1 Ers to take photographs while on their Who Is Likely to Violate Your Rights states authorize citizen's arrests, such they are interested in running a story. premises depends on the circum- Most confrontations are started by authority is very narrow. In general, Many newspapers feel that civil liber- The Photographer's Right stances. In most places, you may rea- security guards and employees of citizen's arrests can be made only for ties are worthy of serious coverage. sonably assume that taking photo- organizations who fear photography. felonies or crimes committed in the (2) Write to or call the supervisor of graphs is allowed and that you do not The most common reason given is person's presence. Failure to abide by the person involved, or the legal or need explicit permission. However, security but often such persons have these requirements usually means public relations department of the this is a judgment call and you should no articulated reason.
2 Security is that the person is liable for a tort such entity, and complain about the event. Your Rights and request permission when the circum- rarely a legitimate reason for restrict- as false imprisonment. (3) Make the event publicly known on Remedies When stances suggest that the owner is like- ing photography. Taking a photo- an Internet forum that deals with pho- ly to object. In any case, when a prop- graph is not a terrorist act nor can a They Have No Right to Review Your tography or civil Rights issues. Stopped or erty owner tells you not to take photo- business legitimately assert that tak- Images or Take Your Gear Confronted graphs while on the premises, you are ing a photograph of a subject in public Law enforcement officers do not How to Handle Confrontations legally obligated to honor the request. view infringes on its trade secrets. have the right to view your images Most confrontations can be defused for Photography On occasion, law enforcement offi- absent a warrant.
3 They may have the by being courteous and respectful. If Some Exceptions to the Rule cers may object to photography but authority to seize a camera or cell the party becomes pushy, combative, There are some exceptions to the most understand that people have the phone when making an arrest but still or unreasonably hostile, consider call- general rule. Fore example, com- right to take photographs and do not must obtain a warrant to search the ing the police. Above all, use good manders of military installations can interfere with photographers . They do contents. Likewise, they do not have judgment and don't allow an event to prohibit photographs of specific areas have the right to keep you away from authority to make you delete images. escalate into violence. when they deem it necessary to pro- areas where you may impede their Sometimes agents acting for entities In the event you are threatened with tect national security. The activities or endanger safety.
4 How- such as owners of industrial plants detention or asked to surrender your Department of Energy can also pro- ever, they do not have the legal right and shopping malls may demand that film, asking the following questions Updated January 2016 you delete your images or give them hibit photography of designated to prohibit you from taking photo- can help ensure that you will have the nuclear facilities although the publicly graphs from other locations. your camera. Absent a court order, evidence to enforce your legal Rights : visible areas of nuclear facilities are private parties have no right to do so. usually not designated as such. They Have Limited Rights to Bother, Taking your camera or cell phone 1. What is the person's name? About this Guide Members of the public have a very Question, or Detain You directly or by threatening to use force 2. Who is their employer? Confrontations that impair the con- limited scope of privacy Rights when Although anyone has the right to or call a law enforcement agency can 3.
5 Are you free to leave? If not, how do stitutional right to make images are they are in public places. Basically, approach a person in a public place constitute criminal offenses such as they intend to stop you if you decide becoming more common. To fight the anyone can be photographed without and ask questions, persistent and theft and coercion. It can likewise con- to leave? What legal basis do they abuse of your right to free expression, their consent except when they have unwanted conduct done without a stitute a civil tort such as conversion. assert for the detention? you need to know your Rights to take secluded themselves in places where legitimate purpose is a crime in many 4. Likewise, if they demand your cam- photographs and the remedies avail- they have a reasonable expectation of states if it causes serious annoyance. Your Legal Remedies If Harassed era or cell phone, what legal basis do able if your Rights are infringed.
6 Privacy such as dressing rooms, rest- You are under no obligation to explain If someone has threatened, intimidat- they assert for the confiscation? rooms, medical facilities, and inside the purpose of your photography nor ed, or detained you because you were The General Rule their homes. do you have to disclose your identity taking photographs, they may be Disclaimer The general rule in the United States except in states that require it upon liable for crimes such as kidnapping, This is a general education guide is that anyone may take photographs Permissible Subjects request by a law enforcement officer. coercion, and theft. In such cases, you about the right to take photographs of whatever they want when they are Despite misconceptions to the con- If the conduct goes beyond mere should report them to the police. and is necessarily limited in scope. in a public place or places where they trary, the following subjects can questioning, all states have laws that You may also have civil remedies More information about the laws that have permission to take photographs.
7 Almost always be photographed law- make coercion and harassment crimi- against such persons and their affect photography can be found in Absent a specific legal prohibition fully from public places: nal offenses. The specific elements employers. The torts for which you my book, Legal Handbook for such as a statute or ordinance, you are vary among the states but in general it may be entitled to compensation photographers (Amherst Media). legally entitled to take photographs. accident and fire scenes is unlawful for anyone to instill a fear include assault, conversion, false This guide is not intended to be legal Examples of places that are tradition- children that they may injure you, damage or imprisonment, and violation of your advice nor does it create an attorney- ally considered public are streets, celebrities take your property, or falsely accuse constitutional Rights . client relationship. sidewalks, and public parks. bridges and other infrastructure you of a crime just because you are Property owners may legally pro- residential and commercial buildings taking photographs.
8 Other Remedies If Harassed Bert P. Krages II. If you are disinclined to take legal Attorney at Law hibit photography on their premises industrial facilities and public utilities Private parties have very limited action, there are still things you can do 6665 Hampton Street, Suite 200. but have no right to prohibit others transportation facilities ( , airports) Rights to detain you against your will Portland, Oregon 97223. from photographing their property Superfund sites and may be subject to criminal and that contribute to protecting the right from other locations. Whether you criminal activities and arrests civil charges should they attempt to to take photographs. need permission from property own- law enforcement officers do so. Although the laws in most (1) Call the local newspaper and see if 2003 Bert P. Krages II.