Friday 18 April 2008

Photographer's Rights

Just read an article at BBC Online regarding photographer's rights. With public anxiety over terrorism and paedophilia on the increase, more and more photographers are finding themselves challenged when pursuing their hobby in public. A motion has been tabled in the Commons and a petition started on the Number 10 e-petition site to raise awareness of this issue. In principle the more militant amongst the photographic community could carry a card in their camera bag stating:

You are reminded that under UK law, there are no restrictions on taking photographs in a public place or on photography of individuals, whether they are adults or minors. There is no right to privacy in a public place, although photographers are of course subject to the usual libel laws in the same way as any other citizen and should observe them. Equipment or film may not be confiscated, or images deleted by any person or officer unlesss a warrant for such action is issued. Any attempt without a warrant is considered assault under UK law.

However, further reading made me realise that a key caveat is determining whether you are in a 'public place' or a 'place to which the public has access'. Many parks, for example, owned by local authorities fall under the latter category, and as such, entry comes with terms and conditions - such as permission being required to take photographs. If you're asked to desist from taking photos of your own children by an officious park attendant, it appears that the law may not be on your side after all.

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