Permission

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Vladimir Estragon, Dec 22, 2003.

  1. Vladimir Estragon

    Vladimir Estragon TPF Noob!

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    I often drive around looking for decrepit buildings and industrial sites to photograph, and when I find something, I usually just go ahead and shoot it. Sometimes an owner will appear while I'm shooting and ask what I'm doing. I say hello nicely and ask if they mind if I take pictures. Most of the time, they don't mind, but a man yesterday said that he'd have preferred if I asked first.

    So, my question to you all is, would you seek out someone and ask permission before you photograph their barn or whatever? Let's assume that you are not trespassing on their property, just shooting from the street, and the pictures are just for your own use, not for publication.
     
  2. Face

    Face TPF Noob!

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    you have no legal obligation to ask. and you can even publish those pics without their permission if it's accessible to the public- as in from the street. so its up to you as to whether or not you should ask.
     
  3. pilgrim

    pilgrim TPF Noob!

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    I would only ask for permission if they owner was like standing right there. I wouldn't go looking. Also if its a barn its a lil more personal to the owner where if its like a 50 story building its a completly different story.
     
  4. Chiller

    Chiller Mental case

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    This is an interesting subject. During the fall I was at a local cemetery here in Toronto taking pictures of the fall colours when I was approached by a security guard who threatened to fine me $150.00 for not having a permission form which I should have obtained from the office. I told him I did not know of any forms and there are no signs forbidding the taking of pictures. He said it was a "privacy issue" and I should go to the office and request permission. He then recorded my license plate number, gave me a verbal warning and said if I was caught taking pictures there again I would be fined.
    I was wondering if it had been different if I were to take the pictures from the road. I never did contact the office to see if this were true or if the security guard was just on a power trip.

    Carl
     
  5. Jeff Canes

    Jeff Canes No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Chiller

    For the road you would likely be ok (that is as long as you don’t get hit by a car), but you should talk to some one in the office and see what the deal is about the permission form.

    Also, Was it a municipal, private or First Nation cemetery? Does it have a tour of famous gravesite that you did not pay for? Do you have family there?
     
  6. bogleric

    bogleric TPF Noob!

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    Asking permission or not comes down to a few simple things.

    1) When you took the photo were you physically in a public area, if so the topic is considered public domain and not protected since all people passing by can see it themselves. It does not matter if it is a barn of a sky scraper building.

    2) Are there any identifiable people in the photo, if so you need to have their permission in order to publish. This is argued a lot.

    As for the cemetary, I am not sure how Canada protects them. If it is a privately owned cemetary they can restirict you as they wish since you are on their land. Check into this, but either way you would be safe from the road if you were in the US. I am not sure about Canada law.

    I am so glad to be an American, the freedoms are clearly defined.
     
  7. metroshane

    metroshane TPF Noob!

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    Wrong. Tisk tisk. This is true for buildings, however there are many things in the public area that are trademarked and copyrighted such as statues and other decorative items. Not to mention trademarked emblems logos and names.

    The law is different for editorial, artistic and commercial. Get yourself the photographers market.
     
  8. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    That is the best advice. Using common sense helps. Cemeteries is a definitely ask permission. I have been kicked out of enough locations, to realize that it isn't that hard to just ask. They almost always say yes. (" just don't get hurt")

    Confusing matters even more. If they say no you are out of luck. The ones that do say no are pretty pissed that you asked in the first place (generally they are pretty bitter people). The ever looming question is; did the photos lose a sense of urgency? This being provided by the fact that you are sneaking around hoping not to get caught.
     
  9. bogleric

    bogleric TPF Noob!

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    Actually the US laws only protect original works. If you are taking a picture and a copyrighted work is not the purpose of the picture you have created a new creative original work. Therefore you can take the shot. However if the one copyrighted item can be argued to be the sole purpose of the shot then you are in trouble.
     
  10. bogleric

    bogleric TPF Noob!

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    I should have mentioned that came from the horses mouth, the US Copyright office.
     
  11. 5th

    5th TPF Noob!

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    Vlad,

    When I first got started in photography (about 1985) I had a strong interest that pretty much aligned itself to your posted subject matter. I would roam through old buildings and industrial locations for good and strong shadow opportunities for b&w photography. Most of the time these sites were abandon and as such no permission was needed.

    On one occasion I walked onto a railroad coal-stack facility (Atlantic Coal, I think, in Rhode Island) that certainly wasn't used anymore (trains aren't powered in USA by coal). I got about 2/3 the way of the stack external ladder (had its own safety cage) when the police showed up.

    Funny thing is that the police didn't care that I was a photographer, but that it was being reported that maybe I was trying to commit suicide. :p Yeah, right, and I was going to take my Nikon equipment with me, tripod and all!

    Anyway, the only places I got resistence from was the public malls with inclosed architecture. At this time I was focusing (no pun intended) on store-font textures (facade). The interior mall police came a calling and threw me out of the mall. Without sufficient written permission by the store-font's designer, the store management, and the mall's management, I wasn't going to be allowed to take pictures.

    On another interisting round of suicidal-photographer ... I tried to go to the roof of a particular building so that I could capture its reflection off of a neighboring building. God, I would have never thought that photographers were such depressing people as the police/security population would lead you to believe.

    So, while its a nice gesture to ask permission ahead of time to take pictures, sometimes its not always possible. Also, depending on the circumstances, there may be no way for the property owner to stop you (what if its outdoors and on a neighboring property?), or the property owner cannot be reached.

    Personally, I don't worry about it anymore and tend to focus on other negatives like getting potentially harmed in trying to capture the best composition of the subject at hand.
     
  12. Chiller

    Chiller Mental case

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    I think what I found really strange about being "busted" for taking pictures at the cemetery was that approximatly a month before I had been on a historic tour of this same cemetery, where about 150 poeple plodded around the place learning about the different people buried there and the history of the cemetery itself. About one third of the tour had cameras and were snapping pictures of different things.
    One of my protests to the security guard was the fact that there are no signs or anything on the main gate restricting picture taking. This cemetery promotes people to feel free to jog, cycle or even rollerblade through the cemetery providing they respect the grounds.

    I am going to contact the office in the next little while and ask permission to take a few pictures there. This place is absolutely beautiful right after a good snowfall, and I would really like to know if I can shoot a few pictures, without going to jail.

    :D

    Carl
     

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