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Thread: what are the photography laws and photographer's rights in SG

  1. #1

    Default what are the photography laws and photographer's rights in SG

    Want to share an experience and hopeful clarify some things

    I was spending my birthday at W Hotel sentosa cove, and right across the hotel is one degree 15 the yacht club and in between is water where the boats are parked(not sure what you call that). And we all know that boats can make great photos. So I happily went to the walk way right outside the hotel compound to set up my sunset shot. I was assuming that the area(walkway)is a public area. After a few test shots, a onedegree employee on a buggy approached me and told me I am not allowed to take photos of the club.

    I tried to reason with him, claiming that I am on a public space and the photos that I take belong to me. The guy told me that the club has taken some photographers that insisted on the same thing to the law(I am not sure what they did, report to the police? send lawyer's letter?) and in the end won. I relented and proceeded to close shop.

    My question is, does the club have any sort of real claim in this regard? I was quite sure I was on the right, but did not want to spoil the day. Also the guy was perfectly polite and obviously acting on instructions.

    Any CSers can help shed some light?

  2. #2
    Senior Member edutilos-'s Avatar
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    Default Re: what are the photography laws and photographer's rights in SG

    Depends on whose grounds you are on, in my view. The owner of the land has the say. Of course, it's dubious if the walkway doesn't belong to one degree fifteen, because obviously their employees would not have jurisdiction over another person/company's land. If it is indeed public space, I don't see any issue.

    I do know that all the yacht clubs have something against people photographing the boats and owners though. Something about privacy issues and all that...

    I would have asked for more details about his claims, taken down his name, asked if can record down his statement on my phone, and then tell him that I would clarify this matter with management and Sentosa Development Corporation, which owns the island. Nicely of course. If he still sticks around, well, obviously he believes in what he is saying and I will not bother to push the matter. Can always go back again.

    Why don't you drop SDC a call?

    http://www.sentosacove.com/cos/o.x?c...ew&rid=1098324
    Last edited by edutilos-; 5th February 2014 at 11:41 AM.

  3. #3
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: what are the photography laws and photographer's rights in SG

    as long the place you are standing on is maintain by somebody, it is not a public place.

    anyway, if you using handphone taking a selfie, no one will bother you.

    setting up a tripod with DLSR, it spells "shooting commercials".

    just get used to it, if you want to look pro, this is the price you have to pay.
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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  4. #4

    Default Re: what are the photography laws and photographer's rights in SG

    Singapore's laws are based on UK law but situation here is different. In UK and US it's the police
    that stops a photographer because of security and terrorism threats. Insisting on your rights
    don't mean a thing here. Govt is pro business and money. Do you know that Singapore has the highest
    concentration of millionaires per square km on this planet? Whose rights matter and you have been stopped photographing by a private employee no less, what does that tell you. Sure there are abuses of the law here by private entities but I would not split hairs over it.

    There is an anecdote during Chairman Mao Tse Tung's China, it is said in the eyes of communism everyone is equal but the fact is although everyone wears the Mao jacket, the jacket of chairman Mao
    is fur lined. Equal but not so equal it seems.

    http://www.urban75.org/photos/photog...d-the-law.html

    http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/0...g-photography/

    http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/0...ype=blogs&_r=0

  5. #5
    Member Bukitimah's Avatar
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    This is interesting. I am sure thousands have taken photos of the yachts parked there. If you are standing in W hotel area, it got nothing to do with the yacht club.

    If you are publishing something about the club, then you need their permission. I would be very surprise that there are so many photographs published here showing architectural landscape of buildings, I am sure they have not asked for permission.

    If you link their building to an article that is deem inappropriate, then that is another issue. Sometimes employees carry their duties beyond their rights without understanding the reasons for stopping people from taking photograph. If you enter a building lobby, they obviously have the right to stop you since it is a private property.

  6. #6
    Senior Member shierwin's Avatar
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    Default Re: what are the photography laws and photographer's rights in SG

    Quote Originally Posted by one eye jack View Post
    Singapore's laws are based on UK law but situation here is different. In UK and US it's the police
    that stops a photographer because of security and terrorism threats. Insisting on your rights
    don't mean a thing here. Govt is pro business and money. Do you know that Singapore has the highest
    concentration of millionaires per square km on this planet? Whose rights matter and you have been stopped photographing by a private employee no less, what does that tell you. Sure there are abuses of the law here by private entities but I would not split hairs over it.

    There is an anecdote during Chairman Mao Tse Tung's China, it is said in the eyes of communism everyone is equal but the fact is although everyone wears the Mao jacket, the jacket of chairman Mao
    is fur lined. Equal but not so equal it seems.

    http://www.urban75.org/photos/photog...d-the-law.html

    http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/0...g-photography/

    http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/0...ype=blogs&_r=0
    "All animals are equal; but some animals are more equal than others" - Animal Farm by George Orwell

  7. #7

    Default Re: what are the photography laws and photographer's rights in SG

    Quote Originally Posted by gabrielteo View Post
    I was assuming that the area(walkway)is a public area.

    --------

    My question is, does the club have any sort of real claim in this regard?
    It depends on whether your assumption was correct. Have you established that by checking with SDC yet? It could very well be private. Just because an area is accessible to the public doesn't make it a public place.

    See this pretty comprehensive post:

    Photography in Public and Private Places in Singapore
    The issue of photography in public places has been of great interest to most photographers alike, as more often than not, they create photographs in such public places.

    I’ll first deal with the general position on photography in public places, and perhaps in a future installment, touch on some rare exceptions which may beat the general rule.

    Public Places vs Private Places

    The first step is to determine whether the “public place” we are talking about is in fact, a public place in the legal sense.

    In my view, a public place is not the same as a privately-owned place with public access.

    For example, a shopping mall is not exactly a public place, but is actually a private place with public access (ie the shopping mall owners allow members of the public to freely access it)

    A public place would be a place such as the public road, public pavement or footways etc.

    In general, an owner of a private place per se will have the right to evict anyone who comes on his premises, and in fact, such entrance can be considered as trespass. For example, if I go into your home without permission, I can be said to trespass into your home.

    In the case of a private place with public access, the situation is slightly different. In such a case, even though the place is owned by a private entity, that entity has decided to open up its premises to public access, such as a shopping mall as seen earlier.

    Being still a private place nonetheless, the private place owner can set whatever rules he wishes you to comply with if you want to enter or continue to remain on his premises. If he does not like what you are doing, they can revoke the right of entry and evict you from the premises. If after eviction you persist in entering or staying, then you become a trespasser.

    In the case of a true public place, such as a public road, no private entity (ie only the police or Government) can stop you from being there; and usually the police or Government will cite some other specific provision for denying you the right to be there.

    For complete post: http://bit.ly/1g0GaLs

  8. #8

    Default Re: what are the photography laws and photographer's rights in SG

    I assumed that it was public, because firstly it was accessible(I know that does not mean it is public), secondly the one degree guy did not insist that I was on their property and therefore cannot carry out my activities.


    Quote Originally Posted by kandinsky View Post
    It depends on whether your assumption was correct. Have you established that by checking with SDC yet? It could very well be private. Just because an area is accessible to the public doesn't make it a public place.

    See this pretty comprehensive post:

  9. #9

    Default Re: what are the photography laws and photographer's rights in SG

    Ya, I understand that there is a commercial factor involved, but my photography is totally personal. I don't even post on FB alot!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bukitimah View Post
    This is interesting. I am sure thousands have taken photos of the yachts parked there. If you are standing in W hotel area, it got nothing to do with the yacht club.

    If you are publishing something about the club, then you need their permission. I would be very surprise that there are so many photographs published here showing architectural landscape of buildings, I am sure they have not asked for permission.

    If you link their building to an article that is deem inappropriate, then that is another issue. Sometimes employees carry their duties beyond their rights without understanding the reasons for stopping people from taking photograph. If you enter a building lobby, they obviously have the right to stop you since it is a private property.

  10. #10

    Default Re: what are the photography laws and photographer's rights in SG

    My thoughts exactly when I was walking away... Maybe if I did not set up a tripod I could have had my shots!

    That also raises my point, there essentially isn't a difference with me take a photo with my DSLR and someone taking a iphone selfie. I am not sure what they(onedegree) were trying to accomplish. I guess they were responding maybe to members complaints?

    Quote Originally Posted by catchlights View Post
    as long the place you are standing on is maintain by somebody, it is not a public place.

    anyway, if you using handphone taking a selfie, no one will bother you.

    setting up a tripod with DLSR, it spells "shooting commercials".

    just get used to it, if you want to look pro, this is the price you have to pay.

  11. #11

    Default Re: what are the photography laws and photographer's rights in SG

    Quote Originally Posted by gabrielteo View Post
    Ya, I understand that there is a commercial factor involved, but my photography is totally personal. I don't even post on FB alot!
    Yeah, but they don't know you, and there's no way of verifying whether you're telling the truth. There could be plenty of people who claim that they're shooting for personal, won't post publicly online, then do differently when they've got their shots. Maybe they have been duped in the past? To be safe, they'd have to set broad guidelines that staff can easily apply on the ground.

    Quote Originally Posted by gabrielteo View Post
    Maybe if I did not set up a tripod I could have had my shots!
    Yup, quite possible. Plus, setting up a tripod makes you an easy target too.

    Quote Originally Posted by gabrielteo View Post
    That also raises my point, there essentially isn't a difference with me take a photo with my DSLR and someone taking a iphone selfie.
    There may be no difference to us, but I'm sure they couldn't care less Their objective is probably just to do as told by upper management and get on with their jobs. Yeah, maybe members have complained before. Although if you're really shooting from public land, there's little they can do about it apart from erecting some sorta shield/barrier.

    ------

    Just dug up a bit of info about the Personal Data Protection Act (think it has been shared elsewhere on CS), looks like the current position about photography in public is pretty fair. But the PDPA looks like it only applies to organisations collecting data, and not individuals, so this may be irrelevant here?

    “Photo-taking” generally considered a form of reasonably expected
    means to collect publicly available personal data without consent

    The PDPA provides for certain exceptions to the obligation to obtain consent.
    Organisations are able to collect, use and disclose personal data that is publicly
    available without consent. The term “publicly available” is defined in section
    2(1) of the PDPA and refers to personal data (about an individual) that is
    generally available to the public, including personal data which can be observed
    by reasonably expected means at a location or an event at which the individual
    appears and that is open to the public.


    Personal data is observed by reasonably expected means if the individual
    whose personal data is being observed ought reasonably to expect that their
    personal data could be collected in that particular manner at that location or
    event. The PDPC will take the position that at present; photo-taking would in
    many circumstances be considered a reasonably expected means of collecting
    personal data in a public place.
    However, as good practice, organisations
    collecting images of individuals in public places should inform individuals of
    such collection, for example through a notice in the vicinity that such collection
    is occurring.

    Source: https://www.pdpc.gov.sg/docs/default...3.pdf?sfvrsn=2

  12. #12
    Senior Member alwaysjerricky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shierwin View Post
    "All animals are equal; but some animals are more equal than others" - Animal Farm by George Orwell
    I hate this phrase it's been used too many times to argue against equality

  13. #13

    Default Re: what are the photography laws and photographer's rights in SG

    Quote Originally Posted by alwaysjerricky View Post
    I hate this phrase it's been used too many times to argue against equality
    the phrase is actually part of a larger plot.

    anyways @TS...

    the land belongs to One Degree 15. and most private yacht clubs/marinas in Singapore have such rules and regulations in place, to protect the privacy of the owners who berth their yachts there.

    also, it's to cover their arses if a photo of one of their clients show up online, and decides to sue them because they didn't stop you. and take it that it's also to protect you from getting your pants sued off by an irate yacht owner.

  14. #14

    Default Re: what are the photography laws and photographer's rights in SG

    Quote Originally Posted by kei1309 View Post
    the phrase is actually part of a larger plot.

    anyways @TS...

    the land belongs to One Degree 15. and most private yacht clubs/marinas in Singapore have such rules and regulations in place, to protect the privacy of the owners who berth their yachts there.

    also, it's to cover their arses if a photo of one of their clients show up online, and decides to sue them because they didn't stop you. and take it that it's also to protect you from getting your pants sued off by an irate yacht owner.
    Well I'm not pissed or anything, I have dealt with my fair share of photography opposition "eh why you take my photo?!", and I treat it as part of being a photographer. I just want to get more information on this subject so as not to feel useless and also to know when to back off.

    Big 'thank you' to all your help. I hope that my photography experience can be a help to yours

  15. #15

    Default Re: what are the photography laws and photographer's rights in SG

    'which can be observed by reasonably expected means at a location or an event at which the individual
    appears and that is open to the public. '


    Sounds like my circumstance!

  16. #16
    Moderator keithwee's Avatar
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    Read TNP's article today on South Asian group descending on Siloso beach to take photos and gawk on bikini clad girls.

    'We have no privacy laws in SG , so as long as you are in a public place and there is no intrusion of private properties and there's no harassment , then the men did not do anything wrong.'
    Lawyer Amolat Singh

  17. #17
    Moderator PhotoProZero's Avatar
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    It's an interesting topic. So are we saying that if I'm a guest of a member I'm also not allowed to take photos? I'm sure that the FM didn't even put 'No Trespassing'.
    I am IN LOVE with my Camera....
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    Should reply as 'I taking nature photos, your building gets into my photos, I have going to sue your club house' ha ha!
    Only Sony device mostly, haha!

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by PhotoProZero View Post
    It's an interesting topic. So are we saying that if I'm a guest of a member I'm also not allowed to take photos? I'm sure that the FM didn't even put 'No Trespassing'.
    Quote Originally Posted by BBTM View Post
    Should reply as 'I taking nature photos, your building gets into my photos, I have going to sue your club house' ha ha!
    I believe the concern is more on the private vehicles and residences. And One Degree 15 is a private club. They have every right to impose their rules and regulations on both members amd guests

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by kei1309 View Post

    I believe the concern is more on the private vehicles and residences. And One Degree 15 is a private club. They have every right to impose their rules and regulations on both members amd guests
    I ever posted about me been stopped by security at luxor vegas even I taking photos of oppposite building as it's evening and I need a tripod. Been told no tripod allows, ridiculous.

    I feels that if a place is pirvate n no photos allow, they should not be able to view from outside n also, NO camera are allow, just like an army camp.

    Some time it might be the staff who want to misuse the power, we never knows cause we don't ask till the management. If a xmm on tripod, I doubt the guy will ask TS stop taking photos. Ha ha!
    Only Sony device mostly, haha!

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