About photographs – what is allowed?

Question by Anna B: About photographs – what is allowed?
So if understand correctly then you don’t need the individuals permission to take pictures of people in public places (for example to post in a blog or newspaper article) – is that right? What about property? Would you be allowed to photograph and use the picture of somebodies house or car without their permission if the address or license plate isn’t visible? What about public buildings – are all of them allowed?

Best answer:

Answer by WRG
In most cases if you are in a public place and taking a photo of something that can be seen from a public place you are in the clear.

Some states have passed laws re:license plates but other than that you are good to go.

What do you think? Answer below!

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2 Responses to About photographs – what is allowed?

  1. Poz says:

    The Ten Legal Commandments of Photography

    I. Anyone in a public place can take pictures of anything they want. Public places include parks, sidewalks, malls, etc. Malls? Yeah. Even though it’s technically private property, being open to the public makes it public space.

    II. If you are on public property, you can take pictures of private property. If a building, for example, is visible from the sidewalk, it’s fair game.

    III. If you are on private property and are asked not to take pictures, you are obligated to honor that request. This includes posted signs.

    IV. Sensitive government buildings (military bases, nuclear facilities) can prohibit photography if it is deemed a threat to national security.

    V. People can be photographed if they are in public (without their consent) unless they have secluded themselves and can expect a reasonable degree of privacy. Kids swimming in a fountain? Okay. Somebody entering their PIN at the ATM? Not okay.

    VI. The following can almost always be photographed from public places, despite popular opinion:

    * accident & fire scenes, criminal activities
    * bridges & other infrastructure, transportation facilities (i.e. airports)
    * industrial facilities, Superfund sites
    * public utilities, residential & commercial buildings
    * children, celebrities, law enforcement officers
    * UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, Chuck Norris

    VII. Although “security” is often given as the reason somebody doesn’t want you to take photos, it’s rarely valid. Taking a photo of a publicly visible subject does not constitute terrorism, nor does it infringe on a company’s trade secrets.

    VIII. If you are challenged, you do not have to explain why you are taking pictures, nor to you have to disclose your identity (except in some cases when questioned by a law enforcement officer.)

    IX. Private parties have very limited rights to detain you against your will, and can be subject to legal action if they harass you.

    X. If someone tries to confiscate your camera and/or film, you don’t have to give it to them. If they take it by force or threaten you, they can be liable for things like theft and coercion. Even law enforcement officers need a court order.

  2. Caoedhen says:

    Those 10 commandments (wishes) will get you in trouble.

    A mall is private property, period. Being open to the public does not change that in any way, and you can (and will) be forcefully removed from that property if they ask you to not take photographs, and you do it anyway. You can scream about how you read on the internet that you can all day long, but it won’t help you. Make a big enough ass of yourself, and you will be removed to jail.

    You don’t need permission to take a photo of a person, vehicle, or building as long as you are in a place where you are legally allowed to be when you take the shot. You do need permission to use the photograph for any commercial purpose. Editorial use does not require permission.

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