Legalities: Part 2 - Photographer's Rights

Posted on: Fri, 01/20/2017 - 14:05 By: Mike

As in Part 1, I'd like to point out that I'm not a lawyer, and also that my focus is mostly on Ontario, or Canadian law. You should be sure to do your own research on laws in your area.

That being said, here's what I've found.

  1. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees you the right to take pictures, and express yourself through photography and publish those pictures.
  2. On the flip side of that, however, is a term called criminal voyeurism. Basically, this means that you cannot take pictures of anyone who has a reasonable expectation of privacy. So, clandestine bathroom pics are out. In fact, it's generally accepted that taking pictures of anyone while inside their home comes under this category.
  3. Another exception is anything involving national security. You're generally prohibited from photographing anything like, sensitive areas of airports, military installations, etc. Keep in mind that since September 11, 2001, the definitions have become a little more broad, where national security could even extend to power stations.
  4. No one has the right to destroy your camera or equipment, nor can they force you to delete or destroy the pictures you've already taken. If they do, you can sue them under a civil suit.

As a final note, some people ask about copyright. In Canada, every picture you take is your intellectual property, regardless the subject. You own the copyright of this photo for the duration of your life plus 50 years afterward.

I hope that helped to answer some questions. There is no substitute for looking over your own local laws, and making your own decisions accordingly. Know the law, know your rights, know the consequences. That's the foundation of making sound decisions while enjoying our hobby.