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  1. #1
    Legal question: photographing in malls
    fleurya's Avatar
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    Legal question: photographing in malls
    Maybe some semi-pro photographers can help with with this debate:

    I mentioned to some people in class that back in June I took some photos of the iPhone release in a local mall and a security guy tried to stop me (I had a DSLR, but he didn't approach anyone with a P&S). I said it was BS because it's legal to photograph any public place. Someone told me that's absolutely untrue b/c people could be taking photos in malls for surveillance to do something illegal, so taking pictures in malls is illegal.

    I have a hard time believing taking ANY photographs in a mall is illegal, but I may not be 100% correct in my statement either. Does anyone have any knowledge of legal boundaries on photography and public places, stores, whatever? If so, can you tell me your source?
    "Give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others"

  2. #2
    MacHeadCase
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    I would guess it depends on where you live.

    Like here you cannot take a photo anywhere if someone is recognizable in the photograph: if someone is, you either have to blur the person's face out or ask his/her permission to use the photo if it is to be published.

    There is a big thing about one's privacy here. I have no idea how it is in the US or in specific states. It could be a security thing, I suppose.

  3. #3
    Legal question: photographing in malls
    MinaMACMan's Avatar
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    I am no expert but if that is true how's newspapers getting away with it? Also TV Stations. I get what MHC is saying about privacey but still doesn't make all the sense.

    It'll be interesting to hear the answer from some one who knows the real answer to this!

  4. #4
    MacHeadCase
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    A newspaper was sued by a woman who hadn't given her ok for her photo to be shown and the photo made first page. Big oops! The newspaper lost.

    Like I said, it's easy: if the photographer didn't get the ok, he blurs out the features (1 second's worth of smudge tool in Photoshop ). And of course the person has to be recognizable: if the shot is taken at 75 feet, no one can tell who is on the photo anyway. This privacy protection might not be too easy to understand for someone not living here.

    These are privacy issues are for ordinary street or public places scenes, not criminals being caught if that wasn't clear.

  5. #5
    Legal question: photographing in malls
    Kash's Avatar
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    I have two really good PDF documents about your rights as a photographer. I'll attach them to this post.
    Attached Files Attached Files

    June 2007
    July 2009

  6. #6
    Legal question: photographing in malls
    Alexis's Avatar
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    The first of those PDFs is a fantastic link. Thanks!

  7. #7
    Legal question: photographing in malls
    fleurya's Avatar
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    Thanks for the great info, Kash! It looks like I was pretty much right after all.
    "Give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others"

  8. #8
    Legal question: photographing in malls
    Village Idiot's Avatar
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    In the US, there's the reasonable expectation of privacy, which is not what you would think.

    It means that if you're in public and everyone can see you, then you have no expectation of privacy, anyone can take your picture.

    As far as publishing goes, as long as it's editorial in nature you can use it without a model release. Also, if it's sold as art, then you don't need permission.

    The second one had a really high profile case linked to it. A big name photographer took a picture of a rabbi in public and was selling the pictures for a good hunk of cash. The rabbi sued the photographer stating that he did not have his permission to take the photo. The photographer won because first, it was in public; and second, it was sold as art and not as a commercial publication (not to be confused with editorial use like in a paper or etc...)

    As far as the mall goes, that can be tricky. It's a public place, but private property. If they have a sign up that says no photography, you're technically not allowed to take pictures in their business. But, if there's no signs and you have a security gaurd asking you to stop taking pictures but not the other people, you could always claim discrimination. It's whatever the lawyers can get away with really, since there were no signs and I can probably guarantee that in the security gaurd's training that no one said "people can't photograph in here", or "No DLSR's are allowed". He was probably just being a ****.
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  9. #9
    Legal question: photographing in malls
    fleurya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Village Idiot View Post
    As far as the mall goes, that can be tricky. It's a public place, but private property. If they have a sign up that says no photography, you're technically not allowed to take pictures in their business. But, if there's no signs and you have a security gaurd asking you to stop taking pictures but not the other people, you could always claim discrimination. It's whatever the lawyers can get away with really, since there were no signs and I can probably guarantee that in the security gaurd's training that no one said "people can't photograph in here", or "No DLSR's are allowed". He was probably just being a ****.
    Since it was a big deal, there was real media there covering the story. I obviously wasn't with any part of the media, but a lot of times people see a DSLR and automatically think you're working in some professional capacity.

    I just thought it was funny that the guard seemed to think nothing of people taking pictures for personal use, but for media there was some kind of difference. If there's any logic in that, I don't understand it.
    "Give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others"

  10. #10
    Legal question: photographing in malls
    Village Idiot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fleurya View Post
    Since it was a big deal, there was real media there covering the story. I obviously wasn't with any part of the media, but a lot of times people see a DSLR and automatically think you're working in some professional capacity.

    I just thought it was funny that the guard seemed to think nothing of people taking pictures for personal use, but for media there was some kind of difference. If there's any logic in that, I don't understand it.
    If you visit POTN, there's several threads almost identical in situation to this. What a lot of these power tripping morons don't realize is that some P&S cameras out there rival DSLR cameras unless you toss a $1000 piece of glass on it. Some have IS, 10x optical zoom, and 7mp+ while some of the older DLSR's have the kit 18-55 and 4-6 mp.

    And there is the true problem. They think they're in a position of power and they're just out to ruin some one's day. Nothing against security gaurds, just people with a position like that, that think they can dictate circumstances out of their authority.
    Chaotic Evil, Level 1 IT-Tech

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  11. #11
    Legal question: photographing in malls
    Kash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Village Idiot View Post
    And there is the true problem. They think they're in a position of power and they're just out to ruin some one's day. Nothing against security gaurds, just people with a position like that, that think they can dictate circumstances out of their authority.
    QFT

    Which is why it's best to know the law and your rights. That way you can verbally slap the guard/cop around, which is endless amounts of fun

    June 2007
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  12. #12
    Legal question: photographing in malls

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    keep in mind the mall is privately owed and NOT a public place.

  13. #13
    Legal question: photographing in malls
    PowerBookG4's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kash View Post
    QFT

    Which is why it's best to know the law and your rights. That way you can verbally slap the guard/cop around, which is endless amounts of fun
    truely is a lot of fun.
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  14. #14
    Legal question: photographing in malls

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    My aunt was video taping her two little kids at the mall, and security almost kicked them out. Security thought she was a terrorist. My aunt, her husband, a 6 year old, and a 9 year old. Terrorists?!

    Stupid security!

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