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Thread: Law on photography update

  1. #351

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    Re: Law on photography update

    Quote Originally Posted by r.e. View Post
    Cyrus, it's clear to me that you do not practice law in the areas on which you have been expressing opinions in this thread. Maybe you do some kind of commercial law, maybe you are a paralegal, but on the subject at hand you are clearly over your head.

    That wouldn't matter we're it not for the fact that you have been presenting yourself as an authority, and have consistently talked down to, and denigrated the views of, others. The reality is that your posts in this thread are the principal reason that it lacks any kind of focus, and that you are apparently prepared to say just about anything, including things that are, from a legal point of view, scatterbrained and/or patent nonsense, in order to "win". The result is that it is hard to take you seriously.

    At the beginning of this thread, you said "As some of you know I've been involved in getting a lawsuit filed involving the right to take photos in a public place". I don't know what your role was in helping to get the suit filed, but I sincerely hope that someone else is quarterbacking it.
    You're entitled to your opinions but I have never "talked down" to anyone and I have never denigrated anyone. And yes FYI I am hiring counsel to file my lawsuit.

    Everything I've said here comes down to these points:

    1- You do not have a "right" to take photos in a public place (or a private place) unless it is "expressive"
    - I provided Porat as the illustration of this point. People objected that Porat was trespassing, and I responded that whether he was trespassing or not is irrelevant to the point under discussion because according to the ruling you don't have a right to nonexpressive photography even if you weren't trespassing. (I have said that I don't think that's how the law should be and that noncommunicative photography should be also protected, but I agree that is how it IS now.)


    2- Thus, non-expressive photography can be regulated and even banned just like any other form of conduct which is not protected by the Constitution.
    Since there's no constitutional protection, the act of taking photos for nonexpressive purposes is no different than other forms of conduct such as chopping wood in public places.

    3- Considering how often the cops bother photographers anyway, this isn't some highly theoretical, remote concern. Some people said that since they had never been bothered by the police then this can't be a big issue, and I said well there are many photographers who do get hassled by the cops even in public places.

    4- In order to enforce any such ban, there's no need for a new law to be drafted specifically prohibiting non-expressive photography because existing generic laws such as "disturbing the peace" can suffice.
    The cops can decide that taking photos is itself a cause of disturbance or a safety issue - because for example they can say it may hinder pedestrian traffic, scare parents, or whatever.


    5- If it came to court, generally the judges would defer to the cops on the question of whether your photography was really a cause of a disturbance or not.
    Judges will be reluctant to second-guess the cops on public safety issues when no constitutional issues are at stake. (I made the mistake of raising the separate issue of administrative deference - circumstances when judges are required to defer to an administrative agency's opinion of the law under Chevron/Mead - but withdrew that because I don't want to "go there" because it is too complicated.)

    Now, if you have a problem with any of these specific points, please which one and why.

    Incidentally none of the above involves any 'expertise' - this is information that is widely available to anyone who bothers to buy and read a book on the topic of first amendment rights,.

  2. #352

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  3. #353
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    Re: Law on photography update

    Quote Originally Posted by cyrus View Post
    If I was a lawyer arguing a case I would be charging you - or someone - a lot of bucks!
    Which is why I would always represent myself.


    Steve.

  4. #354
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    Re: Law on photography update

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Salomon - HP Marketing View Post
    Cyrus, I have and I believe that it is only a very small minority of the people who take photographs who have ever had this problem in the USA.
    Same here. As I posted earlier, we hear of a few situations but there have been no charges brought and only apologies made.

    There was one case a couple of years ago where a photo journalist took a photograph of a politician holding a confidential document, some of which could be read in the photograph.

    The most common law mis-quoted by police officers was the section 44 terrorism act which would make such an act of photography highly illegal. However, the photographer was not charged. The politician was severely reprimanded.

    My point is that to my knowledge, there has only been one case in the UK where a law which could ban photography or charge a photographer with an offence could have been used, but it was not.

    Section 44 is an act which allows stop and search without suspicion but it only applies in areas where it is in place. It does not ban photography at all although a few officers have claimed it did. The Metropolitan police issued guidelines to its officer pointing out that public photography was not banned under section 44.

    http://www.met.police.uk/about/photography.htm

    EDIT: Actually, I think it's section 58 of the terrorism act which covers the photographing of the politician with confidential document.


    Steve.

  5. #355

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    Re: Law on photography update

    QT Luong,

    I did not make an ad hominem argument. I made a straight statement that Cyrus's effective claim that he is a lawyer, which is an on-going theme of his posts, is in fact a lie. He has not challenged this statement, because he can't.

    If you want to let this guy peddle the idea that he has qualifications that he clearly doesn't have, and use those alleged qualifications to pull rank on other people, that is your business, but you are not doing anyone a favor.

    A few people raised the question of his qualifications earlier, to which he provided evasive answers. You have not deleted those posts. I happen to be in a position, in light of his later posts, to be more assertive on this question. Believe me, I didn't want to be. I was willing to give him the benefit of the greatest doubt, but the fact is, to anyone who actually practices law, he has managed to demonstrate that he is not in fact a lawyer and that his grasp of the law is tenuous at best and in many of his statements just plain misinformed.
    Cheers!

  6. #356

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    Re: Law on photography update

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianShaw View Post
    Being a rather simple-minded but practical man, here is what I've learned from this thread: When asked why I'm taking photos, simply say, "to record this event/scene in order to share/explain my experience with others." Saying one is a professional will just lead to permit fees, and saying one is an amateur just leads to assumptions that the photos are essentially frivolous or without meaningful content, and just saying that I have the right is believed by some to be wrong. Above all, it appears to me that NOT getting in front of a judge for this or any other reason is a reasonable life goal.
    Agreed. Or in even simpler terms, just say your an artist. There's tons of case law protecting the rights of artists under the first amendment, with pretty broad leeway given in defining what "art" is.

  7. #357

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    Re: Law on photography update

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffKohn View Post
    Agreed. Or in even simpler terms, just say your an artist. There's tons of case law protecting the rights of artists under the first amendment, with pretty broad leeway given in defining what "art" is.
    This is true but you have to state that you intend to communicate a message with your art to someone else. "Art" for the sake of personal enjoyment - sadly - could be judged "non-communicative."

    Porat made the mistake of stating openly to the cops and security guards that he was taking the photos for his own enjoyment. Somehow, the courts then jumped to the conclusion that it was therefore not "expressive" and so not constitutionally-protected. I take a lot of photos for my own "enjoyment" and but that doesn't necessarily mean I also don't intend to show them to someone eventually - in fact that's part of the "enjoyment." That leap by the court, from word "hobbyist" to "non-expressive," was unjustified IMHO (I think Brian mentioned this first.) At the very least, whether Porat intended to show his pictures to others was a factual question to be determined by a jury.

  8. #358

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    Re: Law on photography update

    Solution: anyone asks what you're up to say you are a performance artist.
    Please email me - my inbox is always full.. (press ALT and click on my name, then select "Send email to Uri A"). Thanks!

  9. #359
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    Re: Law on photography update

    Quote Originally Posted by Uri A View Post
    Solution: anyone asks what you're up to say you are a performance artist.
    The sad thing is, by Cyris' reasoning, if you had a fake camera and were pretending to be a photographer as a piece of street theatre, it would be protected by your first amendment rights but if you did exactly the same thing with a real camera, it wouldn't be!


    Steve.

  10. #360

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    Re: Law on photography update

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Smith View Post
    The sad thing is, by Cyris' reasoning, if you had a fake camera and were pretending to be a photographer as a piece of street theatre, it would be protected by your first amendment rights but if you did exactly the same thing with a real camera, it wouldn't be!


    Steve.
    Hey don't blame me, I'm just reporting what the courts have been saying for a while now: Speech or art or whatever is only protected if it is "expressive," meaning it is intended to carry some sort of message to an audience which is likely to understand it. This was established as the law in 1974. All the Porat case did was apply that definition of protected expression to photography. What counts is the "intent" of the actor, regardless of whether he's using a camera or a toaster.

    I would argue against that of course, and say that being able to express things for your own benefit and enjoyment is of even more importance that communicating it to someone else. I mean, what can be more fundamental than that?

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