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Thread: "Photography not allowed" - Legal?

  1. #1

    Default "Photography not allowed" - Legal?

    Two questions:

    1. If you are in a building or shopping centre, "No photography" signs are common. Is this supported by Singapore law?

    2. If you take a photo of someone (eg street photography), is it illegal in Singapore? And does it differ if you are on the street versus photographing in a privately-owned building?

    Thanks.

  2. #2

    Default Re: "Photography not allowed" - Legal?

    1. probably yes, when it is private property. if you stand outside the premises and shoot inside though, then that's another story.

    2. no. and yes. for the former, no one has the right to make you delete pictures, unless it is militarily sensitive, etc, i.e. common sense stuff. for the latter, they do have the right, if i'm not wrong.

  3. #3

    Default Re: "Photography not allowed" - Legal?

    A1) Yes and no.

    A2) Yes and no.

    All depends.

    Do a search, these topics have been discussed deep deep here on CS.

  4. #4

    Default Re: "Photography not allowed" - Legal?

    1) yes its law binding, as these signs wld be placed up by the management of these private properties (even shopping complexes)... and they do have the right. they can even charge you for transpassing.
    2) on the streets, as long as its not deemed a "terrorist threat" or personally degrading it would be fine. On private property, basically... u need permission..

  5. #5
    vince123123
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    Default Re: "Photography not allowed" - Legal?

    1. The "No Photography" sign will be, in my view, an indication of a condition of entry to the building or shopping centre. Hence, if you wish to enter the shopping centre or stay in the shopping centre, you will need to abide by the "No Photography" sign.

    If you then take out your camera and start taking photographs, you will then be in violation of the condition of entry, and the authorised buiiding personnel now has the right to ask you to leave.

    If you leave at that point, then no harm done, and they can't ask you to do anything further, such as surrendering your camera, etc.

    If you refuse to leave at that point, then you are now trespassing on their property. Trespass is both a criminal and civil offence, and they may use this as a bargaining chip to get you to do what they want. in other words "surrender your photos or I'll take action against you for trespass".

    2. It is not illegal in Singapore per se, provided you don't fall under the usual upskirt/downblouse/outrage of modesty scenarios. By illegal, I mean a criminal offence.

    It is also not "illegal (some people use this word to mean civil liability instead of criminal liability) in my opinion as far as civil liability goes. This is because there is no established cause of action which allows a subject to take civil action against a photographer.

    There is no difference in terms of both civil and criminal liability as far as the subject is concerned, whether you are on the street or in a privately owned building. In the case of a privately owned building however, do take note of the trespass points I've made in (1) above. However, this is liability to the building management, and not the subject you are photographing (which honestly, has almost no right against a photographer).

    In other words, if the subject complains to the building management and they find the complaint worth pursuing, they can ask you to leave or face trespass liability. However, as before, they have no right to ask you to surrender your camera or the like.

    Quote Originally Posted by kuoann View Post
    Two questions:

    1. If you are in a building or shopping centre, "No photography" signs are common. Is this supported by Singapore law?

    2. If you take a photo of someone (eg street photography), is it illegal in Singapore? And does it differ if you are on the street versus photographing in a privately-owned building?

    Thanks.
    Last edited by vince123123; 2nd April 2009 at 11:03 AM.

  6. #6

    Default Re: "Photography not allowed" - Legal?

    Just for information ...

    any employees of the owner, or any person/company/agency authorised by the building management has the right to ask you to leave the premise if you are in violation ....
    always the Light, .... always.

  7. #7
    vince123123
    Guests

    Default Re: "Photography not allowed" - Legal?

    Eh, my own view is that "any employees" having the power to ask you to leave is too wide. I seriously doubt that a janitor or odd job labourer has the right to ask you to leave the building, nor do I think that a third party will view such people as having the ostensible authority to do so.

    Quote Originally Posted by Canonised View Post
    Just for information ...

    any employees of the owner, or any person/company/agency authorised by the building management has the right to ask you to leave the premise if you are in violation ....

  8. #8
    Moderator diver-hloc's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Photography not allowed" - Legal?

    1) Yes - Places like Shopping Centre is a place of business... Not really a public place at all.

    2) Yes & No - It isn't illegal under the law (unless you are using the photo for illegal use, example : Up-Skirt photo etc)

    Please note.... being an Aisa country, there are still alot of people in S'pore, which includes ME, who does like getting my photo taken unless I was 'asked' 1st.

    Scuba & Father... For Life

  9. #9

    Default Re: "Photography not allowed" - Legal?

    Quote Originally Posted by vince123123 View Post
    Eh, my own view is that "any employees" having the power to ask you to leave is too wide. I seriously doubt that a janitor or odd job labourer has the right to ask you to leave the building, nor do I think that a third party will view such people as having the ostensible authority to do so.
    in the examples, technically speaking .....
    third party as in contracted agency, such as security, etc..
    if a janitor job scope included, then bopien .... he can ask you to leave ... (think .... those small buildings, houses, etc..)
    always the Light, .... always.

  10. #10
    vince123123
    Guests

    Default Re: "Photography not allowed" - Legal?

    In that case, I'll ask him to show me his letter of authorisation before I'll be convinced that he indeed has such authority. I don't know about small houses, I'm referring to "buildings and shopping centres" as stated by the TS.

    Quote Originally Posted by Canonised View Post
    in the examples, technically speaking .....
    third party as in contracted agency, such as security, etc..
    if a janitor job scope included, then bopien .... he can ask you to leave ... (think .... those small buildings, houses, etc..)

  11. #11

    Default Re: "Photography not allowed" - Legal?

    Quote Originally Posted by kuoann View Post
    Two questions:

    1. If you are in a building or shopping centre, "No photography" signs are common. Is this supported by Singapore law?

    2. If you take a photo of someone (eg street photography), is it illegal in Singapore? And does it differ if you are on the street versus photographing in a privately-owned building?

    Thanks.

    Searching through stat penal briefly , i have not found any law that is specific to photography on private property.

    However you may want to take note under penal code chapter XVII if it is consider a potential trespass in some (http://statutes.agc.gov.sg/non_versi...8373002-002619)

    Criminal trespass.
    441. Whoever enters into or upon property in the possession of another with intent to commit an offence or to intimidate, insult or annoy any person in possession of such property, or having lawfully entered into or upon such property, unlawfully remains there with intent thereby to intimidate, insult or annoy any such person, or with intent to commit an offence, is said to commit “criminal trespass”.


    So whether taking a photo in a private property that potentially may / may not insult/annoy the person in possession of such property (etc - if the owner of the private property ask you to leave and stop taking photograph inside his property but you refuse to heed , and continue to be inside the property and in doing so , resulting in "insult or annoy" the person in possession of such property.).


    Taking photo outside the private property does not mean the owner of that private property cannot take legal action. It depends etc , what you are capturing and your intention to the photo (etc may fall under copyright / trademark act).

    You may want to approach the legal channel for their advice.

    My humble opinion

    Best Regards
    Last edited by kitkat; 2nd April 2009 at 01:12 PM.

  12. #12
    vince123123
    Guests

    Default Re: "Photography not allowed" - Legal?

    Taking of a photograph of a building does not infringe copyright in the building.

    As for trade mark, I have yet to encounter anyone registering the shape of a building as a trade mark. Even if there is one, taking a photograph of the building does not infringe on registered trade mark rights.

    Quote Originally Posted by kitkat View Post
    Taking photo outside the private property does not mean the owner of that private property cannot take legal action. It depends etc , what you are capturing and your intention to the photo (etc may fall under copyright / trademark act).

    You may want to approach the legal channel for their advice.

    My humble opinion

    Best Regards

  13. #13

    Default Re: "Photography not allowed" - Legal?

    Quote Originally Posted by vince123123 View Post
    Taking of a photograph of a building does not infringe copyright in the building.

    As for trade mark, I have yet to encounter anyone registering the shape of a building as a trade mark. Even if there is one, taking a photograph of the building does not infringe on registered trade mark rights.
    Taking a photograph as per se does not infringe a copyright itself. It could be part of a property (etc an ideal of some advertised inscription used intended for commercial usage by the photographer)

    But yes, that is a not good example (on the copyright) in this thread.
    Last edited by kitkat; 2nd April 2009 at 02:42 PM.

  14. #14
    vince123123
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    Default Re: "Photography not allowed" - Legal?

    Are you talking about say, a poster hanging on the side of the wall of the building, that gets "accidentally" caught in flim? If not, what exactly are you talking about? I'm still not sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by kitkat View Post
    Taking a photograph as per se does not infringe a copyright itself. It could be part of a property (etc an ideal of some advertised inscription used intended for commercial usage by the photographer)

    But yes, that is a not good example (on the copyright) in this thread.

  15. #15

    Default Re: "Photography not allowed" - Legal?

    Quote Originally Posted by kitkat View Post
    Searching through stat penal briefly , i have not found any law that is specific to photography on private property.

    However you may want to take note under penal code chapter XVII if it is consider a potential trespass in some (http://statutes.agc.gov.sg/non_versi...8373002-002619)

    Criminal trespass.
    441. Whoever enters into or upon property in the possession of another with intent to commit an offence or to intimidate, insult or annoy any person in possession of such property, or having lawfully entered into or upon such property, unlawfully remains there with intent thereby to intimidate, insult or annoy any such person, or with intent to commit an offence, is said to commit “criminal trespass”.


    So whether taking a photo in a private property that potentially may / may not insult/annoy the person in possession of such property (etc - if the owner of the private property ask you to leave and stop taking photograph inside his property but you refuse to heed , and continue to be inside the property and in doing so , resulting in "insult or annoy" the person in possession of such property.).


    Taking photo outside the private property does not mean the owner of that private property cannot take legal action. It depends etc , what you are capturing and your intention to the photo (etc may fall under copyright / trademark act).

    You may want to approach the legal channel for their advice.

    My humble opinion

    Best Regards
    To all the posters above, thanks for your contributions. Special thanks to kitkat for trying to actually search the law and give an informed reply.

    The background for Question 1 is that sometimes I'm taking photos of my kids in a shopping centre, or even her childcare centre (which happens to be MOE) and I get told off rather curtly by security people. Not that I want to be a prick, but if push came to shove (figuratively speaking) I wanted to know where the actual law stands.

    Question 2 is vaguely related. I've read that in some countries its illegal, but that in Singapore there's no law against taking photos of anyone on the street. (No, I'm not talking about upskirt videos!)

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