Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by jowensphoto, Nov 20, 2017.
Just go to YouTube and search for "First Amendment Audit".
This varies from state to state and not all sidewalks are public and its important to check your local jurisdiction for the regulations as well as talk to a lawyer but I found the legislation for VA the DOT defines sidewalk here
A sidewalk is defined as the portion of a street between the curb lines, or the lateral lines of a roadway, and the adjacent property lines, intended for use by pedestrians.
This reads as , sidewalks (from a public perspective) are the areas from defined road curbs to the property boundaries. In other words they are not simply any concrete or other wise treated area for walking. It may very well be that an ally between two buildings is bisected by the property lines and each owner owns half of the ally on their respective sides and thus none of it is technically "public property". In some cases areas in front of properties are the responsibility of the owner and this does give them certain rights over what you would consider a sidewalk. In other cases the sidewalk may actually fall on the property in question and simply be their property. The simple act of looking and functioning like a sidewalk does not classify it as a public area the land must be property of the city for that or the owner must make it a privately owned publicly used area for certain rules to apply.
Just a word of caution, being in the right doesn't always make it right for your particular circumstances. I once questioned an out of line city cop on a dark road without witnesses, the guy drew on me, and had I continued to "question" who was right, I suspect he would have shot me. He was later fired for misconduct, went to another town, where he actually killed someone, was charged, convicted, and is now in prison. Given the current mentality of the country it is wise to remember that sometimes "Discretion" really is the better part of valor.
Yep. Sometimes it's not a question of who's right, but who's left.
Have your cell phone handy and record then telling you that you are not allowed there. Ask them who owns it.
Many people will back down if they know you are recording them.
I think before you try going there again you'll need to find out who owns that alley and keep in mind when doing a shoot you're conducting business on that property. In my area some places require a photographer to get a permit or pay a fee (although usually for county/city parks, not alleys) to set up equipment or do a shoot because it's shared property intended for the personal use of the general public, not necessarily business use.
If you want to use the painted wall in the photo you may need a property release signed by the building owner; it depends on how you intend to use it and one guideline is if it's recognizable. American Society of Media Photographers - Homepage and PPA have info. about releases. Usually a release would not be needed for editorial use (newspaper, magazine) or for a fine art print (for the buyer's personal use), but would be necessary for retail use (T shirts, etc.) and would be needed for commercial use (advertising, business).
If the person who said something to you lives there, he/she may not have authority to say anything to you or tell you to leave, but in a city you never know what may have been happening in that alley/neighborhood. Maybe people who live there have some concern or anxiety about strangers near their building, and you're somewhat in their space (or maybe close enough to cause discomfort).
Without doing enough research to KNOW where the property lines are you can't go by what it looks like!
In most cases there is a difference between explaining your situation and arguing it. But sometimes it doesn't matter when the other person is ALWAYS right. And in this case feels they have the POWER to enforce it. Can't argue with them! Will not win! Better to drop it and fight it later.
If your upcoming shoot is with a client, I would avoid a situation like this completely and pick a location that I know for certain there will be no issues such as this occurring. It's one thing to be right, but I also would not want to get into any sort of argument or altercation with someone uninvolved with the photo shoot in front of a client and avoid causing the client any stress altogether.
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