Friday, January 20, 2006

May I Take a Photograph?

Digital cameras are everywhere. In cell phones, pockets, briefcases, purses, hanging from wrists and necks. And we are using them. In my opinion, we are using them more than we ever used film. But at the same time we are hearing more and more about places that are prohibiting photography.

This week in USA Today, Andrew Kantor wrote an article about what rights one has with a camera. In general he says that if you can see it, you can shoot it. There are limitations such as being on military bases or in government buildings but if the property is open to the public such as the lobbies of buildings, then you have a right to shoot. He also says that you can refuse to give someone your film or memory card unless they have a court order. And he makes distinctions between taking the photograph and publishing the photograph.

But it all gets a little murky when you are banded from a place of business for taking pictures, like a mall, and you come back into the mall, then you are trespassing. So it would seem that although you have the right to photograph, the owners of a property also have the right to refuse to let you on their property.

It is an interesting article and while it seems to be on the side of the rights of a photographer, I think that he is sweeping some of the issues under the rug for the professional or fine arts photographer.

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