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Author I'm a photographer, not a terrorist!
Vanoord

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I'm a photographer, not a terrorist!
Posted: 11/08/2009 16:51:46
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Report on the Beeb which may be of some relevance to people who photograph, well, pretty much anything:

Edited highlights:

Photography seems to be going through many changes. To coin an overused phrase, everyone is a photographer now. Cameras are relatively cheap and once you've bought it then that's it, each frame gets cheaper the more you shoot. Take a walk along the pavement in any city and you'll find tourists and keen photographers taking pictures of anything and everything.

Yet conversely, a growing number of photographers feel that it is becoming harder to shoot pictures in public spaces without legal restraint, or suspicion from members of the public.

Much of this seems to stem from the increase in security concerns around photography, which in London at least revolved around a Metropolitan Police campaign in 2008 that asked people to report suspicious activity by photographers.

A growing band of press photographers are now campaigning against what they see as an erosion of press freedom and their rights to take pictures in public. "I'm a Photographer, Not a Terrorist!" aims to help photographers understand and uphold their legal rights.

The I'm a Photographer, Not a Terrorist website provides information such as a "bust card" that outlines rights and police powers under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000, as well as a map that shows areas in the UK where photography is restricted by law. This map will be updated as reports come in of further incidents and restrictions.


[web link] to article.

[web link] to "Bust Card", which may be useful to have a copy of just so eager young policemen and 'hobby bobbies' can be reminded of what they can and can't do.

[web link] to map of places where photography is prohibited by law. Also a handy guide for would-be troublemakers. And a great guessing game to see what's missing...

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ICLOK

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I'm a photographer, not a terrorist!
Posted: 11/08/2009 18:23:16
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Keep bangin the drum and demand you're rights as a photographer... people are seeming to listen now and the more factual data such as in this link the better...
Please carry the card with your rights on and use them.. Several rail and airliner photographers I know (inc me) already carry this card or similar...

I recently very much enjoyed explaining slowly and carefully to a pretend policeman, who had started giving me and 4 friends a loud 3rd degree re why taking photos of a certain large station in the West Mids was not allowed, Roll Eyes that the following applied-

a) rail photography was allowed by Network Rail (and we produced their official statement confirming that)
b) photography is not illegal in a public place and that we did not need permission as I was not even on NW property (and I produced my little card with the relevent salient points of law on)
c) we were not going to give him any details re ID etc as by law we don't have too..

He reached for his radio looking somewhat confused/unsure then said "oh er just establishing what you were doing" and quietly departed.... there really wasn't much else he could do...

I thoroughly enjoyed the experience... the trick being to keep calm & explain carefully and objectively... And criticise me if you like but it felt good... very very good indeed! Thumbs Up

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IP: 78.145.182.108 Edited: 11/08/2009 18:26:25 by ICLOK
Vanoord

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I'm a photographer, not a terrorist!
Posted: 22/08/2009 17:33:11
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Bump!

[web link] to a similar version of photographers' rights, kindly provided by rikj Flowers

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IP: 81.130.81.119 Edited: 22/08/2009 17:37:30 by Vanoord
AndyC

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Posted: 22/08/2009 18:03:48
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There is something I have wondered but would love clarification of.

Having read V1 of the article (and will readV2 now). Is there any difference between the rights of one with a stills camera, and those of one with a video camera?


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Vanoord

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Posted: 22/08/2009 18:09:56
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My gut feeling would be that there is no legal difference, but that if it came to an invasion of privacy accusation, then video would be viewed more dimly.

To cause an invasion of privacy, I'd imagine that there would have to be an element of causing harm through distribution of the material. Thus, I wouldn't think that video of mines / industrial archaeological remains would be likely to cause any issues.

I stand happy to be corrected though...

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ICLOK

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Posted: 22/08/2009 20:17:04
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No legal difference I am told... the same rules apply and the same rules re invasion of privacy.

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'Sir, I am unaware of any such activity or operation - nor would I be disposed to discuss such an operation if it did in fact exist, sir.'
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JohnnearCfon

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I'm a photographer, not a terrorist!
Posted: 22/08/2009 20:32:05
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Well!!!!!!!!!

The reason I wanted clarification was nothing to do with mining It was to help a friend (long story). I took some photos and the person dialled 999. I have now got home and have just had a police warning for harrassment! Grrrrrrrrrr!!!! Even though it was a one off event!! And I was threatened too!!! but I got the warning!!!!!

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JohnnearCfon

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Posted: 22/08/2009 20:33:10
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Don't take above rant as a dig at any of the kind persons who replied, I just needed to vent my anger.

Sorry.

Oh yes, I did show him the papers.

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ICLOK

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Posted: 22/08/2009 20:38:56
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Where you on public property? If so you can photograph anything you like apart from Nuke bases and stuff... I presume you didn't have your lens thru his front window for instance...

You can film onto private property off a public space... If you have kept within the rules put in a written complaint to the police!

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'Sir, I am unaware of any such activity or operation - nor would I be disposed to discuss such an operation if it did in fact exist, sir.'
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JohnnearCfon

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Posted: 22/08/2009 20:50:15
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I was on a puiblic footpath crossing a field. I was not near the house. I was photographing the owner of the adjacent field using his JCB.

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ICLOK

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Posted: 22/08/2009 21:12:58
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Harassment is a course of behaviour not a one off plus as long as the photography wasn't for commercial purposes (you weren't getting paid) I think they are in the wrong.... [web link]

I would be writing to the Chief Constable and asking how you were harassing anybody by simply taking a picture or two on a one off occasion... was the footpath you were on even on the guy in questions land... if not I don't think they have a leg to stand on.

EDIT apologies for re-posting same link....

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'Sir, I am unaware of any such activity or operation - nor would I be disposed to discuss such an operation if it did in fact exist, sir.'
IP: 78.145.164.108 Edited: 22/08/2009 21:19:26 by ICLOK
JohnnearCfon

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Posted: 22/08/2009 21:20:36
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I took 4 or 5 photos. One when he was coming over the fence at me. The field where footpath was is not his land. He then stood in that field and dialled 999. I made my way back then.

The police's argument is because I took several photos after he told me to stop (which he didn't actually do although his girlfriend told me to **** off a couple of times).

I had not done it on any previous occasion.

The ironic bit is he has photographed my friend with his mobile on a number of occasions including this morning, but that isn't harrasment! oh, and she doesn't own the field where path is either but a third land owner.

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Cadwch Cymru'n daclus-Taflwch eich ysbwriel yn LLoeger
IP: 84.13.30.237 Edited: 22/08/2009 21:22:19 by JohnnearCfon
ICLOK

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Posted: 22/08/2009 21:51:13
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Def do not take that lying down.... I would write and demand a full legal explanation of the polices actions (from the Chief Constable) as to what law your action constituted harassment, also explain you were on a public footpath and as you have the right to pretty much photograph anything you like inc people, ask that he please clarify the law re how your taking of pictures in a public place constituted harassment and what law was applied... You don't seem to have committed an act of harassment and you I can't see how you broke the law on photography even if you had carried on photographing the guy (or every photographer in the UK would be screwed),.... did you take the officers details? and I take it was only a verbal warning, if they were serious surely it would have been a caution?

I never drop BS like this and if they cannot explain their actions in legal terms, write again until they do and demand an apology or you will take it to the Police Complaints Authority..... that usually focuses their attention...

Sounds like abit of local bobby law interpretation!!

I know its a lot of letter writing and mither, but I would not drop this... but then I never do.... but thats me! Angry

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'Sir, I am unaware of any such activity or operation - nor would I be disposed to discuss such an operation if it did in fact exist, sir.'
IP: 78.145.164.108 Edited: 22/08/2009 22:03:24 by ICLOK
Gwyn

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Posted: 22/08/2009 22:40:23
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I quote:-
The basic principle is that the law confers on member of the public generally the right to "pass and repass" along rights of way "on their lawful occasions". In doing so they do not commit trespass against the owner of the land over which they pass. In addition to such journeying, members of the public may also do things which may be regarded as "reasonably incidental" to passage; stock illustrations being to pause in order to rest, or in order to admire a view. But persons using a right of way must not use it for purposes other than those described above; and if they do so they become trespassers on the land in question.
I am unable to find a case (in similar circumstances) where photography has been defined as reasonably incidental.
Harrison v Duke of Rutland [1893] 1 QB 142
Hickman v Maisey [1900] 1 QB 752
R. v Pratt [1855] 4E1 & B1 860
Randell v Tarrant [1955] 1 All ER 600
The above cases are regarded as "standard case law", check them out.
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rikj

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Posted: 22/08/2009 22:41:55
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Laws are not absolute, but interpreted. I don't take many photographs of people, but have always felt that if someone asked me to stop photographing them I would. And that if I didn't I would be open to charges of harassment.

Of course, if that person was doing something that I felt was morally wrong or illegal, then I might continue and take the consequences!

A "course of conduct" is not a defined period of time. It could be anything from seconds to years. Similarly, an "occasion" is merely an event or incident. Each time a shutter is pressed could be taken to be an occasion.



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ICLOK

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Posted: 22/08/2009 23:42:21
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If I am in a public place and decide I want to photograph somebody doing something interesting or for whatever reason, be it to record someones actions or as just part of a photo shoot, or for the hell of it cos it looks a good photo, my pressing of the shutter does not constitute harassment or any breaking of the law and I do not need their permission. I had this conversation with some very senior policeman I know who were on the way to a conf in London last year on the same train as me and they were in no doubt at all that was the case, I was pleasantly surprised as they seemed to know the law re photography in full.
Having taken your pics within your rights it could at a push be construed as harassment that having been asked to stop you carried shoving your camera in their face or followed them etc, but I doubt even then it would go any where as just about every photo journalist in Britain would be so charged...
It is not illegal to take pics nor is it harrasment just because the subject does not agree to being your subject particularly as a one off.. whatever your reason for taking the pics...

The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) states: 'Police officers may not prevent someone from taking a photograph in public unless they suspect criminal or terrorist intent,' they also say. 'Their powers are strictly regulated by law and once an image has been recorded, the police have no power to delete or confiscate it without a court order.'

And taking pictures of somebody does not constitute a crime last time I looked...

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'Sir, I am unaware of any such activity or operation - nor would I be disposed to discuss such an operation if it did in fact exist, sir.'
IP: 78.145.164.108 Edited: 22/08/2009 23:43:46 by ICLOK
ICLOK

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Posted: 23/08/2009 00:01:23
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Gwyn ... are you saying that in law taking a picture on a public footpath is trespass??? If so has this ever been tested in court and what was the result?
I have never heard of anyone going to court over photography from a public footpath... anything you could give me on this would be good as this flies in the face of legal advise received by some photography groups particularly Aviation.

Regs ICLOK

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rhychydwr

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I'm a photographer, not a terrorist!
Posted: 23/08/2009 08:45:10
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I'm a photographer, not a terrorist!
http://photographernotaterrorist.org/map/

My favorite, this chap downloaded 3k portraits
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Dcoetzee/NPG_legal_threat

and looks as if he got away with it, as he is in the USA.

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JohnnearCfon

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Posted: 23/08/2009 13:00:06
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To be quite honest, this event is doing my head in!

I had better say there is an ongoing friction between my friend who owns property (a) and her neighbour, who owns adjacent property (b).

I proceeded along a footpath (first part of which also a restricted byway, formerly a RUPP) from her land, which continues on property (c) (not going onto property (b)). I walked some distance on this path pausing to take photos of neighbour in his JCB a few yards from boundary fence. I continued way beyond him, I would guess 3 or 4 hundred yards, before returning and taking a few more as I passed. At this point he started verbally abusing me and hurled himself over the fence (got a lovely pic of that) at that point he dialled 999. from a way into property (c) not on footpath! I took one more photo of him on phone and carried on.

Later in afternoon, when his girlfriend drove from the property (they don't live there BTW) she stopped on the driveway leading to the public road something she has no right to do, only a right of access. This is part of the ongoing dispute. I took several photos from a reasonable distance (50 yards?) over a period of time, say 7 or 8 minutes, showing her parked there, this is as requested by my friends solicitor who is asking for photographs of all the goings on. At that point I was on my friend's property (a) taking photos of property (a) area!

Sorry to Simon for taking this way off topic of mine exploring! It certainly wasn't my intention when I asked the question yesterday!

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rhychydwr

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Posted: 23/08/2009 13:05:00
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JohnnearCfon - no problem fascinating story. Let us know how you get on.

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