Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2001/06/21

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Subject: [Leica] photography in stores, malls, etc.
From: Stephen Patriquen <>
Date: Thu, 21 Jun 2001 02:36:53 -0700 (PDT)

This seems to be a recurring subject, and it appears
that while frustrating to many of us, the law is
relatively clear on what rights we have and what
rights property owners have.

However, more important to me a a couple of associated

First, there are only a few places where it is
*illegal* to *take* a photograph. The best example I
know is in a court room (or court house) where (at
least in Canada) you can be found instantly in
contempt and literally "go directly to jail". Oddly,
different court houses (again in Canada) have
differing rules. Some allow no photography anywhere
(and fellow Americans should note that cameras in the
court room in Canada are almost unheard of). Other
court houses allow photography in designated areas,
varying from a specific, signed, location to

It is also quite risky to photograph military
installations anywhere. Just being present in the
wrong place can get you arrested. Taking pictures
makes it worse. OTOH, photography is encouraged at air
shows and the like.

But really, can't we can walk into Home Depot or The
Mall and take photos to our hearts content until
someone tells us to stop? There is no *law* (in the US
or Canada, or the UK) against taking pictures in the
Mall, HD, or at concerts. What we have is a property
"owner" (rightfully) restricting the privilege of
access based on some terms.

If I am taking pictures in Home Depot, and they tell
me to stop and I don't, I'm certain they can evict me,
probably even bar me from return - but I have broken
no law, I also imagine it would be very difficult for
them to take any action against me, as I did no damage
and they suffered no loss. I know I'm on thin ice here
(I'm no lawyer) but I'm sure I'll be corrected :-)

Further, they have no right to my film (that would be
theft on their part).

I think this is an important point. Sign or no sign, I
can take pictures until told to stop. The sign is just
an interim measure (at Fry's it appears no one is
around to tell you :-)

Finally, many of you may be aware that Canada and the
UK both routinely "prohibit the identification" of
some individuals - most typically a minor victim of a
sexually-related offence.

Note this does not prohibit you from photographing
this person (sometimes the perpetrator is a family
member, and therefore their identification is also
prohibited) but only the *act* of identifying them to
others (i.e. publication of this photograph).

Similarly, the new French laws on privacy and the
recent Québec ruling on publication of an individual's
likeness both appear to be directed toward publication
- - not the act of photographing.

To me, this means I can photograph what I want when I
want in most cases, but must consider carefully what I
do with those images later, as any professional would.

Nomex on
Steve Patriquen

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Replies: Reply from "Bryan Caldwell" <> (Re: [Leica] photography in stores, malls, etc.)
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