Tuesday, June 02, 2009

UK Photographer's Rights

Last week the Ilkley Gusset caried a short story claiming that a man had been taking photographs of Ilkers residents without their permission, I don't know what he was up to, but there is rumour on the Ilkley-More Forum that a man has been arrested and questioned.

In these days of paranoia and Government idiocy in the planning of so called anti-terror laws, it's nice to know where you stand as an amateur photographer with regard to the law.

This site contains a downloadable PDF written by written by afreelance legal consultant specialising in Media Law and Intellectual Property Law.

MP Austin Mitchell tabled an Early Day Motion to try and protect the rights of photographers, thus..."That this House is concerned to encourage the spread and enjoyment of photography as the most genuine and accessible people's art; deplores the apparent increase in the number of reported incidents in which the police, police community support officers (PCSOs) or wardens attempt to stop street photography and order the deletion of photographs or the confiscation of cards, cameras or film on various specious ground such as claims that some public buildings are strategic or sensitive, that children and adults can only be photographed with their written permission, that photographs of police and PCSOs are illegal, or that photographs may be used by terrorists; points out that photography in public places and streets is not only enjoyable but perfectly legal; regrets all such efforts to stop, discourage or inhibit amateur photographers taking pictures in public places, many of which are in any case festooned with closed circuit television cameras; and urges the Home Office and the Association of Chief Police Officers to agree on a photography code for the information of officers on the ground, setting out the public's right to photograph public places thus allowing photographers to enjoy their hobby without officious interference or unjustified suspicion."

I can't remember exactly how EDM's work, I think that they are not automatically debated, but I can't find any more info on this one.


  1. Anonymous11:13 am

    Hear hear!! I am now pretty paranoid when I take out my camera and point it even vaguely in the direction of strangers!! At the CHelsea Flower Show the other day, I was snapping great shots of people stopping to smell the roses (so to speak!) with my long lens, and I coudl see some of the exhibitors giving me the hairy eyeball. Really resented feeling like a daviant for taking photos in public places...

  2. Anonymous12:04 pm

    There's a petition about this here: http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/Photorestrict/

  3. Cheers Anon, I have signed up to that.

  4. All a bit worrying really. The presumption that we must be terrorists if we wish to take photographs of a police officer is extremist in the greater majority of cases. After all it’s almost impossible for any of us to move through any larger town, let alone a city, without the police having not only photographs but video footage of our every move. So what makes them so different from the general public?

    Also, the presumption that because there is a police investigation in progress does not in any way indicate that this individual has done anything wrong. The police are obliged to investigate any complaint made to them. Regardless of the malicious intent, paranoia or simple stupidity of the complainant.