I'm right, right? Law question

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by jowensphoto, Nov 20, 2017.

  1. jowensphoto

    jowensphoto Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Awhile back I did some dance photos in the city next to my town. We went to the walking mall, and ventured into the alleys. There was a really cool building on one alley that was purple painted brick. I got yelled at for "tresspassing" even though we never touched the building and there's a sidewalk. I don't even think it was the owner that yelled at me, but a tenant.

    As far as the law goes, I wasn't breaking any, was I? There were no windows that you could see into or anything like that. The building is on a public street, next to a sidewalk. I'm in VA, if that helps.

    I ask bc I have a shoot coming up and would love to use that background again, but want to make sure I'm within the law.



     
  2. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I am guessing when you say sidewalk you mean a public sidewalk? And it's actually public, not a sidewalk on private property?
     
  3. limr

    limr Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    An alley next to a building is not always public. Depends on who owns the lot. You can always contact the city surveyor's office.
     
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  4. astroNikon

    astroNikon 'ya all Bananas I tell 'ya Supporting Member

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    ask the City.
    They'll know for sure (or someone should) if it was a public sidewalk or not.
    but considering (assuming) that there was no sign indicating a Private location nor anything obstructing entrance into the area, I would think it would be in your favor.

    I guess the question is are those particular "alleys" the backyard of a commercial building, or public building, or private building or private residence .... would help solve the question. Once again the city would be the best place to start.

    Someone may have just been yelling at you as they don't know what you were there for.
     
  5. jowensphoto

    jowensphoto Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    The alley and sidewalk are definitely public property.

    Thank you all. I'll probably take my chances.
     
  6. jowensphoto

    jowensphoto Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I guess my real question. If I'm on a public sidewalk, and "happen" to get a photo of this building in the background, I'm not breaking any laws by including the building in the photo, correct?
     
  7. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    Some people yell at others because they have a superiority complex and do not understand the law.

    In the US, the general rule is; if you're on public property and you can see it, you can photograph it. The eyes cannot trespass.
     
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  8. Gary A.

    Gary A. Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    If you are in a public place ... then everything is fair game. There is a clause called "an expectation of privacy" ... but that doesn't apply to buildings. On some government property, it is posted that you cannot aim a camera into the property, but that is posted and those properties are few and far between.

    PS- Many security people will cite The Patriot Act as a reason that you cannot photograph certain structures. That is false. There is absolutely nothing in The Patriot Act forbidding photography of any type.
     
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  9. jowensphoto

    jowensphoto Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    That's what I thought. The street and sidewalk are definitely owned and maintained by the city.
     
  10. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    I was in Montana 3 years ago and a security guard told me "The Terrorism Act 2000 prohibits photographic government buildings."













    I paused for a few seconds, then replied, "Well, Guvna. I bloody well hope you understand that the Terrorism Act is a British law, and doesn't exactly apply to the Colonies any more, 'eh, mate?"
     
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  11. Gary A.

    Gary A. Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I was stopped outside a Federal Court building in Los Angeles. An officer of the court, not a judge but clearly a uniformed court employee, told me I couldn't photograph the building. I told him I'm on a public sidewalk, shooting a public building ... I sure can. I questioned him, tell me what statute of the Patriot Act forbids me from shooting a Federal Building from a public sidewalk. He just stared at me ... okay, then quote or paraphrase the statute that forbids me from photographing a Federal Building from a public sidewalk. He just kept staring at me ... the light changed and he crossed the street into the building. Not as good a story as yours ... but it's all I got. lol
     
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  12. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep No longer a newbie, moving up!

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