Important news for photographer's rights (at least in U.S.)

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by JohnMeadows, Jan 27, 2011.

  1. JohnMeadows

    JohnMeadows Subscriber

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    Good news on rights settlement: http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/27/see-officer-i-can-too-take-that-picture/

    However, does it really matter if Officer Bubba decides he doesn't want you taking pictures? Police make up their own rules, and then rely on ignorance and intimidation.

    And we all know that if a terrorist wants to take a picture, they won't use a cell phone camera or something easy to hide; every self-respecting Jihadist has an 11 x 14 View camera, and shoots wet plates :smile:
     
  2. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

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    Yes, I've had an occasional run-in with the rare ignorant police officer who needs to find real work. I think it's an excuse so they don't have to deal with the real criminals on the street.
     
  3. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    the only time i had trouble with the police was when i was
    in my early 20s and i acted like i was in my early 20s ...
    i've never had trouble with police while making photographs
    it is usually the general public that gives me trouble ...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 27, 2011
  4. lns

    lns Member

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    This covers only photography of federal buildings. More specifically, the exterior of federal buildings photographed from publicly accessible (exterior) spaces, like sidewalks. It only states the obvious, informing federal employees that such photography or videotaping is legally permissible.

    Note that it also advises federal officers to interview the photographer to determine whether there is a reasonable belief of criminal behavior or terrorist reconnaissance activity by the photographer. It's not exactly a ringing endorsement of photographer's rights.

    In fact, it makes me think if I go take a picture of my federal courthouse, there is no question that I will be stopped and interviewed, whereas I wouldn't have assumed that before.

    Don't forget that many states have their own restrictions enforced by local police, some of which are draconian. In addition, most privately owned buildings also have restrictions about photography on their premises.

    -Laura

    That said, I don't think it's nice, or helpful, to call police officers "Officer Bubba." They have difficult jobs and probably have good days and bad days like all of us.
     
  5. Revolucion Artistico

    Revolucion Artistico Member

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    I can relate to the early 20's comment, only problem is I'm in my late 20's and the problem still has not gone away... I just have a real problem with ANYONE telling someone they can't do something that is not illegal, immoral, etc. that is not hurting anyone else. It just so happens that photography is my hobby so if someone tells me I can't do that when I know I can it's a real pet peeve.
     
  6. JohnMeadows

    JohnMeadows Subscriber

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    Hi Laura:

    I used a crude stereotype I admit, but there is so much citizen journalism showing police/security guards etc. throwing their weight around that this has gone far beyond good days and bad days. The problem of police and others misusing their authority is systemic. As a resident of Toronto, I only have to think back to the G20 debacle last year for a truly disturbing example :-(
     
  7. semeuse

    semeuse Member

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    I was in Paris a few years ago, walking back from the Louvre, when I looked to my left and noticed a view of the Eiffel tower I had never seen. It was perfect (I thought), pedestrians, a statue and the tower off in the back. I put down my bag and turned to frame the shot when a police officer tapped me on the shoulder. I turned and he wagged his finger - "No no." "But..." and I pointed at the tower. He pointed at the door of the building I was standing in front of - The Ministry of the Navy. I sighed and started to pick up my bag. He smiled and said "Un." That is one of my favorite memories of my trip to France. (That was early 2002, btw)
     
  8. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Member

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    I have to agree with Laura on this one. I read this thing and it kind of made me uncomfortable. It seems like they are advising folks that they should suspect everyone who photographs a federal building of being criminals or terrorists. One quote got me: "Observe the individual's actions until such time that you believe that a Field Interview (FI) is warranted." So, by photographing a federal building, you should be expecting that you will be watched the whole time and probably approached for questioning. Also "Conduct a FI to determine the purpose for taking photographs of the facility and endeavor to ascertain the identity of the individual." So, it is pretty much expected that you will be asked to product ID and questioned about your motives. If the person does not wish to provide ID, does this then rise to the level of Reasonable Suspicion?

    I am not at all a conspiracy nut but this doesn't really feel to me like the victory it is supposed to represent. Maybe they can't take your camera or film or make you erase your images, but it seems that they can make your life uncomfortable enough that you will think you should never try that again.
     
  9. michaelbsc

    michaelbsc Member

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    Hey, I've been singing the song around here (and a lot of other places as well) that the struggle between the conservatives and the liberals is a smokescreen.

    The *REAL* struggle is between the oligarchy and the populace.

    I'll grant you that there probably is ten cents worth of difference between Pelosi and Boehner, but I doubt there's a dollars worth of difference. They're both career political creatures catering to different audiences. Pick them up and exchange places, and pretty soon they'll be singing opposite tunes once they figure out what words will get the reelected.
     
  10. Revolucion Artistico

    Revolucion Artistico Member

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    Hahaha I'm with you Michael, problem is that must people, especially younger people like myself, have no idea what an oligarchy is, let alone that we live in one!
     
  11. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    IME, it is usually the police who are backing me up when some shop owner or other nut job is going off on me for shooting from public property, and coercing me, harassing me, threatening me, etc. Once I see a conversation with such a person is going nowhere (usually takes only a sentence or two at most to figure it out), I tell them the conversation is over and to call the police if they want to keep talking.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 28, 2011
  12. walbergb

    walbergb Subscriber

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    What about private sector buildings? I was trying to photograph some of the buildings in New York (downtown, Lincoln Center), and every time some "security" guy/gal was out to stop me day or night. I would love to have a similar document to show them.
     
  13. jacarape

    jacarape Member

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    I was harassed every where I went, I couldn't even take a photo of a pigeon in Central Park without an FI. So I bought a Leica, now everybody thinks I'm a dentist, not a terrorist.
     
  14. michaelbsc

    michaelbsc Member

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    The rule is that you as a citizen have the right to be standing in a public place. Period.

    Of course that isn't what an overzealous wingnut security guard will say, but a knowledgeable one will know that.

    Step on to private property and the property owner can make the rules. For example, you can stand on the sidewalk and take a picture of a private building so long as you aren't violating the law about impediment of traffic. But if you step off the sidewalk into the building grounds, even if there is no fence, then you are on their property.

    Any deeper analysis than this you need a local lawyer. The rules are different all over the place.
     
  15. walbergb

    walbergb Subscriber

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    I hear you Michael. To argue my rights was my first inclination, but I quickly figured it was a fight best left to another day when I was better prepared. Having a document such as the one that started this thread but with broader applications would be just the ammunition I need. Now you will have to excuse me; I see a building that needs photographing:smile:
     
  16. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    Nor does it address the problem of rent-a-cops. Sworn Federal law enforcement officers I've encountered have never given me any trouble. It's the low life contractors they hire who have always run me off.
     
  17. michaelbsc

    michaelbsc Member

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    That mirrors my experience. It's the wannabes that cause us grief.
     
  18. walbergb

    walbergb Subscriber

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