Wednesday, September 14, 2011

ACLU Launches Photographers' Rights Page, Bookmark It!

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) just created
a web page detailing photographers' rights. No doubt this web page was created in order to combat all of the rampant ideas among both the general public and law enforcement that taking pictures in public is illegal, which it certainly is not. For the quick version, read on, for the extended version, follow the link above.

It is legal to . . .
Photograph anything/anyone visible from a public space
Photograph police/government workers on the job
Take pictures inside of any public buildings like airports
If stopped by police, ask if you can go
Ask a police officer what crime you're accused of if detained
Refuse to show police your pictures

It is illegal to . . .

Take pictures on private property without owner's approval
Take pictures that physically interfere with police business

It is illegal for police to . . .
Delete your images/destroy your film
Tell you to delete images/destroy film
Take your camera and search it (taking legal, search without warrant is not)

Al in all, this new web page on the ACLU's site is a valuable resource all photographers should bookmark as, the unfortunate truth is that many law enforcement officials do not have a very solid grasp of laws involving photography and will often interpret taking pictures as a crime in the post-9/11 world.

Needless to say, if you feel that your rights as a photographer have been violated, do not hesitate to make a formal complaint to the law enforcement agency who you feel committed the violation or contact the ACLU and/or the media.

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