Author Topic: Photography law?  (Read 6319 times)

Offline Stutroup

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Photography law?
« on: October 19, 2009, 21:27 »
I used to be able to easily find a list of photography-related laws by state.  Now I can't, so I did a little digging on my own.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but in Georgia:

It is legal to photograph people in a public area without permission, and in a private area as long as it is fully viewable from a public area without use of special equipment (i.e. periscope, ladder, usage of a different part of the EM spectrum to gather the image) as long as two conditions are met:
1.)  The subject does not have an expectation of privacy (reading a bill, attending an anonymous meeting such as AA)
2.) The photograph does not present the individual in a false light

I know I'm probably wrong in this.  But I would like to know what my rights as a photographer (amateur or otherwise) in case some complaints arise (ahem ... from a certain controversial organization)

Offline mefree

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Re: Photography law?
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2009, 21:53 »
This might help:

http://www.rhetcomp.gsu.edu/~jbowie/3120_F09/schedule.html

and I thought this site had some very useful information:

http://castlegate-nc.com/page28.html
Quote
Although not always considered ethical, some photographers try to "hide" to take photographs of people in public places.  Hiding may generally be defined as shooting through a window of a building or from behind one-way or tinted glass in a vehicle. This is generally done if the photographer feels the subjects may not act "normal" if the presence of the camera or equipment is obvious.   In North Carolina, this is a legal activity.

Thirteen states have banned this form of photography, including the following:

Alabama, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, South Dakota and Utah.


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Offline Stutroup

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Re: Photography law?
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2009, 04:16 »
I'll have to look over the site you linked first, later.

But the second, which you quoted, surprises me. I didn't expect an answer from such a complete opposite perspective!

Scientology engages in the practice which is described there.  If that really is illegal in Georgia (although I have to admit that law goes just a touch too far), would it ever be worth collecting the evidence against them?

I can't say it would necessarily be worth the trouble, but still.

====================
break for small rant
====================

Side note about that law:  Candid photography is very fun, and I know many who take it seriously and strive for ways to not be so apparently taking photographs in the street.  There are even devices to make it less apparent!

The thing about it is that ... for example, I have a 300mm lens and fast lenses go upwards of 600mm (though those are sometimes over $10k), and are often used to candid photography for the sake of keeping the photographer out of the way of the subjects.

When in reality, the law should only go as far as expectation of privacy and casting a false light.  Hiding close will basically get the same information as zooming from too far for the person to realize they are the photographic subject. And as long as the subject is in public, it's a given that EVERYONE can see what they are doing.

Offline SocialTransparency

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Re: Photography law?
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2009, 10:21 »
If your in a public place and take photos that are not used to sell/financially profit from, then your ok in Ga. As far as using photos to gather information?I think you are ok there also.

Offline Stutroup

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Re: Photography law?
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2009, 19:18 »
If your in a public place and take photos that are not used to sell/financially profit from, then your ok in Ga. As far as using photos to gather information?I think you are ok there also.

Thanks.  I thought it would be something like that.

Offline ethercat

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Re: Photography law?
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2010, 01:45 »
http://law.justia.com/georgia/codes/16/16-11-60.html

16-11-60.
As used within this part, the term:
(1) 'Device' means an instrument or apparatus used for overhearing, recording, intercepting, or transmitting sounds or for observing, photographing, videotaping, recording, or transmitting visual images and which involves in its operation electricity, electronics, or infrared, laser, or similar beams. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, the term 'device' shall specifically include any camera, photographic equipment, video equipment, or other similar equipment or any electronic, mechanical, or other apparatus which can be used to intercept a wire, oral, or electronic communication other than:
(A) Any telephone or telegraph instrument, equipment, or facility or any component thereof:
(i) Furnished to the subscriber or user by a provider of wire or electronic communication service in the ordinary course of its business and being used by the subscriber or user in the ordinary course of its business or furnished by such subscriber or user for connection to the facilities of such service and used in the ordinary course of its business; or
(ii) Being used by a provider of wire or electronic communication service in the ordinary course of its business or by an investigative or law enforcement officer in the ordinary course of his or her duties; or
(B) A hearing aid or similar device being used to correct subnormal hearing to not better than normal;
(C) Focusing, lighting, or illuminating equipment, optical magnifying equipment; and
(D) A 'pen register' or 'trap and trace device' as defined in this Code section.
(2) 'Pen register' means a device or process which records or decodes dialing, routing, addressing, or signaling information transmitted by an instrument or facility from which a wire or electronic communication is transmitted; provided, however, that such information shall not include the contents of any communication; but such term does not include any device or process used by a provider or customer of a wire or electronic communication service for billing, or recording as an incident to billing, for communications services provided by such provider or any device or process used by a provider or customer of a wire communication service for cost accounting or other like purposes in the ordinary course its business.
(3) 'Private place' means a place where one is entitled reasonably to expect to be safe from casual or hostile intrusion or surveillance.
(4) 'Trap and trace device' means a device or process which captures the incoming electronic or other impulses which identify the originating number or other dialing, routing, addressing, and signaling information reasonably likely to identify the source of a wire or electronic communication; provided, however, that such information shall not include the contents of any communication.

http://law.justia.com/georgia/codes/16/16-11-62.html

16-11-62.
It shall be unlawful for:
(1) Any person in a clandestine manner intentionally to overhear, transmit, or record or attempt to overhear, transmit, or record the private conversation of another which shall originate in any private place;
(2) Any person, through the use of any device, without the consent of all persons observed, to observe, photograph, or record the activities of another which occur in any private place and out of public view; provided, however, that it shall not be unlawful:
(A) To use any device to observe, photograph, or record the activities of persons incarcerated in any jail, correctional institution, or any other facility in which persons who are charged with or who have been convicted of the commission of a crime are incarcerated, provided that such equipment shall not be used while the prisoner is discussing his or her case with his or her attorney;
(B) For an owner or occupier of real property to use for security purposes, crime prevention, or crime detection any device to observe, photograph, or record the activities of persons who are on the property or an approach thereto in areas where there is no reasonable expectation of privacy; or
(C) To use for security purposes, crime prevention, or crime detection any device to observe, photograph, or record the activities of persons who are within the curtilage of the residence of the person using such device. A photograph, videotape, or record made in accordance with this subparagraph, or a copy thereof, may be disclosed by such resident to the district attorney or a law enforcement officer and shall be admissible in a judicial proceeding, without the consent of any person observed, photographed, or recorded;
(3) Any person to go on or about the premises of another or any private place, except as otherwise provided by law, for the purpose of invading the privacy of others by eavesdropping upon their conversations or secretly observing their activities;
(4) Any person intentionally and secretly to intercept by the use of any device, instrument, or apparatus the contents of a message sent by telephone, telegraph, letter, or by any other means of private communication;
(5) Any person to divulge to any unauthorized person or authority the content or substance of any private message intercepted lawfully in the manner provided for in Code Section 16-11-65;
(6) Any person to sell, give, or distribute, without legal authority, to any person or entity any photograph, videotape, or record, or copies thereof, of the activities of another which occur in any private place and out of public view without the consent of all persons observed; or
(7) Any person to commit any other acts of a nature similar to those set out in paragraphs (1) through (6) of this Code section which invade the privacy of another.


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Offline Lorelei

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Re: Photography law?
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2010, 09:35 »
But the second, which you quoted, surprises me. I didn't expect an answer from such a complete opposite perspective!

Scientology engages in the practice which is described there.  If that really is illegal in Georgia (although I have to admit that law goes just a touch too far), would it ever be worth collecting the evidence against them?

I was JUST going to say...!

They have a habit of hiding in the shrubberies and using long lenses and the intent is clearly to get photos of car tags and protesters (etc.) without being noticed. (Of course, they shoot pictures & videos openly, as well.) I suppose they don't realize that sunlight glinting off a lens positioned dead center in a clump of dense bushes, or the not-very-subtle process of an adult skulking around with a huge camera and then squatting in some hedges are two things that inevitably get noticed, precisely because they are being weirdly (and, apparently, illegally) covert abou their picture-taking when there is really no need to be.

All they'd have to do is ASK, and we'd gladly smile and wave for the cameras. Sheesh.

Also, you mention that there are ways to get more candid images. A photographer friend of mine uses a vintage camera that stays on his chest and has a big viewfinder on top. Because he never lifts it to his face, he gets excellent candid snaps. Of course, he also weeds out unflattering ones and shows the rest to everyone he recognizes in them, and offers dupes if they want them.

I think I mentioned this to you before, and knew the name of the camera then, but my propernounitis is kicking up and I can't recall it now. It's a pretty cool rig.
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Offline SocialTransparency

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Re: Photography law?
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2010, 12:37 »
 Lorelie. Sounds like a Rolliflex camera to me. As a Cinematographer/Videographer/photographer working as a free lancer for over 20+ years, I NEVER have had an issue with image acquisition from a legal standpoint in the public arena. Yet I do understand there are laws pertaining to stalking/predator/porn usage of some ones image without their consent.

 Now in the corporate arena, things are very different, so it is on a governmental level. When money or national security are involved, things get really weird.

 In answer to Stu's question about law and scientologists covertly taking ones photo in public, well let them. The local idiots probably learned months ago, we activists in Georgia laugh @ their cold war camera era tech!  ;D

Offline ethercat

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Re: Photography law?
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2010, 14:12 »
I searched the Georgia laws at this site: http://law.justia.com/georgia/codes/index.html  There were only 2 laws that I found which I considered applicable; other laws dealt with photos submitted as evidence, photos used on IDs or upon booking into jail, photos of items for sale, etc.  (I am not a lawyer, so it is possible that I may have missed something.)

The way I read the law posted above, there is only law in Georgia regarding photos taken when there is an expectation of privacy.  There appears to be no law regarding photos taken covertly, for example, by someone hiding in the bushes.  The only other law I found was in regard to photos taken at a polling place.

Other laws do come into play regarding photos; for instance, defamation of character and commercial use (when a model's release is required), but they deal with what happens after a photo is taken (how a photo is used), not the actual taking of photos.

The author of http://castlegate-nc.com/page28.html offers no links to support his claim that Georgia (and the 12 other states) has enacted laws against hiding while taking a photograph.  He does have an email address and a phone number on the site (http://castlegate-nc.com/page21.html, so perhaps a call or email to inquire where he got his information would be warranted.  He is not a legal authority; he is a photographer and filmmaker (and his blue on black links are hard on the eyes).

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Offline mefree

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Re: Photography law?
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2010, 14:41 »
I'm wondering if the author was referring in part to this.

16-11-61.
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to be a 'peeping Tom' on or about the premises of another or to go about or upon the premises of another for the purpose of becoming a 'peeping Tom.'
(b) As used in this Code section, the term 'peeping Tom' means a person who peeps through windows or doors, or other like places, on or about the premises of another for the purpose of spying upon or invading the privacy of the persons spied upon and the doing of any other acts of a similar nature which invade the privacy of such persons.

I agree that the law appears to apply where there is an expectation of privacy.
http://www.rcfp.org/handbook/c03p02.html

Quote
Does the photo subject expect privacy?

Even on public property, you can’t photograph somebody who has a “reasonable expectation of privacy.” Basically, that means you can’t snap shots of people in the bathroom, a dressing room, or similar places. Ask yourself: “Would the average person expect privacy?” If so, don’t take a photo

http://www.legalandrew.com/2007/10/11/photo-law-your-right-to-take-pictures-in-public/
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Offline Lorelei

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Re: Photography law?
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2010, 16:33 »
Rolliflex sounds right. Thanks!
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in the next generation that the revolution is accomplished." -- Jean d'Alembert

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