Legal Issue


TPF Noob!
Jan 17, 2012
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Fairfax, VA
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
Hi Forum!

I've been drafting a project to photograph and document the decimation of a nearby mall (Springfield Mall, Springfield, VA). In my attempts to take photos of the mall I've been harassed by guards (demanding my equipment, attempting to take it from me, demanding I delete photos). So far, I haven't contacted the property owner for fear of being told that they will not allow me to take photos. I'm wondering:

1. If I take photos surreptitiously, despite the noted objects of guards, does this open me up to be sued?
2. Do I have a right to take photos anyway? I haven't seen any posted bills saying photography isn't allowed... but it's always possible I've missed a sign.
3. If I take photos and leave upon being approached, is my right to use the photos restricted by the property owner?

Any guidance/advice would be a huge help.

Do a search for this topic on the forum. It's been discussed in depth already.
The thing with the mall is that it is privately owned property. It's not public. Yes, the public goes there, but it is not publicly owned.
The thing with the mall is that it is privately owned property. It's not public. Yes, the public goes there, but it is not publicly owned.

I wonder where he was standing though. They recently tore down a mall near me and it was heavily fenced off, for safety reasons of course.

It's funny how it's always the security guards. I've never had issues with actual police officers, it usually goes like this:

Officer: "What'cha doin'?"
Me: "Taking some pictures."
Officer: "Have fun!"
Do you really want legal advice that could possibly land you in jail from people on the internet? Do yourself a favor and contact a lawyer. If nothing else you'll know who to call when you get arrested.
Bert P. Krages Attorney at Law Photographer's Rights Page

1. The security guards cannot confiscate your equipment from you.

2. The security guards cannot make you delete any photos you have already taken.

3. If you are on private property and are told you must stop taking photos and don't, the security gurads would be within their rights to do a citizens arrest for trespassing or to detain you until a LEO arrives to effect an arrest.

4. If you are on public property taking the images, the guards have no authority to stop you, even though they may try an intimidate you into doing so.

5. How any images you make get used would detrmine if the property owner would be able to restrict such use.

The link KmH posted is the same I would have suggested, and his advice is right. Rent-a-Cops are the worse, their job is incredibly boring, and they have no real power, so they look for any place to assert their so-called authority. I was once tailgated by a security guard who was trying to intimidate me into getting out of his way. As with anybody else who pulls that crap, I slowed down to 5 below the speed limit.

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