activities or endanger safety. However, they do not have the legal right to prohibit you from taking photographs from other locations.



They Have Limited Rights to Bother, Question, or Detain You

Although anyone has the right to approach a person in a public place and ask questions, persistent and unwanted conduct done without a legitimate purpose is a crime in many states if it causes serious annoyance. You are under no obligation to explain the purpose of your photography nor do you have to disclose your identity except in states that require it upon request by a law enforcement officer. If the conduct goes beyond mere questioning, all states have laws that make coercion and harassment criminal offenses. The specific elements vary among the states but in general it is unlawful for anyone to instill a fear that they may injure you, damage or take your property, or falsely accuse you of a crime just because you are taking photographs. Private parties have very limited rights to detain you against your will and may be subject to criminal and civil charges should they attempt to do so. Although the laws in most states authorize citizen's arrests, such authority is very narrow. In general, citizen's arrests can be made only for felonies or crimes committed in the person's presence. Failure to abide by these requirements usually means that the person is liable for a tort such as false imprisonment.



They Have No Right to Confiscate Your Film

Sometimes agents acting for entities such as owners of industrial plants and shopping malls may ask you to hand over your film. Absent a court order, private parties have no right to confiscate your film. Taking your film directly or indirectly by threatening to use force or call a law enforcement agency can constitute criminal offenses such as theft and coercion. It can likewise constitute a civil tort such as conversion. Law enforcement officers may have the authority to seize film when making an arrest but otherwise must obtain a court order.



Your Legal Remedies If Harassed If someone has threatened, intimidated, or detained you because you were taking photographs, they may be liable for crimes such as kidnapping, coercion, and theft. In such cases, you should report them to the police. You may also have civil remedies against such persons and their employers. The torts for which you may be entitled to compensation include assault, conversion, false imprisonment, and violation of your constitutional rights.



Other Remedies If Harassed

If you are disinclined to take legal action, there are still things you can do that contribute to protecting the right to take photographs.

(1) Call the local newspaper and see if they are interested in running a story. Many newspapers feel that civil liberties are worthy of serious coverage.

(2) Write to or call the supervisor of the person involved, or the legal or public relations department of the entity, and complain about the event.

(3) Make the event publicly known on an Internet forum that deals with photography or civil rights issues.



How to Handle Confrontations

Most confrontations can be defused by being courteous and respectful. If the party becomes pushy, combative, or unreasonably hostile, consider calling the police. Above all, use good judgment and don't allow an event to escalate into violence. In the event you are threatened with detention or asked to surrender your film, asking the following questions can help ensure that you will have the evidence to enforce your legal rights:

1. What is the person's name?

2. Who is their employer?

3. Are you free to leave? If not, how do they intend to stop you if you decide to leave? What legal basis do they assert for the detention?

4. Likewise, if they demand your film, what legal basis do they assert for the confiscation?



Disclaimer

This is a general education guide about the right to take photographs and is necessarily limited in scope. For more information about the laws that affect photography, I refer you to the second edition of my book, Legal Handbook for Photographers (Amherst Media, 2006). This guide is not intended to be legal advice nor does it create an attorney client relationship. Readers should seek the advice of a competent attorney when they need legal advice regarding a specific situation. published by: Bert P. Krages II Attorney at Law 6665 S.W. Hampton Street, Suite 200 Portland, Oregon 97223 http://www.krages.com © 2003 Bert P. Krages II

Your Rights and Remedies When Stopped or Confronted for Photography Updated November


2006


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