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Thread: Wonder if events in public area are legally out of bounds to DSLR photography?

  1. #1
    Senior Member zoossh's Avatar
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    Default Wonder if events in public area are legally out of bounds to DSLR photography?

    i think we have in many occasions hear out of people who may interfere with your actions in various situation but i didn't expect such an infringement in an open event.

    i saw this thread and wonder if in such situations, should photographers allow them to exert such claims?

    saw from this old thread here.
    http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/showthread.php?t=271367

  2. #2

    Default Re: Wonder if events in public area are legally out of bounds to DSLR photography?

    1. There is no need to wonder if you just search the archives here.

    2. But you must be prepared to stand up for your rights-- something which S'poreans are not generally known for.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Wonder if events in public area are legally out of bounds to DSLR photography?

    Quote Originally Posted by zoossh View Post
    Arghh..Metro Jam BMX....

    Photographers with BIG GUNS are always scrutinise, PERIOD!

    What are your rights attending such open events? I have to say they are limited, always subjected to in house rules. They could do an about U-TURN and prohibit any form of photography in the middle of the 'show' asper the above thread, so you will always be at their discretion. What option do you have here?

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    Senior Member zoossh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wonder if events in public area are legally out of bounds to DSLR photography?

    Quote Originally Posted by waileong View Post
    1. There is no need to wonder if you just search the archives here.
    perhaps you should avoid making this assumption that a search was not being made in the first place. a different keyword in the search engine may have make a difference.

    event holder may set up a perimeter within which the event was conducted. i'm first of all, not sure if this open ground usually next to a building are actually public grounds or belong to the management of the owner of that building, say for example the forum in front of taka belongs to taka? i assume if the organiser needs to seek permission and arrangement with the private authorities would mean that these open grounds are actually not really public grounds, but may be private properties, although the organiser is not necessarily owner of that private property, but rather a temporary renter.

    secondly, supposedly one is not within the perimeter but is just outside of it. he probably have a definite right to shoot, but does the security guard has an equal right of standing within the perimeter and physically blocking the line of sight?

    i gather from your reply your answer is a no to the question. but i hope you understand the exact reason why such question is asked is becos the situations varies from one situation to another, and such topics are frequently asked in different context, and people are trying to find a balance between protecting their rights but not wanting to behave obnoxious to the public mind (some non photographers sees us as being proud, pushy and too adamant on our rights, and being insensitive and intrusive). many may not stand up for it becos it is not firmly clarified on how best to get around things, and that is why these threads continue to be around.

    anyway, thanks for your reply. just wanted to further clarify the purpose of asking in this context.
    Last edited by zoossh; 20th March 2008 at 07:30 PM.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Wonder if events in public area are legally out of bounds to DSLR photography?

    In short, I think it depends on the type of event.

    If say someone is holding a public wedding or funeral or private function at a public place, what makes you think you have any right?

    I mean, honestly speaking, you think you paid for the ground you stepped on, or what right do you have to photograph them?

    Of course, by law they can't prosecute you if you photograph them, but come on, if you're not welcome, why do you want to shoot them?

    If its a public performance, then it depends on if the performers/organisers have explicitly prohibited photography, if yes, then what right do you think you can exercise? When you say you have a right, means if they don't allow you, you can sue them? Think again, you really have a right?

    I think if its a public event when everyone is photographing, and the organisers didn't prohibit it, then alright. But if you're not allowed to, or if you have to ask for permission, by all means ask and respect the organisers.

    Nobody really has a right to photograph or not to be photographed. Its maturity and courtesy here.

  6. #6
    Senior Member zoossh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wonder if events in public area are legally out of bounds to DSLR photography?

    Quote Originally Posted by sigg View Post
    What are your rights attending such open events? I have to say they are limited, always subjected to in house rules. They could do an about U-TURN and prohibit any form of photography in the middle of the 'show' asper the above thread, so you will always be at their discretion. What option do you have here?
    just wonder if they have such rights to apply such "in house" rules and what is considered as "in house". generally their working areas such as the backstage, should be considered as in house, but the open area within bounded perimeter... not sure abt that.

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    Default Re: Wonder if events in public area are legally out of bounds to DSLR photography?

    Quote Originally Posted by zoossh View Post
    just wonder if they have such rights to apply such "in house" rules and what is considered as "in house". generally their working areas such as the backstage, should be considered as in house, but the open area within bounded perimeter... not sure abt that.
    I think, logically speaking will be the bounded perimeter of the event area. That area belongs to them.

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    Senior Member zoossh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wonder if events in public area are legally out of bounds to DSLR photography?

    Quote Originally Posted by melvinchen View Post
    In short, I think it depends on the type of event.

    If say someone is holding a public wedding or funeral or private function at a public place, what makes you think you have any right?
    i believe you are talking about private events held on public grounds open to private associates. no, strangers dun barge into a wedding.

    Quote Originally Posted by melvinchen View Post
    I mean, honestly speaking, you think you paid for the ground you stepped on, or what right do you have to photograph them?

    Of course, by law they can't prosecute you if you photograph them, but come on, if you're not welcome, why do you want to shoot them?

    If its a public performance, then it depends on if the performers/organisers have explicitly prohibited photography, if yes, then what right do you think you can exercise? When you say you have a right, means if they don't allow you, you can sue them? Think again, you really have a right?

    I think if its a public event when everyone is photographing, and the organisers didn't prohibit it, then alright. But if you're not allowed to, or if you have to ask for permission, by all means ask and respect the organisers.

    Nobody really has a right to photograph or not to be photographed. Its maturity and courtesy here.
    i'm not so sure if your reply above comes on personal, but i actually is not an event shooter and has no personal conflicts of interest in this discussion. if you refer to the post above, i have said i believe most photographers are trying to seek a balance and not as what you have described or implied.

    it is not just a matter of rights, but also a matter of right and wrong. if organisers execute regulations which is discrimatory and unreasonable and formalise it as legal rights if it is not (i put if here, is becos i'm still seeking further information and knowledge on it).

    maturity are placed on relevant grounds. if the reason is based on confidentiality, state security, safety of the public/performer or avoiding actual interference of the event, i didn't really come across anyone who argued that their rights take precedence, have you?

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    Senior Member zoossh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wonder if events in public area are legally out of bounds to DSLR photography?

    Quote Originally Posted by sigg View Post
    I think, logically speaking will be the bounded perimeter of the event area. That area belongs to them.
    i supposed those event area are probably non-public areas, although they may be outside a building? that is what i thought, but ain't sure.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Wonder if events in public area are legally out of bounds to DSLR photography?

    Every legal situation is to a certain extent unique, but it does not mean that the law is different for every situation, or that the same legal principles cannot apply.

    Just like every girl is different, but a good lover will understand how to win her heart, there are certain things he knows which apply and which work even though every girl is unique.



    Quote Originally Posted by zoossh View Post
    but i hope you understand the exact reason why such question is asked is becos the situations varies from one situation to another, and such topics are frequently asked in different context, and people are trying to find a balance between protecting their rights but not wanting to behave obnoxious to the public mind (some non photographers sees us as being proud, pushy and too adamant on our rights, and being insensitive and intrusive).
    Last edited by waileong; 20th March 2008 at 08:17 PM.

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    Senior Member zoossh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wonder if events in public area are legally out of bounds to DSLR photography?

    to avoid possible arguments that comes on between different photographers representing different interest, i just hope to re-emphasised the purpose here is to seek objective information primarily.

    there are a few issues to it, e.g. what are the actual boundaries of our rights and other people rights? there is some difference as to what is right and wrong. rules such as dogs and so-and-so are not allowed can be discriminatory but may not be illegal due to absence of law over that. and next thing other than the above two issues is what is actually advisable and how should one handle the situation. for example, it is not wrong to resist when being robbed, but it is advisable not to resist to avoid being injured.

    of cos i dun mean that the examples raised here is in similar implication of the positions of the organiser and the photographer, but i think there is a need to have an idea that
    1. wanting to know one's legal rights
    2. discussing on what's right and what's wrong
    3. discussing on how one should handle a situation in different context.
    are all different issues that are inter-related but one does not necessarily lead to another.

    and last of all, let's make it a cordial discussion. we may have some disagreement in opinions, but this thread is more on finding out the facts.

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    Senior Member zoossh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wonder if events in public area are legally out of bounds to DSLR photography?

    Quote Originally Posted by waileong View Post
    Every legal situation is to a certain extent unique, but it does not mean that the law is different for every situation, or that the same legal principles cannot apply.

    Just like every girl is different, but a good lover will understand how to win her heart, there are certain things he knows which apply and which work even though every girl is unique.
    exactly. i think it would be useful for everyone to know their perimeters and others perimeters, and where should be a DMZ. even among photographers, there may be a lot of misunderstanding or ill feelings when it comes to the right of way. some people gets into other people's way not becos they are trying to be insensitive or rude, but becos they are not aware of the rights of the way.

    i think it is very much similar to traffic and the rights of the way. having an understanding on that is good for everyone. and of cos having the rights of the way doesn't allow a driver to be rude to the other. the same goes for the photographer and the security guard.

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    Default Re: Wonder if events in public area are legally out of bounds to DSLR photography?

    for whats right and wrong, i think that would be how the photo is used and seen.

    liek army open house, to us a photo of the hanger is a great keeper shot, but to a terrorist it might be more info on the structure.

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    Senior Member zoossh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wonder if events in public area are legally out of bounds to DSLR photography?

    Quote Originally Posted by noob117 View Post
    for whats right and wrong, i think that would be how the photo is used and seen.

    liek army open house, to us a photo of the hanger is a great keeper shot, but to a terrorist it might be more info on the structure.
    not just that, the photographic process is more complicated than that. apart from inert objects and the landscape, when you work with a living subject, there are many things to worry about or think about. i think melvin is also right in the way with regards to streets and candids. when it is said that photographer has a right to take photograph standing on public grounds at a scene in public, that does not mean one has a right to intrude into the privacy of someone in public within uncomfortable distance or insist on continuing the process should the subject express a wish not to be photographed.

    going on on whether on the rights to publish or not, well that is entirely another whole big issue. so what if saddam hussein or a convicted rapist does not wish his photo be published, does the media abide? and any wrong of the videoman during his coverage of a trekking to disclose his footage of the routine of tibetans being gunned down when they are trying to cross over the himalayans to meet dalai lama? all these are food for thoughts but too big to be covered here.

    understandably, situations vary from one to another. it would be very unlikely that a performer in the carnival does not wish to photographed, but perhaps you may not want to flash right into their eyes at close distance unexpectedly. one still got to watch what they are doing shooting from below the stage and practice discretion. and moving on to celebrities under interview, they dun have to be photographed if they dun wish to and it doesn't mean if they are celebrities, they have to abide to that.

    as for the open house, well, it is up to the authorities to watch what they are showing, in particular to the interior mechanism of certain things. you may be worrying too much on that.

    as far as i'm concerned, if i'm taking photographs of the security guard he himself right in his own face, i'm in total agreement that he has the absolute right of stopping me if he wish not to be taken photographed of. other than that, all of us should be sensitive and considerate if the rule is there for a good reason, e.g. no tripod allowed in a congested area.
    Last edited by zoossh; 21st March 2008 at 01:16 AM.

  15. #15
    vince123123
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    Default Re: Wonder if events in public area are legally out of bounds to DSLR photography?

    There's quite a clear difference between what's the legal position, and what the "moral" position is. You'll need to decide which one you're intending to discuss. The legal position on this issue is really quite clear, but the "moral position" may be the subject of diverging views.

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    Senior Member zoossh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wonder if events in public area are legally out of bounds to DSLR photography?

    Quote Originally Posted by vince123123 View Post
    There's quite a clear difference between what's the legal position, and what the "moral" position is. You'll need to decide which one you're intending to discuss. The legal position on this issue is really quite clear.
    legal.

    so can i clarify that within their fenced perimeter (regardless of areas open to public or their working areas), no, becos we assume that the fenced perimeter is what the organiser rented from the owner of the land supposedly that is private lands.

    and if we are shooting by standing outside the fenced perimeter, yes, provided that the pictures taken are not of offensive nature.

    and may i ask what can consitute harassment? by blocking one's pathway, it probably is. by blocking one's vision, probably not?

  17. #17
    vince123123
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    Default Re: Wonder if events in public area are legally out of bounds to DSLR photography?

    Okay then, my view on the legal position.

    1. Within a private area (but assuming you had access because it was open to the public), if you start taking photographs, there is nothing legally wrong with that.

    However, if the owner notices you and asks you to stop failing which you will have to leave, and you persist, then you will be considered a trespasser.

    If you leave, then nothing can be done to you.

    2. Within a private area (but you have no access because it is not open to the public), then whatever you do, just stepping inside would count as trespass, whether or not you decide to take photos.

    3. Within a public area (ie owned by no one), there is no laws prohibiting photography per se, save in the situation where other laws apply (defamation, CP infringement, outrage etc).

    Blocking one's path is probably better classified as wrongful restraint rather than harassment. Blocking one's vision is a little more unclear - it may or may not fall under the S13A intentional harssment definition.

    Quote Originally Posted by zoossh View Post
    legal.

    so can i clarify that within their fenced perimeter (regardless of areas open to public or their working areas), no, becos we assume that the fenced perimeter is what the organiser rented from the owner of the land supposedly that is private lands.

    and if we are shooting by standing outside the fenced perimeter, yes, provided that the pictures taken are not of offensive nature.

    and may i ask what can consitute harassment? by blocking one's pathway, it probably is. by blocking one's vision, probably not?

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    Default Re: Wonder if events in public area are legally out of bounds to DSLR photography?

    Heya zoosh,

    Just to share with you some funny incident I encountered. I actually went to our local neighbourhood police post to look for answers regarding the the same issue posted and this was what I got.

    Mee: Hi good morning sir. I would like to ask you a few questions regarding some issues. I hope you can help clear my doubts.
    Police Officer: *Warm smile* Of course and your name please...

    Skipping the boring introduction...

    M: Are we allowed to shoot pictures in public places?
    PO: Yes. Only if you are allowed to.

    M: Eerr... what do you mean only if I am allowed to?
    PO: Which part do of my explanation do you not understand?

    M: Ok nevermind. Say if I am in mall open to public, can I shoot pictures there?
    PO: If the owner of the building says ok, you can. If the owner says no, then no.
    M: *How much more simpler can it get? I chuckled.*

    M: Ok then, if I am in a public event, can I take pictures there as well?
    PO: *Sigh. A moment of silence. Rolls eyes.* This can go on forever, I thought I told you already right? It works the same everywhere here.

    M: Ok ok...I asked because recently I was stopped by some security officer for shooting at a public reservoir park. He warned that I could be arrested and sent to jail for doing that. Can you confirm and advise this matter?
    PO: Short answer is NO. Long answer is Yes and No. Yes if you try to hurt him or create a nuisance/danger/threat in public. No if you are not breaking the law. But if he tells you to leave the vicinity, it is better if you comply to avoid unnecessary complains from the management.

    M: So I can still take pictures there right?
    PO: Which part of my explanation do you not understand?

    M: OK thank you bye.
    PO: *Showed signs of great relief*

    What I have learned so far: here in SG, you need to seek permission for all of the things you want to do (that includes going to the toilet!). Big brother is watching you. But as a rule of the thumb, keep shooting, just don't get caught. I guess vince is right is some way or another. Cheers!

    PS: Its bloody 3am and I am still wide awake! Too much ice cream!!

  19. #19

    Default Re: Wonder if events in public area are legally out of bounds to DSLR photography?

    What you've learnt is to perpetuate the myth that Singaporeans have no rights.

  20. #20
    vince123123
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    Default Re: Wonder if events in public area are legally out of bounds to DSLR photography?

    The policeman is not trained in law and more often than not, merely repeats the "safe" answer.

    I mean, when you have policemen telling you that bashing someone is a "civil offence", that already speaks volumes about their knowledge in law.

    My answer is a little different from his, so do not misunderstand the two. He is saying you need to ask before you can do. I am saying that if the place is open to the public, and you are not informed beforehand on the terms of entry, then you have the right to shoot until you are told you cannot (ie they just told you the terms of entry).

    Quote Originally Posted by hazmee View Post
    Heya zoosh,

    Just to share with you some funny incident I encountered. I actually went to our local neighbourhood police post to look for answers regarding the the same issue posted and this was what I got.

    Mee: Hi good morning sir. I would like to ask you a few questions regarding some issues. I hope you can help clear my doubts.
    Police Officer: *Warm smile* Of course and your name please...

    Skipping the boring introduction...

    M: Are we allowed to shoot pictures in public places?
    PO: Yes. Only if you are allowed to.

    M: Eerr... what do you mean only if I am allowed to?
    PO: Which part do of my explanation do you not understand?

    M: Ok nevermind. Say if I am in mall open to public, can I shoot pictures there?
    PO: If the owner of the building says ok, you can. If the owner says no, then no.
    M: *How much more simpler can it get? I chuckled.*

    M: Ok then, if I am in a public event, can I take pictures there as well?
    PO: *Sigh. A moment of silence. Rolls eyes.* This can go on forever, I thought I told you already right? It works the same everywhere here.

    M: Ok ok...I asked because recently I was stopped by some security officer for shooting at a public reservoir park. He warned that I could be arrested and sent to jail for doing that. Can you confirm and advise this matter?
    PO: Short answer is NO. Long answer is Yes and No. Yes if you try to hurt him or create a nuisance/danger/threat in public. No if you are not breaking the law. But if he tells you to leave the vicinity, it is better if you comply to avoid unnecessary complains from the management.

    M: So I can still take pictures there right?
    PO: Which part of my explanation do you not understand?

    M: OK thank you bye.
    PO: *Showed signs of great relief*

    What I have learned so far: here in SG, you need to seek permission for all of the things you want to do (that includes going to the toilet!). Big brother is watching you. But as a rule of the thumb, keep shooting, just don't get caught. I guess vince is right is some way or another. Cheers!

    PS: Its bloody 3am and I am still wide awake! Too much ice cream!!

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