If you are a photographer in the UK, there is now a UK Photographers Rights Document available in PDF form to guide you through the ins and outs of the laws and restrictions of photography in England.
The UK Photographers Rights PDF is intended to provide a short UK guide to the main legal restrictions on the right to take photographs and the right to publish photographs that have been taken.
The guide was written by Linda Macpherson LL.B, Dip.L.P., LL.M, who is a lecturer in law at Heriot Watt University, with particular experience in Information Technology Law, Intellectual Property Law and Media Law.
I was curious to see if there was such a document for USA photographers. And there is. Now, it isn’t a legal document but a “guide” with information about the laws. The PDF downloadable can be found at Krages.com – Photographers Rights in PDF and Palm handheld computer book format.
We wrote an article for Outdoor and Nature Photography magazine a few years ago about the conflicts in natural parks with nature photographers, resulting in many nature photographers carrying a letter from the head of the National Park Service to a representative of NANPA (North American Nature Photography Association) and the National Parks and Wildlife Service policy explaining that general photography even for commercial purposes is not the same as a what the policy is meant to restrict, which is the entry of a commerical film or movie crew coming in with tons of equipment and potentially damaging the park habitat and interfering with park activities. A person with a camera became a target of rangers until the new policies were properly disseminated.
So it’s imporant to know your rights as a photographer, as well as your limits.
The right to take photographs is under assault now more than ever. People are being stopped, harassed, and even intimidated into handing over their personal property simply because they were taking photographs of subjects that made other people uncomfortable. Recent examples have included photographing industrial plants, bridges, and bus stations. For the most part, attempts to restrict photography are based on misguided fears about the supposed dangers that unrestricted photography presents to society.
Ironically, unrestricted photography by private citizens has played an integral role in protecting the freedom, security, and well-being of all Americans. Photography in the United States has contributed to improvements in civil rights, curbed abusive child labor practices, and provided important information in investigating crimes. These images have not always been pretty and often have offended the sensibilities of governmental and commercial interests who had vested interests in a status quo that was adverse to most other people.
The best book for much of these guidelines and information is Legal Handbook for Photographersâ€”The Rights and Liabilities of Making Images.. It tackles all the issues photographers need to know, no matter what your level of expertise or business.
For more information on books we recommend for the business of photography and nature photography, see Books on Selling and Marketing Nature Photography Images.