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Photographing private property

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by ChrisNewman, Nov 2, 2020.

  1. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    Couple of things at play.

    If you are standing in a public space you can photograph anything you can see (there are some limitations around certain sites and buildings in the UK)
    * You can still be sued however, for breach of privacy, for example, and a court may find against you.
    * For example, you have a legal right to be able to stand on a street and photograph people walking out of a building, if that building is hosting an AA meeting, you could be sued and you may lose.
    * You may be in breach of local bylaws.
    * You may be causing an obstruction.
    * What you think is public may not be public.

    For the rest, Geren is correct, there are public rights of away, and there is open access land, and then there are private rights of way (easements). The latter are not public, and you should use them only to access another location. Open access land has some restrictions, and land owners can probably prevent things like commercial photography.

    Edit: I am not a lawyer, or a Baron (so the Magna Carta doesn't help).
  2. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

  3. AGW

    AGW Well-Known Member

    Meanwhile...in Scotland your right of responsible access....allows you to take photos almost anywhere, except peoples gardens and MOD establishments....

    daft_biker likes this.
  4. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    and hopefully except through the windows of their property
  5. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    As you wrote, you are not a lawyer and it's difficult to imagine such a case getting a hearing unless it in some way created a libel. The key point is section 2.1 of the Defamation Act 2013: "It is a defence to an action for defamation for the defendant to show that the imputation conveyed by the statement complained of is substantially true."

    As an example: a picture of someone leaving a building in which an AA meeting has taken place could only be defamatory if you specifically stated that the person had taken part in the meeting when they had not. If the picture happens to show a sign saying "AA Meeting here" and you made no comment on that fact, then no defamation has taken place because the picture is ipso facto truthful. (I'm no lawyer either but I can read a statute).
  6. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    and they would have been a right prat to do so.
  7. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    I would be most offended if I had been photographed leaving a building in which an AA meeting had taken place and that there was a suggestion that I had been at such a meeting. Many people might think that I should attend AA meetings but I do not do so. Just to be clear, we are not talking about the Automobile association are we?
  8. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    That's the key question, isn't it? If the picture hasn't been altered and there is no such suggestion in accompaning text then section 2.1 of the act seems, to me, to apply.
  9. ChrisNewman

    ChrisNewman Well-Known Member

    I was surprised to find a (presumably) authoritative article so ambivalent on the subject of photographing private property.

    My response when challenged was informed primarily by a series of discussions in AP a few years ago, which I think were triggered by photographers in cities being obstructed by police and security guards. This culminated in the magazine offering pairs of free lens cloths with wording to use if challenged by police or security guards. I checked the security guard version before making my initial post.

    Despite following Tony’s link to the Mogers Drewett web page, my understanding that it’s generally OK to photograph privately owned countryside from a public footpath or bridleway seems to be supported by the majority of the other sites I’ve subsequently looked at on the web, such as: https://www.blanc-creative.com/photographers-rights-in-public/
    One of the biggest things to remember about Photographers Rights is that if you’re on a Public right of way such as a public pavement, footpath or public highway, you DON’T need permission to take photographs.”, or:http://www.photographers-resource.co.uk/photography/Legal/Access_Rights.htm,
    Generally you have the right to photograph anywhere that is public property, including public roads, footpaths, rights of way and between high and low tide at least if not the entire beach areas throughout the UK. Generally no person has the right of privacy of themselves or their property photographed from such a place.

    (I consider photographing a person on their property far more intrusive than photographing wildlife in a field, as I was doing.)

    As I alluded in my initial post, the vast majority of inland English landscape photos include some private properly, and taking impromptu photos of wildlife without seeking permission of the owner or tenant of the property on which the wildlife is situated, as I did, is commonplace.

    I don’t want my local photography to be restricted to our house and garden and the Common (which happens to be owned by the estate that I’m pretty sure owns the field which is used by the livery stables, and which I was photographing when I was challenged on the grounds that the field is private property).

  10. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Even if you're on private property, you're only not allowed to take photos if you have been informed of that. And even then, it's not illegal, it's a civil tort in England. With my usual non-lawyery understanding, anyway. So worst case, she tells you to stop, you stop, end of story.

    I have no idea of the legal status of the public right of way in terms of if you can photograph from there or not. I suspect it would require case law for anybody to know for sure.
  11. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

  12. neilt3

    neilt3 Well-Known Member

    Well , they wanted a more open layout !
    Once they've cleared the rubbish up , there be plenty of space in the basement . :D

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