A reminder of legal Rights. (US)


Been spending a lot of time on here!
Feb 27, 2006
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This is just a reminder for those who have been over this, and words of wisdom to all the noobs.

I would like to take a few minutes of your time and remind everyone of some tidbits on your rights as a photographer.
First, several days ago I got into a conversation with someone about photography in the US and the infamous USA PATRIOT Act. They told me that the PATRIOT Act can prohibit photography of anything the government so wishes, and they can use the PATRIOT Act to stop a photographer anywhere.

It cant.
The act says nothing of the sort, nor does it directly address photography except as ‘clandestine intelligence activities’ which is defined by: http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/24jul20031400/www.gpoaccess.gov/serialset/creports/pdf/glossary.pdf
As: A preplanned secret intelligence collection activity or covert
political, economic, propaganda, or paramilitary action conducted
so as to assure the secrecy of the operation; encompasses both
clandestine collection and covert action.
Translation: Unless your KGB, Moussad, MI6, PRC Intell., or any other group including Al-Quida, your not covered by this.
Barring any local, county, state or Fed law, you have the right to take photos virtually anywhere. So any fear of the Patriot Act is unfounded, and can be contested if challenged.

Full text of the USA PATRIOT Act:

Keep these rules in mind:

Military installations: Photography can be banned as ordered by the base commander or any other governing agency. Obvious security issues do arise here, and will all always be posted as such.

Department of Energy: Nuclear facilities.

The government under certain circumstances can declare what is known as a ‘National Security Zone’ which can mean almost anything, and restrict movement for any reason including photography. To my own knowledge, such zones have not been enacted much probably from the time of the start of the Cold War. If anyone can state otherwise, please do.

Inside/on private property: Any owner of any building or property can prohibit you from taking a photograph while ON the property in question or inside a particular building. Trespass laws are in effect here. As long as you are on public property, all is fair game.

Federal, State, Local (Open Space) lands: Private photography for personal use is permitted unless otherwise posted. The restriction is Commercial photography, which requires a permit, unless otherwise posted, or defined by act:



Law Enforcement: From the web site: http://www.krages.com/ThePhotographersRight.pdf
"Â…On occasion, law enforcement officers may object to photography but most understand that people have the right to take photographs and do not interfere with photographers. They do have the right to keep you away from areas where you may impede their activities or endanger safety. However, they do not have the legal right to prohibit you from taking photographs from other locationsÂ…"

The usual common sense items I think apply, like donÂ’t shoot people without their permission (especially children), donÂ’t be rude about what you are doing: Â…"IÂ’m a photographer, so up yours", taking photos of "uncouth situations" like dead bodies of people on the road while family arrives, sneaking couples kissing, etc. You get the idea.

Though not illegal per sie, I think a little common sense here prevails.
Any additional info from anyone is helpful, and if anyone can either help define, correct or otherwise dispute these items, please do so.
More links to info on photographers' rights...


www.krages.com/phoright.htm is a good one.

Of course the Patriot Act can be used (errr... abused) anyway the government wants. That's the point of it. What do you expect? Yesterday the administration announced that it was illegal for retired military personal to express dissenting opinion about military and foreign policy, but perfectly acceptable to voice their opinions if they support the administration's policies.

Get out and vote!
As much as certain things tend to suck I would rather live here then most other countries.
cops nowadays are more and more like ghestoppo...did i spell hat right?
It is actually spelled: *******…lol.

But, as someone who has dealt with law enforcement on a massive variety of levels, here is what I can tell you: The vast majority of LE personnel are like you and me. Most hate the way the system is being run, and most will tell you that it isn’t the system that is broken… It’s the people inside it.

Without getting into a political speech, this is why you have to be VERY careful as to whom you vote for. You have to keep on top of what they are voting for, and the positions they stand on. Just because you may be on one side or another of an issue, you shouldn’t vote for someone just because ‘your guy’ agrees with you on certain items…

The problem is that when a law is passed, the LE people must, (unless the law is: immoral, unethical, or illegal), enforce it. Many LE hate gun control, but have to enforce the GC laws because they are sworn to uphold them.

Again, watch who runs, and if you have too, run yourself.

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