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Photography Law

This is a discussion on Photography Law within the General photography forums, part of the Photography & Fine art photography category; I am still seeing a lot of pure drivel related to photography law on the net so it is good ...

  1. #1
    tegan is offline Senior Member
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    Default Photography Law

    I am still seeing a lot of pure drivel related to photography law on the net so it is good to occasionally remind photo enthusiasts.

    1. Photography is among basic rights and freedoms. You can take photos almost anywhere with the exception of courts, washrooms, change rooms and top secret military installations etc. You can take photos of almost anything.

    2. Taking photos on private property is NOT illegal.

    3. You can take photos of any building whether it is "copyrighted" or not.

    4. You can take photos of dams, trains, and any other sort of infrastructure,
    despite any security concerns.

    5. You can take photos of anyone in a public place including the police whether they like it or not, as long as you are not violating other laws..such as harassment, restricting their activities, loitering etc.

    6. Without violating copyright, you can take a photo of any sculpture or work of art that is permanently stationed in a public place.

    7. You cannot violate Trademark Law by having a trademark in your photo.

    8. Any "restrictions" on photography in museums or malls etc. are simply
    rules made up by the property owner. They are NOT laws.

    9. You cannot be arrested for taking pictures of anything except top secret
    installations or documents, etc.

    10. You cannot be forced to erase a photo or hand over equipment to any security guards and NOT even to the police without a warrant.

    11. In law, a "public place" may be private property so where you took a
    photo from, is irrelevant. It is still NOT illegal.

    By all means respect police but ask polite but relevant questions such as: "May I see your warrant please?" "What legal reason am I being detained for?"

    Tegan

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    Thanks again for sharing your knowledge on the topic tegan!

    So question - Any body can take a camera into a private concert hall and start photographing any performer?

    If I was the owner of that hall? Do I not have the right to say no photos?

    Just curious?

    Thx
    'Marko
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    tegan is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by marko
    Thanks again for sharing your knowledge on the topic tegan!

    So question - Any body can take a camera into a private concert hall and start photographing any performer?

    If I was the owner of that hall? Do I not have the right to say no photos?

    Just curious?

    Thx
    'Marko
    Yes, anyone can take a camera into a private concert hall and start photographing any performer. The owner has the right to say no photos but the only way he can enforce that right is to tell the person to leave. If the person does not leave, he is trespassing, which is a different law.

    Nevertheless any photos taken are the property of the photographer since taking photos was NOT illegal.

    Although I have heard performers say that their performance is copyrighted, the law says that copyright only applies to something "in a substantial form" which certainly does NOT apply to any live performance.

    Tegan

    Yes, anyone can take a camera into a private concert hall and start photographing any performer. The owner has the right to say no photos but the only way he can enforce that right is to tell the person to leave. If the person does not leave, he is trespassing, which is a different law.
    ahh now we are getting into the nitty gritty - let's bust open a couple of beers. How is it trespassing if the person paid for their ticket? Surely trespassing and taking a photograph are 2 completely different beasts..
    Last edited by Marko; 05-29-2008 at 11:53 AM.

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    woops - sorry about that tegan - I edited your post instead of replying.
    My mistake.
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    tegan is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by tegan
    Yes, anyone can take a camera into a private concert hall and start photographing any performer. The owner has the right to say no photos but the only way he can enforce that right is to tell the person to leave. If the person does not leave, he is trespassing, which is a different law.

    Nevertheless any photos taken are the property of the photographer since taking photos was NOT illegal.

    Although I have heard performers say that their performance is copyrighted, the law says that copyright only applies to something "in a substantial form" which certainly does NOT apply to any live performance.

    Tegan



    ahh now we are getting into the nitty gritty - let's bust open a couple of beers. How is it trespassing if the person paid for their ticket? Surely trespassing and taking a photograph are 2 completely different beasts..
    The Trespass Act allows the owner of property to ask anyone on that property to leave, and if you don't leave, you are trespassing. No reason is necessary. I will have to check as to how the paid ticket does or does not affect the issue. The paid ticket could constitute a "contract" that allows you to be present at the performance which would remain in force, unless they gave you your money back.

    Yes, trespassing and taking a photo are 2 different beasts. Using the trespass act is simply a round about way of trying to prevent picture taking.
    However, I doubt that in reality there are many cases of a charge of trespassing actually being laid and reaching the court stage over taking pictures by an average photographer in a concert. It costs the system money to go through the process of prosecuting this charge and in the grand scheme of things it is much less important than other charges that are backed up in the court system.

    Tegan

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    So I'm really interested in this point tegan and likely some people will read this and may act upon this advice...so here continues my thinking on this matter and I'd love it if you could opine on this.

    Lets's say- on the back of the ticket it clearly says no photos cameras reproduction yada yada...

    a person buys the ticket and the contract on the back of it..

    so for me the crux of this issue is, IS IT ILLEGAL TO BREAK A CONTRACT that you have entered into voluntarily? AND SURELY THE ANSWER IS YES.

    What i think you are suggesting is that people need to be aware that nobody can seize their equipment without a warrant EVEN if they have done the illegal activity of breaking a contract.

    But at the end of the day I do believe you would lose this particular portion of the argument . If I own a hall and sell tickets and say that you can't photograph/reproduce on the ticket...and you still do... - then this is illegal by virtue of breaking the contract. It may not be enforcible, but it's illegal IMO. I don't think trespassing has anything to do with this. How can i be tresspassing if i paid for the space? Surely I am violating something but in no way am i trespassing.
    Last edited by Marko; 05-29-2008 at 12:27 PM.
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    First you have a Constitutional right to take photographs.

    2 (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;

    Canadian Constitution (I Have a Copy that hangs over my desk, for Canadians if you get a hold of your MP you can get a copy for free)


    Now there are tons of nuisances to the law and many varied interpretations. Like I was taught, until a Court rules on a law it is not a law but the interpretation of the law and is subject to change overtime, with legislation and changes in the Judiciary and Societal acceptances in changes of attitudes ect. I agree I have certain rights but those are a lot of blanket statements and nothing, I mean nothing is that black and white when it comes to Law. Just think such blanket statements are wrong, these are what you believe or have read and been lead to believe are your rights. Marko has a very valid point. At best they are loose guidelines and everyone needs to take that into account. It is by no means a Legal opinion but a persons. The Only Right you have is in the Constitution and that is also open to Court interpretation.

    It is why when our rights are trying to be taken away or limited we need to speak out, as citizens and as photographers. Why Every VOTE counts. Rights always need to be defended and never taken for granted.
    Last edited by AcadieLibre; 05-29-2008 at 01:11 PM.
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    tegan is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by marko
    So I'm really interested in this point tegan and likely some people will read this and may act upon this advice...so here continues my thinking on this matter and I'd love it if you could opine on this.

    Lets's say- on the back of the ticket it clearly says no photos cameras reproduction yada yada...

    a person buys the ticket and the contract on the back of it..

    so for me the crux of this issue is, IS IT ILLEGAL TO BREAK A CONTRACT that you have entered into voluntarily? AND SURELY THE ANSWER IS YES.

    What i think you are suggesting is that people need to be aware that nobody can seize their equipment without a warrant EVEN if they have done the illegal activity of breaking a contract.

    But at the end of the day I do believe you would lose this particular portion of the argument . If I own a hall and sell tickets and say that you can't photograph/reproduce on the ticket...and you still do... - then this is illegal by virtue of breaking the contract. It may not be enforcible, but it's illegal IMO. I don't think trespassing has anything to do with this. How can i be tresspassing if i paid for the space? Surely I am violating something but in no way am i trespassing.
    Legal definition of Trespassing in Canada: Trespassing is an act whereby one person is present on the property of another and there is reason to infer that such a person is not welcome on the property. T

    In the U.S. and Canada, a missive on a ticket saying you can't take photos is not a contract. Not generally known but in Canada I am told that in order for contracts to be binding, legal, and enforcable, they generally have to be signed, and use the appropriate legal wording. The exception is some verbal promises, but they are hard to prove.

    Basic to any contract law is that you cannot break a contract that you did not agree to, and in Canada implied contracts such as by taking some action, you are entering into a contract etc... are not binding.

    To further complicate things, contract law is civil not criminal, so a law suit is the only recourse for the concert hall owner and that would take several years and would not be financially worthwhile to the owner.

    Tegan
    Last edited by tegan; 05-29-2008 at 02:10 PM.

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    Thanks for that tegan.

    Now there are tons of nuisances to the law and many varied interpretations. Like I was taught, until a Court rules on a law it is not a law but the interpretation of the law and is subject to change overtime, with legislation and changes in the Judiciary and Societal acceptances in changes of attitudes ect. I agree I have certain rights but those are a lot of blanket statements and nothing, I mean nothing is that black and white when it comes to Law. Just think such blanket statements are wrong, these are what you believe or have read and been lead to believe are your rights. Marko has a very valid point. At best they are loose guidelines and everyone needs to take that into account. It is by no means a Legal opinion but a persons. The Only Right you have is in the Constitution and that is also open to Court interpretation.
    I think acadielibre makes an excellent point in his last post.

    That this is not even close to 'black letter law' - that there is tons of room here for interpretation....and people STILL need to be careful. I would not want someone reading this to take it as gospel and then have to defend themselves in court or have to reply to a lawyer's letter. What YOUR personal interpretation is will 100% NOT be shared by any party that tries to sue someone that just goes ahead and takes the shot. Whether the fine print on a ticket is or is not a contract is up for debate. With sincere respect, It does not make it invalid just because you say it is.


    Of course we want people to know their rights but we also need to tell people that DEFENDING those rights (like if i am the hall owner and decide to call the police and/or sue) might well cost them money.
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  10. #10
    tegan is offline Senior Member
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    Acadie Libre's point is a too sweeping and inaccurate generalization.

    When talking about general and somewhat vague constitutional rights, then yes some interpretation is involved.

    When you get to specific laws however, infringement of copyright and violation of Trademark law is defined in black and white in the law. It is not open to interpretation. Exemptions to violation written into the law are also defined in black and white, and they are not open to interpretation either. Definitions of terms used in the law are also very specific and in black and white. These are not open to interpretation either.

    Simply put: Since it says in the copyright law that taking a photo of a work of art permanently installed in a public place is not copyright infringement, then if you have taken such a photo, then you have not infringed copyright.
    That is in fact black and white.

    Now, common sense indicates that if you commit some other illegality in the process of taking a photo such as assaulting someone, harassing them, loitering, trespassing, vandalism, etc., then a completely different set of laws comes into play.

    Tegan
    Last edited by tegan; 05-29-2008 at 04:41 PM.

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