Photography Forbidden in Shopping Malls ?

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by charlies_photo-favs, Dec 29, 2012.

  1. I posted this rant yesterday on my Facebook page - www.facebook.com/charliewest
    Comment there if you wish to and wondering about your experiences in malls.
    Seems that the good old U.S.A. that I once knew and the freedoms that I have enjoyed for most of my many years are coming to an end is this country. Yesterday we were shopping in Cool Springs Galleria in Franklin. I was wandering around, because I'm not much on shopping, while the others were in the stores. I had my camera and was taking some photos of the central area where Christmas decorations ...were still in place and just enjoying my photographic passion. A Security Officer approached me and told me I could not take photographs inside the mall. I supposed I looked dumfounded at first, then said "you gotta be s!@#$@! me". He said that it was the Mall regulatiions and that he was just doing what he was told to do. After venting on the poor guys a minute, I apologized and told him I knew he was just doing his job. I asked where the Mall office was, he gave me directions, and I proceeded there.
    I asked the lady at one of desks for a copy of the Mall regulations and she replied that they are on their website but asked if I would like to talk to the Mall General Manager. I replied "yes". During my discussion with him I was told that the mall was private property and that they did not allow photography for security and privacy issues. I told him that I thought that was wrong and that I believe the our U.S. Constitution protected my rights to do what I was doing in a place open to the public. He was rather short with me in saying that the mall was open to the public however it was still private property and they had rules. He said that the 'Code of Conduct' was posted on signs at the Mall entrances and on the Mall's website. I put the camera away and left the mall. On the way out I stopped to read the sign the manager had told me about. Nowhere on this sign is any mention of photography. When I got home I looked up the Cool Spring's Galleria website and the link to the 'Code of Conduct'. Again, no mention about any restrictions on photography.

    I googled 'is photography in malls illegal' and got a lot of hits. Seems as if this has happened to many others in various places in the country. Some say that the malls don't have the authority to enforce this and others say they do because, although its open to the public, its private property.
    Well, in a follow-up email to the mall manager, I again told him why that I thought such rules were completely out of place in a 'free society'. I also mentioned that I would not be back taking any photographs nor be back for any other reason. I really wanted to tell him to 'stick his mall' , but I didn't. I'm sure high society Franklin will miss my meager contribution the their economy.
    I feel sorry for our young people that have many more years to live in what used to be a great country. Politics. laws, political correctness, unchecked illegal immigration, and a declining economy mostly affecting the middle class are ruining America. And commenting again on my mall experience I guess we are becoming more like China or Russia as time goes by.
     
  2. Nah. We're still the U.S.A. Spend a year or two in Russia and China. Then get back to us with an essay on the differences in freedoms.
    Like you, I think it may be a bit of overkill in response to September 11. But, to some extent, I also understand it. And it certainly is private property and the prerogative of the mall to make up its regulations. With the proliferation of cameras (every phone has one) we are virtually assaulted with picture taking everywhere we go. So, when we're having a day out with kids at the mall, or grabbing lunch, or standing on line at a mall movie theater, is it so terrible if we ask our camera-wielding fellow citizens NOT to take pictures?
    IMO, as a photographer, one thing I've learned is that the pictures I DON'T take are as important as the ones I do. And, often, taking less pictures actually makes me a better photographer. That's neither here nor there, though, as this is a matter of law, and the law is on the side of the mall, as I think it should be. I wouldn't want anyone telling me what I could or couldn't do on my own private property.
    Now, you make a good point about it being private property opened to the public. And, because of that they must abide by certain federal and state regulations so, for instance, they can't deny access on the basis of race. But, if they feel it's in their best business interests to ban photographing, then that's what they should do. I wonder if you took a poll of most shoppers, how they'd feel about it. My guess is sentiments could go either way. I like the idea of at least some photo free zones in the world. Many restaurants, individual stores I patronize, office buildings, and other entities ban it. I appreciate that many restaurants and stores also ban cell phone use.
    While to the users, they may be important and may serve an important function, from practical to artistic, to others they can simply be a nuisance. In a civilized society, no freedom is absolute. It may extend only as far as your neighbor's front steps, or personal space in some cases. I'd love, for example, to go to a movie in San Francisco and not be interrupted by someone's cell phone accidentally ringing or someone intentionally texting during the movie, in complete disregard of my own right to enjoy the movie. And there are regulations about cell phone use in the movies, but people violate them all the time.
    So, I say, buck up. There are PLENTY of places to take photos. Seek them out.
     
  3. Sorry, Charlie, no sympathy here. Malls are private property, and they make the rules. Malls not only have the right to prohibit photography on their property, but they have an obligtion to protect the people who shop there. Not to mention the need to protect themselves from lawsuits from people who don't wish to be photographed there.
    Oh, and the difference between us and China and Russia? You still have your camera, and you're not in jail.
    (Edit: Fred beat me to it.)
     
  4. The mall manager is correct. There are three types of places:

    1. Public places, such as public streets, parks, etc. Generally, a photographer in a public place can take pictures of
    anything or anyone in that place or visible from that place (including adjacent people, objects and private buildings). No
    permission is ever required but publication or commercial use of the photos may be subject to restrictions.

    2. Private property NOT open to the public, such as private land, houses, offices, etc. A photographer must have PRIOR
    permission to take photos while on the premises of such a place. No public signs are required.

    3. Private property open to the public, such as SHOPPING MALLS, restaurants, theaters, churches, cemeteries, etc.. If there is a
    conspicuous sign that prohibits photography, NO photography is allowed. If there are no signs, there is a legal
    presumption that photography is allowed (as in an actual public place) UNLESS AND UNTIL the owner or his agent tells
    the photographer to stop taking pictures. Once ordered to stop, the photographer who refuses can be forcibly evicted and
    charged with trespassing. However, the photographer cannot be required to destroy or turn over the photos taken BEFORE
    being informed of the prohibition on photography.

    None of this is new. These three categories and the rules for each have been in existence for a very long time.
     
  5. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    Prior posts on this topic:
    http://www.photo.net/casual-conversations-forum/00ayfy
    http://www.photo.net/street-documentary-photography-forum/00A1o0
    http://www.photo.net/street-documentary-photography-forum/00U0jD
    http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=0021Lr
    http://www.photo.net/street-documentary-photography-forum/002kze
    http://www.photo.net/street-documentary-photography-forum/00SyJp
    Nothing has changed since these posts.
     
  6. It's not illegal but it's at the discretion of the property's owner.
    However, the photographer cannot be required to destroy or turn over the photos taken BEFORE being informed of the prohibition on photography.​
    Or after.
     
  7. <<<Nothing has changed since these posts.>>>
    That's not exactly true. What's changed is that Charlie had a personal incident and was interesting in discussing it in those terms.
     
  8. With cr*p like this: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/8109717/Police-warn-of-mall-peepers
    It's no wonder malls don't allow photography, IMHO.
     
  9. Besides, for all they knew, some terrorist might have been taking reconnaissance photos in preparation for an assassination attempt on Santa Claus. The elves are great at building toys, but they're hardly an effective Secret Service!
    I sympathize and agree with you, Charlie. I think we have lost nearly all of our collective marbles as a society. However, the mall management does have the right to be stupid/insane on this issue and to tell you not to take photographs on their property. I think I'd still tell the mall management that rule should also extend to their mannequins!
     
  10. I feel sorry for our young people that have many more years to live in what used to be a great country. Politics. laws, political correctness, unchecked illegal immigration, and a declining economy mostly affecting the middle class are ruining America.​
    Oh right, so political correctness and immigrants are to blame! I was with you there until you revealed that bit of resentful small mindedness. Now I have more sympathy for the Manager who had to politely put up with your angry little tirade.
     
  11. Top of the list on this sort of thing is the litigious nature of our society. The property owners and/or their management company don't want to have to fend off endless law suits from people upset that some Uncle Bob was photographing his family near the mall's decorations, and got someone else's Little Sally in the shot, blah blah blah.

    I got nearly attacked by a shopkeeper in an Italian mall, for pulling out my camera while my wife was window-shopping for jewelry. Verona, I think it was, or Vicenza. Anyway, I tossed the camera back in the bag, and decided to try my best to ask - not why the policy, but why the hostility as an opening round. The shop keeper was selling relatively unique custom work by a couple of high-end local goldsmiths ... and apparently they routinely have to fend off people taking photographs on behalf of the knock-off houses that make a living copying other's work. Frequently, such info is e-mailed off to China and India, and clones of the work start showing up on the market within a couple of weeks.

    Just one of the many reasons that retail establishments don't love such stuff. But in a large US mall, the main driver is law suit reduction.
     
  12. Many Americans think New Zealand is very relaxed, it happens here too. I saw a family maybe tourists were told to leave with their video camera in the early 2000s.
    If you really wanted you could go thru the process and get a permit for photography. I have heard those who shot 8x10 large format got a permit here at the railway station, the same could be done at the airport etc ... Same goes to museums in some certain areas. You could always pretend to do family snapshots with a pocket camera ....... Museums may ask you not to photograph if you don't have family/friends in them .....
     
  13. Charlie: You have been living an uninformed life in your "good old U.S.A." Plus, swearing at a guard is indicative of anger management issues. You are on private property. You do not own the building. You are in fact trespassing with your camera. I have been told countless of times in shopping malls around the world by well meaning security guards of their mall rules. I respect their rules and put the camera away. You need to do the same.
     
  14. Only an incredibly naive person would think the mall is public property in the first place. What public entity paid for it and with whose tax dollars? Mall management doesn't even need a reason to tell you not to photograph there. Their property, their rules. Simple.
     
  15. you can reason with an authority figure like a uniformed guard as he has a duty to perform.
    If it were a person wearing a suit or carrying a broom. the matter is different./
    Iif the man or woman with a suit carried valid Identification, you could be in difficulty with the mall or Museum or store
    if you argued. it is called Disorderly conduct. even sweraring can be considered disorderly conduct.
    HOWEVER
    , this autority figure must conduct themselves in a professional manner.
    if they or a police person acts disrespectful that are subject to disciplinary action.
    In a not too close related incident, My son witnessed an auto accident.
    he pulled into a nearby parking lot and was approaced by the younger of two policemen.
    who with a show of temper demanded my son's ID.
    My son refused which angered the young policeman even more.
    Before the polceman could act or pull his gun.
    AND my son tried to tall him he was just a witness, My son calmly asked the Older policeman if he could turn the young cop over his knee and spank him.
    the older cop laughed. seein.
    he was outnumbered the young cop walked away.
    My son suggest3ed to the older officer that the young cop was
    " not going to make it as a policemen"
    the older officer shook his head but said nothing.
    the older offier was aware that my son was not involved in any way.
    but the young officer was not observbant and acted in a bullish maner
    So unless you have someone with authority on your side nearby. be NICE.
    Ask to talk to the officers superior. Sometimes this person will be nearby watching the scene.
    These people and rarely people with authority act badly.
    some let the badge and uniform go to their heads.
    it is true that freedom and rights here in the USA are diminishing.,
    it is much easier to harras honest and innocent citizens. that to try the same thing when that mercon may decide to so serious hard to a policemen or guard.
    so guess who gets hassled? I read of elderly people being detained and even arrested on a shallow pretense.
    there is an attitude that everything is ILLEGAL unbless it is specifically permitted.
    INSTEAD or only a certain few things being illegal or NOT permitted.
    things are tightening down. it is true we are loosing many freedome.
    and criminals read bad people, get set free because of overcrowding.
    too many things are becoming backwards to what they should be.
     
  16. As others have said, it's private property and the mall owners and managers have the same rights and responsibilities as you on your own private property.
    This becomes a valid concern only when private entities take over public property and use private policing. Google "neo-feudalism" for some of the debates on this issue.
     
  17. I have a written policy someplace that prohibits dancing on my lawn. If I tackle and pitch someone off my lawn when I catch them dancing on it, who goes to jail? While the mall has the right to set up rules - don't ya just hate rules with no reason other than some bizarre fear of ones' soul - or Christmas decorations - being captured by a camera? How on earth could a photograph someones takes be in any way actually harmful? It's like guns, and the old gun control argument that people kill, not guns.
     
  18. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    The root of all this seems to be that some people can't see a difference between a public place and a place where the public are allowed access.
     
  19. Our community's three shopping centers have signs prohibiting skateboarding, roller skating, and bicycling and dogs. The bicycling part always gets me, since one has a bike shop and a bike rack and another has a veterinary. Noone bothers me since I always walk my bike across the parking lot. I did get yelled at once a long ago by a snarling guard. No, I cannot say we are a bike friendly place, but same all over the island.... I know San Francisco and Portland OR are way more tolerant, ( dogs riding bikes is cool there) but I am here and I 'tolerate' the shopping centers with their annoying " Compact Cars Only" (-hah!) parking space widths -from days gone by. ... I accept the seemingly whimsical and even capricious verboten policies. But. Comes the revolution, we all get to wear brass buttons.... Noone notices cameras in these outdoor malls so far.
     
  20. As practical matter, if you use your cell phone to take a picture of your companions at the mall, you are unlikely to be stopped. If you are using a DSLR with a telephoto lens to take pictures of others who are unaware, you are very likely to be stopped.
     
  21. "The root of all this seems to be that some people can't see a difference between a public place and a place where the public are allowed access."​
    Good point. I'd rephrase it slightly: Sometimes it's not readily apparent where the border is between a public place and a privately owned place where the public are allowed access.
    An example would be downtown Fort Worth's Sundance Square. This arts and entertainment district is very safe because of frequent patrols by bicycle mounted police officers as well as private security. These folks on patrol are consistently polite and helpful so it never feels to me as if we're "under surveillance". I've even enjoyed chattering about photography with some bike patrol officers.
    Several years ago, around the early 2000s, I was approached by a bike patrolman while I was using a Rollei TLR on a tripod to photograph some buildings. I was trying to avoid blocking the sidewalk so I scooted sideways a bit onto an adjacent parking lot. Turns out the parking lot was privately owned property. The bike patrolman radioed for instructions and quickly received permission for me to continue taking photos from the parking lot. While we were waiting I saw several pedestrians taking shortcuts across the parking lot - a common experience in any city with this type of parking lot system where there are no fences between the parking lot property and city sidewalks.
    I have no complaints about that experience - it was handled quickly, professionally and courteously. In retrospect, I have no idea whether that particular bike patrolman was a Fort Worth police officer or private security guard.
    But it's a common, if non-controversial, example of the non-apparent boundary between public property and publicly accessible private property.
    Of greater concern would be privately owned open air malls or bazaars where there is little or no readily apparent distinction between the public and private property. In some of these open malls there is a contiguous ingress/egress between the public sidewalk and private property.
     
  22. Part of the freedoms we have left (and the Patriot Act fiasco stripped us of most) is the ability to control our own property. It's the Mall's property, and if they don't want photos, that's that.
     
  23. Why is it that the more ignorant a person is, the more likely they are to post rants on the net?
     
  24. You were on private property. When people can come to your property and photograph as they see fit over your
    objection, then it will be appropriate to whine about lost freedom in the U.S.
     
  25. Forget the mall rules and just go on taking your pictures.
     
  26. Political Views: Very strong but based in fact not hysteria. I won’t spout mine and I don’t want to hear yours!
    That is a direct quote from the OP's facebook page. LOL!
     
  27. Easy solution: Don't take photos in malls.
    For that matter, don't SHOP in malls, either. Malls and shopping centers have destroyed a lot of Main Street mom and pop businesses in the US. Support local businesses by shopping on Main Street instead, which by the way might be a good place to grab some photos.
     
  28. For that matter, don't SHOP in malls, either​
    Excellent advice.
     
  29. I'm with Dan on this one. I accept that shopping malls are private property - and that's what gets my goat. I grew up at a time when we had the High Street, a public space full of owner-occupied shops, not franchises of multi-national chains nor ghastly sterlile caverns like malls. Those times produced this kind of photography:
    http://www.amber-online.com/system/assets/366/450/450/constrain/img
    I recommend you take a look at Jimmy Forsyth's work to see what has been lost - in more than one way.
     
  30. "Nah. We're still the U.S.A. Spend a year or two in Russia and China. Then get back to us with an essay on the differences in freedoms."

    But then also spend a year or two in Europe, and you'll learn a bit about "the land of the free".
    But don't wait too long, since leaders over here are all too eager to kowtow to US-politics and appear to be wanting the same over here.
    But still, we, on either side of the Big Pond, mustn't grumble.
     
  31. Q.G.: Go ahead, out your DSLR with a big lens and go from mall to mall in Europe, taking pictures of people. I'd be curious to see how long you can keep that up. Not only are private European shopping malls just as restrictive when it comes to photography, public shooting in Europe has - depending on the locale - more potential legal entanglements than in the US. So not sure exactly what you're talking about.
     
  32. public shooting in Europe has - depending on the locale - more potential legal entanglements than in the US. So not sure exactly what you're talking about.​

    Perhaps in other parts of Europe but in England it is very similar to the US. The only major difference is that of trespass which is only a civil offence in England.
     
  33. Can't believe you didn't already know what a photagrapher's rights are.
    I shoot in malls all the time. I get told not to all the time. There is no right to shoot on private property. I can think of dozen's of reasons why not. If you owned a mall or had a store in the mall would you want idiots with cameras shooting? Heck no you wouldn't.
    As a mater of experience, in many malls the security is watching you all the time and are usually very nice about it if they see you just dorking around. If you have a bazoomish camera and look serious you will be asked to get permission.
    00bBE5-510911584.jpg
     
  34. Matt,

    What i am talking about are the "differences in freedom", which are not just measured by whether you can or can not take pictures in a mall.

    But on the subject of malls, or shopping centers: why would you think there would be "more potential legal entanglements"? What you can expect is to be asked to leave the premises, and if you don't, wait for the police (security guards are civilians with "security guard" as their job title. No special powers) to arrive to escort you off the premises. At worst you could be charged with tresspassing. But in court that would be dropped immediately unless you had been told not to enter the premisses beforehand. If you resist when being removed by the police, you could be fined for that.

    But as mentioned, my remark wasn't specifically aimed at what happens in malls, but at the difference in freedoms Fred mentioned.
    We really have not much to complain about on either side of the Atlantic. Yet there are differences, and if you want to do a comparative study, don't compare the situation in the U.S. to countries known to be rather repressive only. Come to Europe too, before you present your essay on differences in freedom. ;-)
     
  35. A law/rule without a well founded reason is almost like prison without justice (one of my theses ;-) ).
    The question is then: What makes taking photographs inside shopping malls so wrong that it should be banned (by the mall owners)? I have no answer for that, but my best guess is that it is all about worried mall owners being afraid that their customers are disturbed in their shopping activity by knowing/seeing they are being photographed.
     
  36. <<<my best guess is that it is all about worried mall owners being afraid that their customers are disturbed in their shopping activity by knowing/seeing they are being photographed.>>>
    That seems like a good guess and also a great reason for them to restrict the taking of photos on their property. As I said, I'm all for photo free zones on private property that the public is invited to. It often enhances my experience on such property. And, yes, as a photographer, sometimes it is a real drag to be restricted. But I usually manage to find something else to photograph. I try not to worry about the road not taken and often get my best pics when I'm on a road found by taking a wrong turn.
     
  37. In the USA, if there aren't any signs posted near the entrances. You can shoot away. I've called lawyers (ACLU, and a prof of law), about this very issue. You might be arrested, but you can sue for false arrest. What judge would even hear such a case if there were no signs? after all it is a camera, not a gun.
    That said, I wouldn't antagonize the mall police and continue shooting, after being asked to stop.
    A lot of this nonsense is a post 911 knee jerk reaction."We're doing something, so we can say we're doing something". It's BS.
    The premise is that "if only we caught the 911 planners, when they were photographing the WTC and the Pentagon, we could have stopped the attacks".Okay, and I have bridge in Brooklyn I'm selling.
    Photography isn't going to help or hinder anyone, terrorist or patriot. Nor will banning it stop the next (God forbid) attacks.
    My favorite signs in NYC are at the tunnel and bridge entrances : "USE OF CAMERAS PROHIBITED". I guess they never heard of GOOGLE maps/earth? I can view their bridges from space. why would they stop me from photographing them?
    For a short time a photography ban was considered on NYC subways, and stations. it was then pointed out that Grand Central Terminal is the 6th or 7th, most visited landmark on Earth.
     
  38. Dress like a Mommy. Full drag... whatever it takes. Mommies are rarely challenged, especially if they have small children with them. Alternatively, carry your gear in shopping bags from the most expensive shop in the mall. Then they might treat you more like a valued customer than a "creep with a camera".
     
  39. after all it is a camera, not a gun.​


    Worryingly, guns seem to be more acceptable in the US than cameras!
    I guess they never heard of GOOGLE maps/earth? I can view their bridges from space.​


    Well, from an aircraft. Google images do not come from space!
     
  40. <<<You might be arrested, but you can sue for false arrest.>>>
    Fabulous advice! Are you actually listening to yourself?
    <<<A lot of this nonsense is a post 911 knee jerk reaction.>>>
    I suggested this as well, but think there's more going on and it's just a matter that camera proliferation has probably exponentially increased since 911. I think a lot of it is about annoyance of customers and shop owners not wanting their windows and inventory photographed. It's also about people's perceived levels of privacy. Everyone has seen photos plastered all over Facebook and Flickr and they don't want theirs (and especially don't want their kids') photos suddenly appearing on the Internet because everyone with a camera is entitled to snap and post whatever they want.
     
  41. Guys, let's remember that every phone is now a camera. How can they possibly stop photography?
    BTW, I'm poor. I could use a quick cash settlement for being falsely prosecuted.
     
  42. Steve L.
    You are just plan wrong to say that if there are no signs you have an implicit right to shoot. If you are inside or ourtside -- private property is private property.
    Matt
    "Legal entanglements" are not all the same. All sorts of issues could come up with regarding customers and stores. Store displays, for example, are closely guarded creative rights. Security measures have to be protected in spite of us poor, bored photographers. No more book stores or camera stores anymore! I agree, there should be photo playlands.
     
  43. Almost everyone has a camera on them, and almost everyone with a camera is already snapping pictures and posting them all over the Internet. It might be a lost battle to try to prevent it. Or at least it will be a lot of battles to try to prevent it.
     
  44. I see where Mat did mention the various legal snags. Sorry 'bout that.
    Ann:
    As far as phone cams go, I think we're in for a ton of law disputes. I think that may be a good topic to ponder! Our camera culture is going to have a sea change.
     
  45. I want to ask a question at this point. Who and why do "you" want to go to the mall and shoot. Never mind your real or imagined rights, why do you want to do it? Pay particular attention to the "who".
    Then. Do "you " have the right to photograph anyone you like as long as they are not in their homes? And even if you have that right, should you do it?
    When I shoot for the newspaper I am frequently approached by people, some of them mildly hostile, asking what I am doing. At first I was annoyed by them. Now I completely understand. Especially where children are concerned. (A sad commentary.) Of course the rules are quite different for the news but that is not important to this discussion. Now I tell them who I am and sometimes what I am doing. When I can I honor their request not to be photographed.
    Should people going to a shopping mall have a reasonable expectation that the mall will make the place as comfortable for them as possible? I think they should.
     
  46. Well, are those battles worth it for thousands of years to come?
     
  47. <<<Well, are those battles worth it for thousands of years to come?>>>
    Anyone who thinks we have thousands of years to come may be kidding themselves.
    Even if we do, what I call "the peeping tom syndrome" has been around for ages and will continue. Many people don't realize just how voyeuristic they are, or at least won't admit it.
    Ann, it's not a new battle. It's just an iteration of an old one: where does one person's freedom bump up against another's and how do we reconcile a bunch of "free" individuals sharing the same planet.
     
  48. http://www.photo.net/classic-cameras-forum/00Zeih is where my similar story is told.
     
  49. Just because I can doesn't mean I have to or, more importantly, want to.
     
  50. ...almost everyone with a camera is already snapping pictures and posting them all over the Internet. It might be a lost battle to try to prevent it. [Ann Overland]​
    Concert venues are a good example where it would be impossible for concert hall security to stop everyone with a smartphone, compact digital camera, etc. Just go on YouTube to watch any performance from Adam Lambert to ZZ Top. Before entering the Nokia Theater L.A. Live, everyone must walk through a detector.
    Especially where children are concerned. (A sad commentary.) [Rick M.]​
    This is true with private ice or roller rinks. Rink guards have stopped me from photographing at a privately owned rink because of the fact that it was privately owned and that some parents were concerned about their children being photographed without their permission.
    I have also been told to stop photographing a Hollywood movie shoot on a public street because of "copyright" reasons.
    Using a camera NORMALLY does not give anyone authority to argue about needing or wanting to continue photographing where they have been told to stop for whatever reason given.
     
  51. Anyone who thinks we have thousands of years to come may be kidding themselves.​
    I think that those who believe that the world is about to go under any time soon are kidding themselves. I don't know if cameras will be around for as long as mankind will be around. But in some kind of form I think they will be.
     
  52. This is a nation based on law. Can I come into your bedroom and take photos? It's a free country, ain't it? Can I follow your kid around and take pictures of him/her 24 hours a day? (Cue in the Freedom Bells ringing.) I worked for the world's biggest news gathering orgnization and 11 different newspapers, taking photos. I've taken hundreds of photos the establishment would rather had never been taken. But I ain't stoopid, I know there are rules. This is not a nation of anarchy, sorry.
     
  53. Ann, just to be clear, it's not a Mayan thing with me, it's an environmental and weapons of mass destruction thing. If we don't destroy ourselves by our habit of abusing the planet and its resources, we likely will do so in the name of . . . ahem . . . peace.
    But that was just an aside, really. My main point is that, yes, these are battles worth having and, in time, will likely sort themselves out. Right now, cell phone cameras and taking pictures of anything and everything that one comes across is a novelty. Most novelties naturally wear off in time. At least one can hope.
     
  54. In my country (Finland) some stores used to post signs to forbid photography in their premises but now they cannot do that any more (the law changed). I think it takes quite blue eyes to think of the USA as "free" - the difference to e.g. Finland is quite striking. One area where it is particularly evident is in the behavior of police officers.
    Anyway, photography at malls isn't that interesting, usually; the commercial stuff just gets in your face. But the life people live while in the malls is still a part of their lives and worth documenting, at least to some extent. Also, malls and other public buildings, if they have multiple floors, can be interesting as graphic subjects showing the activity of people as a population.
     
  55. BUT its private Property, That's it, I have the same Problem at the Prudential Mall also I only photographing flowers, and was told stop and no its not listed on the sign at the front entrance, but yet those dam cell phone's and P&S shot all the time
     
  56. <<<But the life people live while in the malls is still a part of their lives and worth documenting>>>
    You said it. I'll just emphasize it.
     
  57. Every time a photographer argues, especially angrily, about non-existent rights, they make it more difficult for other photographers to operate.
    Every time a used car salesman makes a bad deal with a customer, he further erodes the already suspect reputation of used car salesmen. The same principle applies to unthoughtful and obsessive photographers.
    We can develop rapport when we're polite and respectful. Sometimes that means packing up and moving on when asked. But sometimes a simple reassuring conversation can win the confidence of the protesting agent. I have been given free rein to photograph without further disturbance in forbidden and private places simply by being direct and honest about my intentions in a cordial and non-threatening manner. When you get that green light, you have an amazing opportunity to get some unique shots.
    Politeness and thoughtfulness open doors. Anger and insistence often close them.
     
  58. I have also been told to stop photographing a Hollywood movie shoot on a public street​


    I suspect that you were asked rather than told as the person objecting would not have the authority to order you to stop.
     
  59. Dan is right. Sometiimes we are our own worst enemy.
    If a photographer approached a mall for permission to shoot in the mall (it is done all of the time) they would be asked, why and what they intended to photograph. This is perfectly reasonable on the part of the mall. So what is the right answer?
    "I am entering a photography contest about Christmans, see this brochure, and I want to take a picture of a child and Santa. I will ask permission from the parents before I take it and will credit your mall if you like. I won't take any pictures without permission."
    Is way different from:
    "What do you mean no pictures! Its bad enough that the gov'ment is taking away my guns and telling me how much mileage my pickup can get without the fascist mall people taking away my God given right to photograph teenage girls in summer clothes."
    And that is the real deal for the mall. When I photograph for the paper I am often asked by parents not to photograph their kids. Often there is a very good reason for this. Sometimes there is an abusive parent out there looking for the kid who is in hiding with anotther parent or guardian. The publication of these pictures could lead to unintended consequences which are very bad for the kid. One time I was photographing children at a nonprofit day care center. One of the staff approached me with this problem. There were two children who could not have their pictures published. But. We did not want to make them feel bad by being left out. So I took their pictures along with the other kids and as soon as I had let them see themselves on the back of the camera, deleted the images. The day care center trusts me implicitly now. And they should. The asked me to photograph their big fundraiser which I did pro bono. Care to guess how many potential clients I met there?
    So it is all of a piece as Dan said. We stand more to gain as a community by rising above these issues and behaving like adults.
     
  60. In the USA, if there aren't any signs posted near the entrances. You can shoot away. I've called lawyers (ACLU, and a prof of law), about this very issue. You might be arrested, but you can sue for false arrest. What judge would even hear such a case if there were no signs?​
    That's not the issue here. Indeed, there is MORE than a sign someone might happen to see in this instance. When the owner (on an agent on their behalf) specifically notifies someone to stop some particular conduct and to leave, then there is ample notice.
    A lot of this nonsense is a post 911 knee jerk reaction.​
    We're talking about shopping malls and these policies were routine at such places long before 9/11.
    "USE OF CAMERAS PROHIBITED". I guess they never heard of GOOGLE maps/earth?​
    The utility of photography for terrorism is debatable but obviously any utility goes way beyond aerial imagery so Google maps is mostly irrelevant to that issue.
    The issue of the thread is whether owners of private property where the public is invited can prevent people from engaging photography on their property and the answer is yes.
     
  61. I think it takes quite blue eyes to think of the USA as "free" - the difference to e.g. Finland is quite striking.​
    In my anecdotal experience it was. I shot all sorts of photos with an SLR on private and public areas there and even a naval ship in dock. No authority figures challenged me even though they saw me.
    Crossing the street in contradiction to the crossing signals in Helsinki seemed very risky, however, even when no cars or other traffic were anywhere around. Whole blocks would be void of any traffic as far as the eye could see but people would still wait at the sidewalk for the signal to let them walk. Unthinkable in U.S. cities where it is obviously safe to cross. Now that's freedom!
     
  62. <<<I think it takes quite blue eyes to think of the USA as "free">>>
    Why blue? My eyes are gray and I think of the U.S. as free.
     
  63. I think it would take an american to think that the USA is for the free, regardless of eye color.
     
  64. I had this problem since the late 70's. If I used my Nikon F2 and took pictures of something in the mall the security guard would tell me to stop taking pictures. If I use a smaller camera and taking pictures of my friends in the mall they didn't bother me. I don't think it has any thing to do with 9/11 it's has always been that way. This is fine for me, it's their mall.
     
  65. I've shot Hollywood sutff at different times and they are nice as hell. They have special PR teams sent out to chat with people. The only time I got hassled was when I used a tripod. The The young woman in charge said they paid for shooting permits and I should scram! Couldn't blame her. She sure was not friendly.
    Dan S. is absolutly right about how to deal with people - they can always sense it if you don't have a good attitude. Otherwise we'd a kilt each other offt long ago.
    We will be so awash with image-makers in just a few years nobody will take notice any more. Cameras will be just a tattoo or retina implant by mid-century. A thousand years from now we'll be so bored with things we'll forget to reproduce.
     
  66. While everyone is focused on their losing their rights to take photos in malls, have you thought about your rights about the mall videoing your every move in the mall and around it and recording it for posterity sake? Have you read the sign when entering that they can do that? (Was there a sign there and if not can they do it anyway?)
     
  67. The truth is: a family coming out of a birthday party at Chuckee Cheese, can take all the photos in the mall they want. A bunch of tweens playing with their I-Phone cameras, same thing.
    A lone person with an "expensive looking" (SLR) camera gets harassed.
    BTW , my lawyers know there stuff. A mall is privately owned, but it is open to the "public". Public bldgs must post rules of conduct, if instruments as benign as cameras, are to be prohibited.
     
  68. I suspect that you were asked rather than told as the person objecting would not have the authority to order you to stop. [Steve Smith]​
    The only people with authority to order a person to stop photographing are law enforcement officers who can lay a charge under a section of the statute pertaining to the regulations for that region.
     
  69. have you thought about your rights about the mall videoing your every move in the mall and around it and recording it for posterity sake?​
    Yes. I concluded, correctly, that they have a right to photograph or videotape people on their property and save the results as much as I do on mine. Why?
    Have you read the sign when entering that they can do that? (Was there a sign there and if not can they do it anyway?)​
    Do you need to post a sign on your property to take any photos of people that happen to be there? If not, I'm not sure why you would think others might need to.
     
  70. BTW , my lawyers know there stuff. A mall is privately owned, but it is open to the "public". Public bldgs must post rules of conduct, if instruments as benign as cameras, are to be prohibited.​
    I'm sure they do, indeed, know there [sic] stuff. I'm also confident you misinterpreted their remarks. Obviously any lawyer (that's not out of their mind) knows that not every single activity that would justify someone being removed from a property can be listed on a notice. They also will know that notice can be verbal and that subsequent conduct contrary to the notice can be prevented and that the remedy for noncompliance is authority compel the person to leave.
    They also know that cameras are inanimate objects and not benign or evil. If your theory of their comments were accurate, someone could race around a mall in a motorcycle all day and no one could do anything because it wasn't posted on a sign. Someone could engage in political comment by screaming in a 'benign' bullhorn all day and the owner can do nothing because its not posted anywhere. Bullhorns are known to be helpful "instruments". They could plant their own flowers in a mall or on the grounds and no one could do anything about it. Certainly, flowers are benevolent and pretty. If there is no sign saying its disallowed it must be allowed.
    Somehow, I don't think your lawyers would agree.
     
  71. Just now, I was actually kicked out of the Barnes and Noble store for taking a picture, not just asked not to take pictures (story at http://www.photo.net/modern-film-cameras-forum/00bBLh ) :)
     
  72. Did you rant and rave to management about constitutional rights or tell them it was false arrest because there wasn't a
    sign?
     
  73. JDM, I've snapped photos from inside the B&N store in downtown Fort Worth's Sundance Square several times. No problems. Mostly I was photographing family I was with, or the Bass Performance Hall across the street, trying to get a better angle. I tend to shoot pretty quickly so maybe nobody noticed me.
     
  74. Ann, what a pathetic response. Seriously! Bigoted, narrow-minded and pathetic.
     
  75. I have often taken pictures at the B&N. I think the flash caught the eye of someone who was sufficiently fussy to intervene.
    Of course, I ranted and raved, but only after "I'll have to ask you to leave." :)
     
  76. Sounds like a win-win. You got to rant and rave and they got you out of their hair . . . and store.
     
  77. Looks like Barnes and Noble is a popular place for shooters. I haven't got nabbed yet (knocking on wood) but maybe because I just seem to turn invisible with a camera around my neck :)
    00bBPM-511141584.jpg
     
  78. JDM also got to write about it on photo.net. Not merely for getting kicked out for photographing. For popping a flash. A
    camera isn't even needed. Its not just win-win Fred. Its win-win-win-win.
     
  79. Am I so obvious?
    Apparently.
     
  80. My eyes are gray and I think of the U.S. as free.​


    That is quite a good price!
     
  81. I experienced this over thirty years ago when I was new to street photography. Nothing much has changed except that
    now with the Internet private establishments are more touchy about widespread exposure. The post 9/11 fear
    surrounding the photographing of public places is another story.

    if you are going to photograph a mall where photography is normally forbidden trying asking permission.
     
  82. Truth is last time I was confronted by mall security for taking photos. (Palisades Mall, Nyack NY) I pretty much ignored them and kept walking. Their threat of calling the police also fell on my deaf ears. Do you really think they could or would prosecute for this? This is the 2nd largest mall in the USA.
    A few years ago, maybe a few percent of us carried film cameras everywhere. Now everyone has a still and video capture device , already in their hands. Good luck trying to stop this.
     
  83. Do you really think they could or would prosecute for this?​
    Whilst I believe that they might try, Surely no crime was committed so there can be no prosecution.
    I posted earlier that under English law, trespass is only a civil matter. This doesn't stop owners of land and buildings from posting signs stating "Trespassers Will Be Prosecuted".

    The only places here where you can be prosecuted for trespass are railways and prisons.
     
  84. If the mall authorities decide to eject someone who refuses to leave, the standard procedure is to contact police to handle
    it. If the person refuses or returns contrary to a warning not to, they can be prosecuted. How mant people there have cameras is irrelevant. If the private mall wants a particular person out the door because someone's particular
    conduct is noticed and deemed incompatible, they can compel the person to leave. If they refuse, then they expose
    themselves to consequence. This is a very simple concept. An ancedotal experence where mall security doesn't follow
    through in a situation doesn't change that. Neither does it because it occured in the second largest mall in the U.S. It
    doesn't matter if everyone has a camera phone or if lots of people use them. Authority to kick someone out has nothing to
    do with cameras. Neither does a trespass citation if it gets that far. Any photography that led to it is incidental at that
    point.
     
  85. Alan Klein:
    How soon we forget. Just had a shooting in a mall in Oregon. I like the idea of being photographed by CCTV. Otherwise, I'd just be another old guy wandering around with nothing to do. Gives me a purpose -- and employment for security. LINK
    00bBSI-511181584.jpg
     
  86. Regarding malls videotaping customers without posting a sign saying they will do it. Apparently there are no American laws regarding this. However, there are laws in Canada:
    “organization conducting video surveillance post a clear and understandable notice about the use of cameras on its premises to individuals whose images might be captured by them, before these individuals enter the premises”.
    http://www.mysecuritysign.com/MSS/Posting-Video-Surveillance-Signs.aspx
     
  87. On the whole "asked to stop shooting" thing in the US vs. Europe discussion - the only times I've been asked to stop shooting lately were a)in a French "public" market in Argentuil where a vendor took great exception to my camera, and b) on a street in London when I was taking shots what turned out to be some kind of government facility (or so the rent-a-cop said). I've shot many photos all over the US, including a bunch around the naval station in Norfolk in the past couple of years without any issues. So my perspective? The US is "free-er". That whole debate takes on the "yes-you-are; no-I'm-not" level of 7-year-old discussion I hear from my grandchildren, usually.
     
  88. No rant seen on Charlie's facebook page before my posting on December 29, 2012. Strange.
    https://www.facebook.com/charlie.west
     
  89. David,<br><br>Only (that 7 year old level) if that is what you base your opinion on, a couple of incidents you remember.<br>Fred invited someone to live in the Russian Federation or China for a couple of years, i extended that by doing the same in Europe (i know, i know: the Russian federation is in Europe too) for a similar period. Entirely different.
     
  90. And my European experience is worse than my American (and Canadian) experience Q.G. Its entirely subjective and anecdotal, no matter what.
     
  91. Again: only, David, when conclusions are based on a small number of sample experiences. Hence the "couple of years".
     
  92. By the way. American attitudes toward the sanctity of Private Property were never summed up better than in this "You'll have to answer to the Coca Cola Company" scene from Dr. Strangelove:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUAK7t3Lf8s
     
  93. Actually my European experience would be quite close to your "couple of years", Q.G.
     
  94. I'm familiar with this mall policy. I've been kicked out of some of the finest malls in the Bay Area. I've also gone to the trouble of arranging for permission from the management.
    In talking to security and management over many years, I've been told repeatedly that the concern is that the shop owners are very sensitive to having their window displays photographed, for competitive reasons.
     
  95. Interesting -- in British Columbia mall security is being investigated for a violation of a young photographer's rights. He photographed them hurting a mall customer. It has sparked other investigations.
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2012/12/21/bc-mall-takedown-investigations.html
     
  96. the concern is that the shop owners are very sensitive to having their window displays photographed, for competitive reasons.​


    Then they shouldn't have them on view to the public!
     
  97. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    The "don't want my window display photographed" argument sounds bogus to me. Most mall retailers will have stores in areas where the sidewalk is public and so can't really do much to prevent it. Looks more like the mall managers say this because it's superficially plausible and makes it seem like they're not the bad guys. Regardless, the motivation isn't terribly important, fact is that they can set a "no photography" policy and enforce it as strictly or as laxly as they want.
     
  98. "Actually my European experience would be quite close to your "couple of years", Q.G."

    Then, David, what you said must be correct. ;-)

    Have a good 2013, everyone!
     
  99. Ann, what a pathetic response. Seriously! Bigoted, narrow-minded and pathetic. Fred G.[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG], Dec 30, 2012; 11:46 p.m.​
    Or maybe that is just how it looks to me after having lived in another country all my life. There are huge differences. You would have understood it if you had lived in my homeland for a few years.
     
  100. There is also a security risk. Malls are particularly vulnerable to the sorts of attacks we have seen at schools, hotels, restaurants, theaters, etc. Photography is a potentially powerful planning tool for launching an attack.
    At the same time photography in public/private places can be very intrusive on the privacy of others at the location. I would object to you taking a photo of me without my permission. You don't have the only rights that come into play in photographing in a public place. You seem to lose sight of the rights others have that your activity may impinge upon.
     
  101. photography in public/private places can be very intrusive on the privacy of others at the location​


    If the location is public then there is no privacy.
     
  102. You do have privacy rights in public places -- quite a few, in fact. All of your privacy rights under the 4th and 5th amendment attach. You have the right of privacy in your person. You may have the right to remain anonymous and not be tracked (an open question with legislation still pending). You have the right not to be photographed and the photographer has no right to display or use that image commercially without your consent. The law changes somewhat if you have celebrity status and are a "public" person. However, if you are an ordinary citizen you do have extensive privacy rights, even in public places.
     
  103. <<<If the location is public then there is no privacy.>>>
    I don't believe that for one second.
    We don't give up all privacy when we are in public. That would be a big infringement on the individual. Even though I'm a very community-oriented person, I still think being in public doesn't trump all my privacy. There's a matter of social decorum. If I'm engaged in a personal conversation with a lover at a restaurant, even though I'm in public I don't expect the guy at the next table to be leaning over and listening in on my conversation, and it would rarely happen. He may have the legal "right" to do that, but it's still an invasion of my privacy and out of line, as far as I'm concerned. Being considerate of others' personal space ought to apply to folks with cameras as well.
     
  104. You do have privacy rights in public places -- quite a few, in fact. All of your privacy rights under the 4th and 5th amendment attach.​
    Those concern government action and even then the ability of government actors to engage in photography in public places is broad under the 4th Amendment and completely irrelevant to photography under the 5th.
    You have the right of privacy in your person.​
    To the extent that is accurate, it has limited relevance to being photographed while in public.
    You may have the right to remain anonymous and not be tracked​
    The scope of that depends on the who seeks to do those and the specific activity taking place and the circumstances and is mostly inapplicable to photography per se.
    You have the right not to be photographed​
    As applied to being in out in public, the subject of the post, this is inaccurate except in narrow circumstances.
    if you are an ordinary citizen you do have extensive privacy rights, even in public places.​
    Most of which, where actually true, has little to do with general photography. Indeed, where applicable, it usually involves some other additional conduct by people, businesses and government and not photography in of itself.
     
  105. Fortunately, human behavior is not limited to the exercise of legal rights. There's some amount of common sense and decency still at play.
     
  106. >>> You do have privacy rights in public places -- quite a few, in fact. ... You have the right not to be photographed and the photographer has no right to display or use that image commercially without your consent.
    Clarification is needed, as that's not true with respect to the part I set in bold, and assuming the act doesn't run afoul of the privacy tort of Intrusion - at least in the US. You are correct that a photographer can not *use* an image for commercial purposes without consent.
     
  107. This is too good not to get in on!

    On one side there seem to be legitimate reasons why freedom to photograph in a mall might be constrained, like
    • creating images of copyrighted materials (art or jewelry, for instance)
    On the other side, there are reasons for prohibiting photography in malls that are NOT legitimate, like

    I was in Malaysia recently and while visiting the extraordinary Petronas Mall (KLCC), I saw a sign at the bottom over every escalator prohibiting photography above the third floor. The sign was large and ubiquitous.
    But even following that rule, I was able to get some nice shots, because the design aspects of many malls can provide great architectural images.

    Like Ilkka or Ann, I am able to view the USA from outside and, sadly, it has become almost painfully comic to hear Americans tell themselves they are a free country.
    • With huge respect for the contributions of the Americans in this forum, I have to say that from beyond it’s hermetically-sealed borders, the USA now appears to be one of the least free countries in the world, denying basic human rights to all foreigners through their Patriot Act. As a Canadian, I avoid travel to the states for that reason alone. I value my own human rights too much to abandon them. That is a shame, because the USA has some beautiful landscapes, beautiful cities and as individuals Americans are often warm-hearted and generous folks. I continue to travel to Central and South America and Central and Southeast Asia.
    • I know some Americans will be offended by these comments, but why not take that outrage and address the issues? For instance, why do you have the largest documented rate of incarceration of your own citizens in the world? The USA locks up more of its own people than any other country (Russia comes second, then Rwanda third at about half the rate of the USA). If you are an American you are about 7.5 times more likely to be in jail than if you are European or Canadian. [To be honest, we don't know about China.]
    • To push that point just little further: Since the mid-70's crime rates of all sorts have been falling in the USA (see Freakonomics). Yet your incarceration rate skyrocketed from about 500,000 in 1980 to almost 2,500,000 by 2005). Why do Americans keep so many of their own citizens in jail? No other western country comes even close.
    • Virginia John (above) tends to illustrate how fear has bullied you into abandoning your claim to freedom. The USA can easily appear from without to be essentially a heavily-armed armed camp bristling with guns, but with little freedom left its citizens. It might be more appropriate to talk about "the land of the fear" rather than the "land of the free."
    I realize that the majority of Americans travel little beyond their borders (about 15% have travelled outside of North America), but try to imagine how it sounds to us furriners when a powerful lobby group in the "land of the free" seriously proposes placing armed guards at elementary schools. It just doesn't sound free. Sorry. It just doesn't.

    Let's see -- did I even mention a camera???
     
  108. >>> On one side there seem to be legitimate reasons why freedom to photograph in a mall might be
    constrained, like...

    You forgot another legitimate reason: The mall owner does not want to make customers (the people
    that buy stuff which ultimately keeps the mall in business) uncomfortable. Similar to any other activity that customers might view as a nuisance.

    One more legitimate reason: The property owner
    simply does not want people making photographs on their property. As would I with respect to my property.
     
  109. <<<As a Canadian, I avoid travel to the states for that reason alone. I value my own human rights too much to abandon them. That is a shame>>>
    Then the shame is on you.
    Many Americans are quite cognizant of the problems we have related to the Patriot Act, levels of incarceration, and gun use. The suggestion to post armed guards at elementary schools or, even worse, arm teachers, is indicative of a minority of Americans, but a substantial minority. I find it as ludicrous and outrageous as you. On most issues, you'll find Americans divided almost equally, so it's very hard to paint America or Americans with the kind of broad brush often employed, at least in these threads.
    But suggesting that you don't travel to the U.S. because you value your human rights too much is akin to the whackjob Americans right here among us who think all of Europe is run by some sort of Socialist conspiracy. It's a complete and utter over-reaction and says much more about your own paranoia than American freedoms. Yes, indeed, some of our freedoms are under assault, and we have a good many problems that are literally killing us that we seem incapable of addressing, and yet I still am quite free to walk the streets and live my life for the most part uninhibited. To be so scared of what's going on here as not to travel here is bizarre to say the least.
     
  110. As a Canadian, I avoid travel to the states for that reason alone. I value my own human rights too much to abandon them. [Warren Wilson]​
    As a fellow Canadian, that is one absurd comment. I have had no issues travelling to the USA (or Europe or any where safe) and will continue to do so (with my camera).
     
  111. It might be more appropriate to talk about "the land of the fear" rather than the "land of the free."​
    I could have written that. I know that there are millions of great americans living in the US. But to me it seems like something has gone very wrong with the way the US is 'run'. And I am not talking about Obama. I think he is doing great, given the circumstances.
     
  112. <<<But to me it seems like something has gone very wrong with the way the US is 'run'.>>>
    Me too. That's different from referring to America as not free or being scared to visit here, both of which are ridiculous positions that are much more soberly morphed into what Ann is now saying.
     
  113. It does make me so scared that I don't dare to visit the US, Fred.
     
  114. creating images of copyrighted materials (art or jewelry, for instance)​
    Irrelevant as far as jewellery is concerned as a photograph of a piece of jewellery is not a copy of it.
    But to me it seems like something has gone very wrong with the way the US is 'run'​
    I have posted this before and I hope no one takes offence - I have liked every American I have ever met as an individual, but collectively, the country seems to be crazy compared with the rest of the world.
     
  115. Ann, OK, I understand. Your not visiting will be no great loss for us and if it eases your paranoia, then it is probably well advised. Now go check under your bed for monsters . . . or lions or tigers or bears, oh my!
     
  116. <<<I know that there are millions of great americans living in the US. But>>>
    This is as transparent a rationalization as "Some of my best friends are black." Such statements don't, however, hide the ignorance and hatefulness behind racism or xenophobia.
     
  117. Fred, I guess you do understand why I am saying what I am saying. I don't mean to offend any of you americans. It is just how I feel about it after having read what I have read. Maybe I have gotten the wrong impression, and maybe not.
     
  118. On one side there seem to be legitimate reasons why freedom to photograph in a mall might be constrained, like creating images of copyrighted materials (art or jewelry, for instance)​
    That would justify constraint of photography just about anywhere. It may justify constraining writing instruments, printers and computers or anything else that might be used to copy copyrighted materials anywhere as well. So it really isn't applicable to whether one can photograph in shopping malls and doesn't apply to much of anything else either.
    Let's see -- did I even mention a camera???​
    Nor photography. A sign of a thread run amok.
     
  119. When I was young, there were no malls here. Anyone could photograph anything in the shop windows in the streets. And those who want to photograph something with ill intent in a mall would be able to do that fairly easy. I guess you are not likely to find them among those who are carrying a DSLR and a tripod.
     
  120. "As a Canadian, I avoid travel to the states for that reason alone. I value my own human rights too much to abandon them." [Warren Wilson]
    As a Canadian who has spent a good portion of my life in the US and Europe I find these kind of comments by fellow Canadians to be embarassing and representative of a kind of arrogant ignorance that I see more and more in my homeland. I tire of this kind of rhetoric from those who don't know what they are talking about and gain their perspectives from sensationalism in the press, from anecdotal information that they glean from sites such as this and generally from a need to feel superior.
    There is no doubt a litany of things that are challenging the US (and every country, including Canada) but they certainly don't start with private companies managing potential litigation through restricting photography on their property. As far as the rest of the issues, I come back to my personal anecdotal experience, where I've experienced more confrontations about my photography in Europe (and in Canada for that matter) than I have in the US.
    Anyway, I knew that if I kept reading this thread I'd get annoyed sooner or later with something someone said.
     
  121. John H. Having been a lawyer since the late seventies and active in privacy policy (an Ambassador for Privacy by Design -- created by the Privacy Commissioner in Ontario and adopted by the FTC in the US), I would be happy to take the case of someone in a mall who felt their privacy was invaded by a photographer taking their picture without permission. Try and sell a photograph taken under those circumstances without releases from the people in the image and see if you get any commercial buyers.Your traditional freedom in the US has always stopped where the next guy's nose begins. This is not about paranoia or fear, but it is about people, like photographers, who think they have freedoms that never existed.
    The courts have recognized the privacy right to be left alone. When that right is violated, the violator is properly liable. Lawyers have played a significant role (not always a good one) in shaping this policy and practice. Someone whose privacy was violated in a mall would probably also name the mall as a co-defendant.
    Travel in much of Asia, particularly in Japan, and your would never see anyone taking another's picture without permission -- and it is not for a lack of cameras -- but a respect for individual privacy.
     
  122. 52 million people visited my home town of New York City last year. I guess they weren't too concerned with their freedoms, or our authoritarianism and what not. Well, the Mayor is imposing a limit of 16 ounces on the sale of sugared soft drinks which is kind of Fascist I suppose. Of course people may be coming because B&H Photo had a good deal on camera stuff. But you could order on-line and avoid our police force entirely.
    In any case I appreciate you brave visitors if nothing more than we really need the money you leave here along with all the taxes on camera and other stuff you buy.
    By the way. If you get stopped photographing in Macy's, just contact me. I know a few people.
     
  123. What might be educational is taking the example of shows like TMZ where intrepid journalists seem to always stop on the sidewalk or lurk on the sidewalks and they don't follow their subjects into private businesses.
     
  124. Virginia,

    You would be "happy" to take a case, as a lawyer, against a photographer for shooting a photo of soneone in a mall without consent?


    first you claimed incorrectly, that permission, in general, is needed. You also brought up the American 4th and 5th Amendments, which concern government conduct not private conduct and has almost nothing to do with photography anyway. The 5th having zero relevance in fact. Now you are bringing up misappropriation which has nothing to do with photographing people and nothing to do with where they are photographed either. As a self described expert on the subject, you should know that it is the person or entity that displays one's likeness for certain commercial uses that will be liable, not the photographer. I suggest brushing up on this area of the law before taking on any clients (as you say you eagerly would) in a claim against a
    photographer for violating someones privacy merely for photographing them without permission. Maybe you will fare better doing that in Ontario. I don't know.
     
  125. "Travel in much of Asia, particularly in Japan, and your would never see anyone taking another's picture without permission -- and it is not for a lack of cameras -- but a respect for individual privacy."​
    There are numerous Flickr groups and YouTube videos that indicate candid, spontaneous street photography is very common throughout Asia and Indonesia.
     
  126. So much for "never".
     
  127. The courts have recognized the privacy right to be left alone. When that right is violated, the violator is properly liable.​
    That 'right' is not violated by someone taking a picture as the picture taking doesn't prevent the person from carrying on doing what they were doing at the time - especially if they were not aware that that they were being photographed.
     
  128. Interesting thread.
    I don't think there is a US "constitutional right" to take a picture anywhere of anything. It is not addressed in the Constitution, and the only portion of the Constitution I can imagine might apply to further the rights of photographers would be some interpretation of the first amendment. I could see that happening more in a journalistic context than a commercial or hobbyist context.
    And even if a sign is not posted, if an agent of the mall tells you not to take photos in the mall, and you disobey, then in the US I think you would be subject to arrest for trespassing. Some courts would probably require the mall to tell you to leave, first, but that is not something I would want to test.
    As a lawyer I probably would not take the case of the person who was photographed without permission in the mall. What are that person's damages? That would be my concern, unless they were going to pay my by the hour to sue. But usually, people with that kind of intangible complaint don't want to actually spend any of their own money on a lawsuit. They want the lawyer to take it on a contingent fee, so that the economic risk is all on the lawyer.
     
  129. I don't think there is a US "constitutional right" to take a picture anywhere of anything.​



    Surely it would be a right not to be prevented from doing it rather than a specific right to do it.
    EDIT: What I mean by this is, if it is perfectly legal to photograph someone in public then you have a right not to be prevented from going about your lawful business.
    Some courts would probably require the mall to tell you to leave, first, but that is not something I would want to test.​


    My understanding is that it is not trespass until you have been asked to leave and refuse to do so. This would be particularly true in the case of a shopping centre which by necessity invites people onto their property.
     
  130. "throughout Asia and Indonesia."

    Asia and Indonesia?
    The United States of America and Wyoming? Or vegetables and spinach?
     
  131. Q.G. I realize there is absolutely nothing you are not willing to debate and split hairs over endlessly for the sake of hearing your keyboard clatter, but some of my acquaintances who are from various places in Asia and Indonesia do make those distinctions. As well, a couple of folks I know insist they are Persian, not Iranian, regardless of what Wikipedia says.
     
  132. There is a right to freedom of expression embodied in the first amendment -- but that only prohibits the government from abridging that right. It does not prevent private individuals or property owners from doing so. Rights are individual and one person's individual right may not infringe on the rights of another individual. If I object to you taking my photograph, you have no right to do so that trumps my right to have you not do so.
    You don't have a right ti use your camera to peer into the house of your neighbor -- even if you could physically do so.
     
  133. you have no right to do so that trumps my right to have you not do so.​
    Assuming you have that right.
     
  134. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    I like Steve Smith's last comment. Some of what you (Virginia John Mybusiness) are saying here is so far away from what most photographers believe- and much of the generalised advice on the law available to photographers, that I for one would need clarification and corroboration before I treat your comments seriously. It's difficult to assess your credentials when you're not using a name that I can check and you have no track record here.
    You don't have a right ti use your camera to peer into the house of your neighbor -- even if you could physically do so.​
    Here's a point that requires clarification, to an extent that kind of surprises me from someone claiming expertise in this area.
    Do you mean
    • I'm not allowed to take without permission a photograph of someones house if the interior is visible even from my own or public property?
    • I'm not allowed to photograph the interior of someone's house without permission even if I can do so from my own property or a public place?
    • I'm not allowed to make commercial use of any photograph that I obtain of the interior of someone's house without a property release, even if the photograph was taken from my property or from a public place? Assume for the sake of simplicity that I would be the publisher of the image as well as the photographer.
    • I'm not allowed to photograph a person inside their home without permission, even if I can do so from my property or from a public place?
    • I'm not allowed to use for commercial purposes a photograph of someone in their home without a model release and maybe a property release, even if taken from my property or from a public place? Again its probably simplest if you assume that I'd be the publisher of the photographs as well as the photographer.
     
  135. Just about all of the laws pertaining to photography in public are with regard to the use of the image, not the actual act of pressing the shutter.
    After all, what you are really doing is holding a box up to your eye and pressing a button. If this were not legal, you would have to make a distinction between, for example, a camera with film and an empty camera.


    Then you would have to decide at which point the photograph was actually created. Is it at the time you pressed the shutter? Because if so, if you never process the film, you have no image. Or is it after you process the film into a negative? Or after you print it into a positive?

    (add your own digital equivalents here).
    If the act of taking a photograph of someone was in some way illegal, then what about if you try and fail? If the shutter doesn't operate properly or you have no film, is this like attempted murder with a gun that jams or fails to go off?
    I know the idea of a crime of 'attempted photography' is ridiculous but these things would have to be considered if the act of photography could be considered a crime rather than the use.
     
  136. Lex,<br><br>Debate? There's nothing to debate.<br>I know quite a few people in and from Indonesia, and not one of them would ever think or say that Indonesia is not part of Asia. And why would they?<br>Awareness of the Asian identity (the Pan-Asianism introduced by the Japanese during their occupation of Indonesia) largely motivated the revolt that kicked us, their colonial oppressor, out of the country.<br>It really makes no more sense than saying something like "vegetables and spinach". If there's a reason to single out spinach, or Indonesia, it would be interesting to know what that reason is.
     
  137. <<<If there's a reason to single out spinach, or Indonesia, it would be interesting to know what that reason is.>>>
    'Cause I am what I am.
     
  138. If I object to you taking my photograph, you have no right to do so that trumps my right to have you not do so.

    Only in narrow circumstances that have been carved out as outweighing the general freedom people have to exercise. If this theory above were true, in general, no one would have a right to engage in countless sorts of activity merely because other's objected. Can you provide some specific cite of U.S. based legal authority showing that there is a general right not to be photographed at all when someone is not in a place where there is a "reasonable expectation of privacy" (i.e. as opposed to a mall where the public is invited)?

    You don't have a right ti use your camera to peer into the house of your neighbor -- even if you could physically do so.
    This is one of the narrow exceptions known as "intrusion" which is the one of the four "right to privacy" torts and the one that specifically involves the actual photographer. Although some plain view situations may not be a viable cause of action. Another exception, but government based, are criminal voyeurism statutes. A private right of action against an actual photographer in those voyeurism situations is generally under an intrusion cause of action and 'disclosure of private facts' which is a publication issue. The common theme to these are that the person photographed is NOT in plain view in a place where others are in general but in a location such as a restroom or in the privacy of one's home and so on. In one very rare case (in Georgia I believe) there was an instance of a intrusion case going forward when the person photographed had a Marilyn Monroe style wardrobe malfunction. Even that instance had the special circumstances of someone involuntarily disrobed.
    As far as some general legal ability the U.S. to prevent or make legal claims against someone in plain view to others in ordinary situations, there is no privacy right not to be photographed. If that were true, the photographic industry involving images of people that exists today, but for staged imaging, would be radically different. This is obvious to anyone or normal intelligence considering the natural consequence of a general right not to be photographed.
    Returning to the topic, a shopping mall can disallow photography but that is based on being on a property where the owner can compel someone to leave the property and/or stay off the property, not a power over photography activity per se.
     
  139. As far as some general legal ability the U.S. to prevent or make legal claims against someone in plain view to others in ordinary situations, there is no privacy right not to be photographed.

    Edit: As far as some general legal ability the U.S. to prevent or make legal claims against a photographer shooting someone in plain view of others in ordinary situations, there is no privacy right not to be photographed.
     
  140. <<<voyeurism situations>>>
    Though not criminally voyeuristic, much of our photographing is, indeed, voyeuristic. It's worth considering whether shooting in a shopping mall or in a studio.
     
  141. Thats good to do in a politeness context which is different, of course, than in a legal sense.
     
  142. Q.G. I realize there is absolutely nothing you are not willing to debate and split hairs over endlessly for the sake of hearing your keyboard clatter...​
    That explains the "bit depth" thread. Tough read...REALLY tough read.
     
  143. Maybe if you eats your spinach, Tim?
     
  144. I don't think there is a US "constitutional right" to take a picture anywhere of anything. It is not addressed in the Constitution, and the only portion of the Constitution I can imagine might apply to further the rights of photographers would be some interpretation of the first amendment.​

    Bob, You will probably be interested to know that the issue of recording data in general, if not anywhere, was ruled on in the 7th Circuit this year in the sound recording context in American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois v. Alvarez, 679 F.3d 583 (7th Cir. 2012). The decision drew from the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC, 558 U.S. 50 (2010) which has some well known political controversy in some other aspects. In any event, the willing participant principle was trumped by Citizen’s United’s guidance that “[a]udio and audiovisual recording are communication technologies, and as such, they enable speech. Criminalizing all non-consensual audio recording necessarily limits the information that might later be published or broadcast … and thus burdens First Amendment rights…”
    While this concerns government restrictions of recording data rather than personal actions, it is instructional nevertheless. In fact, our friend Fred G. might even see Citizens United in a somewhat better light now. I have seen authority supporting the notion that art or other non traditional journalist photographic activity enjoys the same right to be enraged in as journalism but the latter does tend to hog the attention of the courts it seems. Commercial speech, as we know, can be more regulated to some extent.
     
  145. <<<In fact, our friend Fred G. might>>>
    Then again . . .
     
  146. John H: "...art or other non traditional journalist photographic activity enjoys the same right to be enraged in..."
    Some of the best art I've seen deals with anger and frustration. Pretty sure you didn't mean to create that, John, but its apropos of this thread as well.
     
  147. Hopefully that wasn't a subconscious reference.
     
  148. John H, does your sited 7th Circuit Court decision apply to recording on both public and private property or just public?
    Good that you found and posted this but I can't help but think this discussion might've been quite a bit shorter if you had mentioned it at the beginning of this thread, but...
    Nah!
     
  149. Tim, The decision concerned a law that applied to media recording neutral of location.
     
  150. The plain view doctrine only applies in a criminal setting.
     
  151. John H. You were looking for some legal authority.
    The legal principle goes back to no less an authority than Louis Brandeis in a range of Supreme Court decisions: Gilbert v. Minnesota, Whitney v, California, Olmstead v. United States and Packer Corp. v. Utah.
     
  152. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    The plain view doctrine only applies in a criminal setting.​
    John did not reference the plain view doctrine. That should be obvious to anyone not looking for a way to prove themselves right. John used the term "plain view" which we all, with Virginia's exception, understand.
    The legal principle goes back to no less an authority than Louis Brandeis in a range of Supreme Court decisions: Gilbert v. Minnesota, Whitney v, California, Olmstead v. United States and Packer Corp. v. Utah.​
    Can you give some relevant quotes from or analyses of the decisions?
     
  153. Virginia, these cases are totally irrelevant to the issue being discussed which, in your case, is that people have a general right to
    not be photographed. Nor are they relevant to whether a privately owned business can ban photography on its premises.

    And plain view, publically viewable ect. is not confined to 4th Amendment analysis. Especially, when its obviously raised in
    the context of intrusion, vouyerism and the like.
     
  154. John and Jeff, the Brandeis cases are foundational cases on the general right of individual privacy. The courts since the '70s have said that malls may limit basic first amendment rights and presumably any behavior they find inconsistent with their business purposes.
    Here is a line of cases in which the law has evolved and the law as it stands today sides with the malls.
    Jeff, if you would like a clerks job in a law office so you can do your own legal research I would be happy to suggest a couple of firms you might apply to.
    In Marsh v. Alabama (1946), a case involving distribution of Jehovah’s Witnesses’ religious leaflets on a sidewalk in an Alabama town, the Supreme Court held that the central business district of a so-called “company town” was the same as a public street for First Amendment purposes. The justices said that when an owner decides to opens up private property for use by the public, the public’s rights apply in those spaces.
    In 1968, the Court in Amalgamated Food Employees Union v. Logan Valley Plaza extended the Marsh ruling to include a privately owned mall because it had taken on all of the “essential characteristics” of a municipally owned space. That’s an important distinction.
    But in 1972, the Court said in Lloyd Corp. v. Tanner that unlike in Logan Valley, there were alternative, traditionally public spaces — such as sidewalks adjacent to the mall, or public parks — where anti-war protesters could distribute handbills.
    And in 1978, in Hudgens v. NLRB, the Supreme Court effectively discarded its earlier rulings and said that unless property owners intended to make malls the equivalent of a public space, the First Amendment did not guarantee free speech rights in private shopping centers.
    You might also take a look at these two law review articles:
    • Alexander, M. C. (1999). "Attention, Shoppers: The First Amendment in the Modern Shopping Mall". Arizona Law Review 41: 1.
    • Epstein, Richard A. (1997). "Takings, Exclusivity and Speech: The Legacy of PruneYard v Robins". University of Chicago Law Review (The University of Chicago Law Review) 64 (1): 21–56
     
  155. the Brandeis cases are foundational cases on the general right of individual privacy. The courts since the '70s have said that malls may limit basic first amendment rights and presumably any behavior they find inconsistent with their business purposes.​
    Virginia, Malls are not their guests. Just because a mall can curtail activity on its property, because its property, doesn't magically grant special rights not to be photographed for people that happen to be there or anywhere else for that matter. Those cases are all wonderful for the issues they address and are of some value to the original post which concerned whether a mall could ban photography on its property. They have absolutely nothing to do with a broad encompassing right of people not to be photographed you keep asserting.
    If your bizarre notions were accurate, standard photography practices that exist wouldn't exist. Photo.net wouldn't be able to exist in the form it does. Everything would be stages and releases shots. Newspapers wouldn't have unreleased images of people.
    'Right to privacy' actions that can be asserted by private people who are the subject of photographs concern four types of conduct... Misappropriation, False light, Disclosure of Private Facts and Intrusion. It is well settled law in the U.S. Your claim that there is a broad right not to be photographed at all is total nonsense. You don't know what you are talking about. Literally so, considering that you keep raising issues that are wholly irrelevant to help support this absurd claim.
    Its time to give it up.
     
  156. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    If I object to you taking my photograph, you have no right to do so that trumps my right to have you not do so.​

    As John points out, none of the references above back up the statement by Virginia quoted here. Why do big name public criminals cover their faces when they are being led into/out of court instead of telling the police they don't want their photograph taken? It's because no objection can stop photograph-taking in the right places, except maybe a fist from a Alec Baldwin. That would stop me if it hit in the right place.
     
  157. "...except maybe a fist from a Alec Baldwin. That would stop me if it hit in the right place."​
    If you were wearing those yellow superhero sunglasses I'd bet Baldwin would hesitate. Might even ask for your autograph.
     
  158. "Why do big name public criminals cover their faces when they are being led into/out of court instead of telling the police they don't want their photograph taken? It's because no objection can stop photograph-taking in the right places,"

    That's because it is news and concerns the freedom of the press, which outweighs the person in the news' right to privacy.
    It has to be real news, though. Something we cannot be denied, must be told. And very little of what is in the press/media qualifies, yet it all sails under the protection of that...
    But anyway, you or i walking down the street is a different matter, Jeff.
     
  159. That's because it is news and concerns the freedom of the press, which outweighs the person in the news' right to privacy.
    It has to be real news, though. Something we cannot be denied, must be told.​
    There is no constitutional right to privacy in public. And what's news? If I own a small local newspaper and I photograph people going into the store on Christmas and tag an article "Last Minute Shopping" and post the picture of people rushing into the stores, that's news as much as photographing some criminal doing a perp walk. If I have a news blog, and post the same article and picture, that's also news. As far as I know, freedom of the press doesn't only apply to the New York Times. Anyone can start a news blog or newspaper and have the same protections to publish pictures (other than direct use of the picture to advertise a product. Then you need a release.)
    Lawyers-did I stick my foot into it??
     
  160. "Anyone can start a news blog or newspaper and have the same protections to publish pictures..."​
    Pretty much. But bloggers might run into this problem. (Photo from an Austin nightclub during SXSW a couple of years ago.)
     
  161. Lex, your poster with the cuss words reminded me of something else. Freedom of speech. Posting or publishing photos or writing a book on anything , even how to blow up a building, cannot be stopped either. Of course if you defame someone, you can get sued. But pictures, words, cartoons, art, sculpture, computer games, books, posters, picketing, etc are all speech and these are protected as well as freedom of the press.
    Actually its not that we're granted freedom to speak or publish, it's that the government cannot impede our rights to do these things. (other then defamation or copyright laws which are also protected and granted in the Constitution.
     
  162. As far as I know, freedom of the press doesn't only apply to the New York Times.​
    The law must apply equally to everyone. A journalist or newspaper reporter is merely a member of the public who works as a journalist or newspaper reporter. there are no exceptions to the law or special laws just for journalists.
    Then you need a release.​



    Need is a strong word. You don't need a release and there is no legal requirement for it but it's very useful to have if there is ever a problem in order to clarify an agreed situation - same with contracts. When everything goes to plan, no one needs to consult them.
     
  163. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    Without a release you'll find it tough to persuade a reputable stock agency to accept for commercial use any shot with a recognisable person or part of a person in it, and thats the route taken for most photographs used commercially by other than the photographer him/herself. That's not really a legal issue but a business one. Stock agencies don't want to explain to their clients why a photograph they procured from them has resulted in a legal issue for the client, so they avoid the risk. They may take the image for their editorial files.
    All of which is irrelevent to the point of whether an individual has the right to insist that they are not photographed in a public place. With certain narrow exceptions, and I believe France is one, I think the photographer is free to photograph what or who he wants from a public place whether subject or subject's owner agrees or not.
     
  164. With certain narrow exceptions, and I believe France is one, I think the photographer is free to photograph what or who he wants from a public place whether subject or subject's owner agrees or not.​


    This is a common understanding however, when I looked into the french law on the subject, it was very similar to US and UK law and did not apply in a public place.

    I think the legal implications for use in France are a bit more complex though.
    From this: http://4020.net/words/photorights.php#oseas
    With the passage of the Presumption of Innocence and Rights of Victims legislation in 2001, the publication of any photograph of a person without their express consent is prohibited in France. This applies to all photography, and is irrespective of editorial or artistic or personal or advertising use. There is anecdotal evidence that things are even more restrictive in practice, with some members of the public and Police occasionally trying to prohibit people from merely taking photographs, which in fact the PIRV law does not ban — only their publication!​
     
  165. It has to be real news, though... ..you or i walking down the street is a different matter
    Neither of these are accurate.
     
  166. Real news in a newspaper? Occasionally I suppose.
     
  167. More reliable than Internet forums.
     
  168. If I owned a shopping mall, I would absolutely delight in exercising my legal right to have blatantly inconsiderate photographers/videographers/amateur legal scholars removed from the premises by burly security guards. To make it even more fun, we can dress the guards as Star Wars Imperial Storm Troopers. The costumes would encourage legions of smartphone wielding patrons (i.e. legitimate customers) to photograph and videotape the perp walks and paste clips on their social media pages. We could sponsor a "public nuisance of the month video contest" to spur participation.
    I need to win the lottery. That sounds like too much good fun.
     
  169. Like Ilkka or Ann, I am able to view the USA from outside and, sadly, it has become almost painfully comic to hear Americans tell themselves they are a free country.​
    At least we enjoy freedom from VAT. Every time I go to Europe - yes, I'm one of those Americans who has traveled abroad - I am coerced into paying a 17 or 18 percent sales tax on every pound/euro/kronor I spend for services that I'll never use. I wonder whose children I have sent to college over the years. Taxation without representation.
    Yes, my country (USA) faces issues and challenges just as every nation does. But don't assume that we are not aware that those issues exist. Change happens slowly here. Public opinion needs to reach a tipping point before we can push major changes through our political system, and the best course of action is often hotly debated.
    Despite this apparent limitation, we have made many, many positive strides in our relatively short history. Look at the family that lives in the White House today and imagine the likelihood of such a thing happening in 1961, the year when our current President was born.
    The point is that WE make our own decisions. Our government doesn't need to decide to do what's best for us. Submitting to government mandates would constitute a real lack of freedom in our way of thinking. The delays may be frustrating, but we like the way that our system works.
     
  170. More reliable than Internet forums.​


    Have you read The Daily Mail?!
     
  171. "The point is that WE make our own decisions. Our government doesn't need to decide to do what's best for us. Submitting to government mandates would constitute a real lack of freedom in our way of thinking. The delays may be frustrating, but we like the way that our system works."

    A constant source of amusement: how democracy is held up as one of the highest goods, a people elects a government putting that highest good into action, and then continue their daily life in a them-vs-us mindset in which their democratically elected government is seen and treated as Public Enemy No. 1, instead of a democratic institution, i.e. "us".


    By the way, Dan: sales tax (VAT) is hardly an unknown entity in the U.S. of A. Or is it?
     
  172. QC, the USA does not have a national sales tax like the VAT. Some (not all) states impose a sales tax on some (not all) items, but these
    taxes are generally around 6 percent, not 18 percent. And some items are exempt, groceries and medicines for example, and in some
    states non-luxury clothing is not taxed.

    Americans pay far less in taxes than most Europeans do. Our top income tax rate is 39.5 percent, and applies only to about one person
    in 200. There's no VAT here, and our fuel costs a lot less, for example.
     
  173. "A constant source of amusement: how democracy is held up as one of the highest goods, a people elects a government putting that highest good into action, and then continue their daily life in a them-vs-us mindset in which their democratically elected government is seen and treated as Public Enemy No. 1, instead of a democratic institution, i.e. "us"."​
    The U.S. isn't a democracy. Our federal government is a representative republic. A democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner. A representative republic puts a shepherd into the mix. And our concept of a republic is uniquely different from the historical European concept of a republic.
    At least that's the principle. Doesn't always work in practice.
     
  174. It's the Constitution that protects the sheep and other minorities and their viewpoints. Not the representatives. After all, they represent the majority wolves and will vote for lamb kabob.
     
  175. Lamb kebab is on the menu because a surprising number of the sheep neglect to vote. The wolves, on the other hand,
    are an organized and motivated minority.
     

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