Thursday, June 16, 2005

Photographers' Rights Not so Picture Perfect

Today's lesson on the First Amendment. This picture is not illegal:

Dome to Left

Neither is this one:

B&W Brooklyn Bridge & Empire State Bldg

The US Capitol and Brooklyn Bridge are icons that thousands of tourists take pictures of every day. But photographers are being increasingly stopped, questioned, even arrested for taking pictures simply because the subject in their lens could be a terrorist target.

Both the Capitol and Brooklyn Bridge fit that bill.

NPR presents a story of a photographer arrested for taking pictures of the sunset -- and staying in jail until around midnight without being allowed to speak to a lawyer. It happened here in the United States.

Before you pack your camera and film for your next vacation, you may want to download and print a helpful sheet from Oregon-based photographer and attorney Bert Krages. He's the author of Legal Handbook for Photographers: The Rights and Liabilities of Making Images.
He's also got helpful advice on what to do to avoid confrontation when an over anxious security guard or police officer threatens to take away your camera or lock you up without a lawyer. He's had more than 175,000 people download his one page Your Rights and Remedies When Stopped or Confronted for Photography.

Having that advice in your pocket will let you focus on what's in your viewfinder. (NPR -- Audio)

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