Tresspassing permit/waiver

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by indierthanthou, May 30, 2008.

  1. indierthanthou macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2007
    #1
    I was thinking about this earlier. For those of you who talk to home/property owners about going onto their land to photograph, do you have some kind of form that they sign, that gives you permission to be on their property, as well as releases them from any liability if you get hurt/killed while on their property? If so, do you have a sample of this? In this day and age, you can never be too careful about covering your butt if something happens, a verbal contract is worthless.
     
  2. termina3 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2007
    Location:
    TX
    #2
    Actually, verbal contracts have held up in court. I'm not a lawyer, but I think it would be too much to get a waiver for a quick 30 minute walk. A few days, maybe, would necessitate an actual legal document.
     
  3. Everythingisnt macrumors 6502a

    Everythingisnt

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver
    #3
    When I was in Ireland I did a fair bit of traipsing across farmers pastures'..

    Before crossing any obvious boundaries or fences I would always try and find a proprietor or owner to get permission from. In the majority of cases they didn't care whatsoever, and in one instance I was invited to stay for tea! :p

    Then again, I was only taking 30 - 45 minute walks with minimal equipment, and I don't think they would have been bothered if I hadn't asked in the first place - in fact, most wouldn't have noticed. Nonetheless it's always nice to ingratiate yourself with the people you will be imposing upon to get your shot - even if it's nothing major :).


    I really don't think you'll need a waiver unless you plan to do something crazy for your shoot like erecting a scaffold..
     
  4. termina3 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2007
    Location:
    TX
    #4
    And also, by trespassing you're automatically releasing the owners from liability; they don't know/approve of your presence, so how can they be responsible for damages because of it?

    I would suggest talking to the owners to avoid being shot (in Texas, the law permits deadly force in almost any circumstances, e.g. when anyone's life or livlihood is perceived to be in imminent danger. Minimal precautions have to be taken before lethally preventing theft, rape, murder, etc. The interpretation has been a little more limited, more like once you enter the house illegally you're dead), but unless you're undergoing unusual dangers there's no need to seek a legal document.

    Anyways, are you going to be able to find a witness who's distanced from you or the owner (the two parties entering into an agreement)? Are you going to hire a notary to follow you around? It's little more than he-said she-said if you can't.
     
  5. jbernie macrumors 6502a

    jbernie

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #5
    Ok, I will say I have never been in the position where I would need one, but depending on what the location is, a contract might actually see people turn you away.

    You want me to sign a legal document so you can walk around? Care to wait a few days or so while I find a laywer etc etc.
     
  6. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #6
    In the US, there's a maze of twisty caselaw that seems to make it not make any difference- you can't just rig a shotgun to a door and say "Oh, nobody but a trespasser would open that"- and over time other things have been upheld in various jurisdictions- so I wouldn't say that trespassing is an automatic release, as things can happen to minors who may not be able to be held to a contract...
     
  7. termina3 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2007
    Location:
    TX
    #7
    Agreed–actually I've heard that specific example. Also, I don't know if this is universal, but in my area pools must be surrounded by a reasonable, lockable fence to prevent minors from illegally accessing it and drowning while unsupervised.

    That said, if it's an adult knowingly trespassing, that's different than a kid wandering over.

    Even if you do have a release, a really good trial lawyer will be able to find a hole in it and exploit it to his client's advantage. If you want/need a release you need to hire a lawyer who specializes in them to write one specifically for you and your business. It'll probably be about 10 pages long.
     
  8. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #8
    If all you are doing is taking a walk or stroll across a field or lawn, just knock on the door and ask permission. Most people are happy to let you, and if they aren't happy - they aren't going to sign a form regardless.

    IIRC - It isn't trespassing until they tell you get off their land, either by signage or verbally. So even if they change their minds, they still have to tell you to leave, and then give you time to leave. Even if they call the police, they likely won't do much if you have made reasonable efforts to leave. Except in Texas it seems where you might be shot.....

    Most people will warn you if there are any dangers (uncovered wells, etc) and you will presumably take reasonable precautions. The chances of something happening are pretty slim. If you do this alot, then by all means get some liability insurance, and incorporate to protect your assets. But if this is an infrequent occurrence is life long enough to worry about it?

    In some jurisdictions, I think you need a property release (like a model release) to use the images of buildings and structures.... I think its the Rock 'n Roll museum in Seattle that claims that the building is "copyright" (or trademarked? - my recollection is fuzzy) and therefore you can't sell copies of pictures you take of it. I suspect it was challenged in court ... don't know how it ended. Can anyone else recall?

    If you do decide to use a form, unless this is a major part of your profession, I would recommend keeping it short and simple. A paragraph or two. Explain your insurance company requires it. My experience has been that most people who end up in court are there because they forgot what the agreement was. A short form will serve to remind both parties what was agreed to.
     
  9. ebutka macrumors regular

    ebutka

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #9
    I have this article that I have in my camera case, its states that anything in public view, its a legal photograph. That has saved me a few times. I can post if someone wants it.
     
  10. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #10

    That is the way it should be, and I hope we can keep it that way. I know that there are people who are arguing that if a photographer is making money from a picture of a building (or whatever) that the building owner should be entitled to some of that money - as if they were also responsible for the lighting, mood, timing, composition of the shot, etc....

    Photographers of the World, Unite! :)

    sorry - couldn't resist....
     
  11. termina3 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2007
    Location:
    TX
    #11
    hmmm… now photographers may be generally poor, but that doesn't mean that we're impractical (i.e. communists)

    I realize you're joking––I just hate the stench of the red.
     
  12. JNB macrumors 604

    JNB

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2004
    Location:
    In a Hell predominately of my own making
    #12
    If the photo in question was taken from a public right-of-way. If you had to cross into private property to get a particular shot, that claim wouldn't hold up.
     
  13. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #13
    I'd appreciate a citation for that- I've always read that even if you're trespassing, the photograph is still yours unless it hinders a person's rights.
     
  14. termina3 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2007
    Location:
    TX
    #14
    That sounds like more of a 4th amendment (search/seizure) case than 1st (free speech/photography).
     
  15. Hmac macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    May 30, 2007
    Location:
    Midwest USA
    #15
    Even if you are trespassing and take a photo, the image is yours.

    The property owner can call the police and have you removed. If you refuse, you can be arrested. If the land is posted, you can be arrested but it would NOT be legal for anyone to confiscate any of your images - that would take a court order and a judge would only do that if the image was something harmful. If the property is not posted, you can walk around all you want as long as you don't do any damage, and until the property owner asks you to leave.
     
  16. jbernie macrumors 6502a

    jbernie

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #16
    Souldn't that be "not posted and not fenced"? If you are walking into someones property that is fenced, it arouses suspicion of intent for break & enter as you have no reason to be on the property in the first place. Obviously thinking a more urban situation where properties are generally much smaller than a rural setting where the property might be many hectares in size.
     
  17. Hmac macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    May 30, 2007
    Location:
    Midwest USA
    #17
    It certainly varies state-by-state. Fencing doesn't make a difference (except you can't damage the fence when you climb over it and if you open a gate to go through, you must close it). The exception is "agricultural land", which is defined as land with tilled soil, standing crops, or some kind of enclosure for domestic livestock. That land doesn't have to be posted. Otherwise, the law is usually very specific about how property must be posted for "no trespassing" - eg what the sign must say, size and color of the sign, the distance between signs, etc. If the method of posting it doesn't meet the law, people can't be prosecuted for trespass. Of course, once the owner confronts you and asks you to leave, then you must leave, no matter if or how the land is posted. If you don't, leave...that's trespass. But even so, neither the property owner nor the police would have the right to confiscate any images you have on your camera.
     
  18. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #18

    First, let me say that I am having some fun here.... my intention is not to offend, but to explore.

    I'm curious as to what you would consider to be "red". Is a labour union "red"? I was just (mostly) joking - but I do seriously believe that individuals must, when necessary, form into groups to take action when their rights are being threatened. In the North America there are two entities that are most likely to infringe on individual rights - governments and corporations. Since we can and do choose our governments, I am more worried about corporations. The appropriate counter weight to a corporation used to be labour unions since the workers were the ones most likely to be victimized. Now corporations have access to our personal data. And they are trying to create revenue in ways never before contemplated - like trying to convince courts that they should get a share of the money a photographer makes by selling a picture of the corporation's building. How else to push back corporate hegemony than by uniting?

    Keep in mind, I'm from Canada where we tend to tolerate and expect more government in our lives. And where we can have wicked sense of humour.
     
  19. Everythingisnt macrumors 6502a

    Everythingisnt

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver
    #19
    ^ I agree. What exactly do you mean by 'red'?
     
  20. termina3 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2007
    Location:
    TX
    #20
    Ha, asking me to specify "exactly what I mean by red" is contrary to my intended usage. I'm loosely using it (in devil's advocacy) to encompass socialists, communists (Marxist, Leninist, Stalinist, Maoist, etc.), and even some of the more liberal liberals (this is US liberals, mind you, not the socialism of Europe, which is almost undoubtedly included). It probably includes anyone who supports a tax differential of more than 30% (between the just-above-poverty and super-high income). Definitely includes those who support extensive welfare systems.

    I don't have a problem with groups forming to protect themselves, however I do believe that unions have in many senses hurt themselves by demanding too much. The working class complains about outsourcing jobs internationally, but to a small degree it's their fault. I don't expect American workers to work for $10/week, but I don't think they should moan and groan when they don't get the $$/hr for a factory-line job. They need to at least try to be competitive if they want to keep their jobs.

    I'm a proponent of strong capitalism with few (but never no) governmental regulations. I strongly oppose governmental interference with privacy and personal life (pro-gun, pro-choice, when economically profitable pro-death penalty, pro-gay civil union, anti-stop light cameras, anti-illegal wiretaps), however I have a soft spot for counter-terrorism efforts.

    I don't want us to diverge from the original topic (which I find interesting) too much, so I'll suggest we end this side-topic (unless you want to open a new thread).

    Please keep in mind I use "red" in a joking fashion, partly mockery of myself, partly of others (i.e. strict libertarian/creationist stereotypes), and so I'm not too accepting of people taking me seriously. I have a hard time tolerating stupidity (not ignorance, stupidity).
     
  21. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #21
    So NP, we do agree that photographers should be able to photograph freely, without worrying that somebody has 'trademarked' or 'copyright' a building. We agree that photographers should be able to wander around, more or less freely - but not on private land without permission, to find their compositions. And if they do inadvertently find themselves on private land then the proper recourse is for the landowner to politely ask the photographer to leave. Which the photographer does, after a quick apology.

    I try to do my photographic work as if I live in this world. And I'm glad to say that I find that most people I encounter also live in this world. Live is too short to worry about the rest. (This comment is more directed to the OP, I guess)

    I think we (NP and I) could photograph together, but we should probably leave politics alone. :) You've got some nice travel shots, NP.
     
  22. harcosparky macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2008
    #22
    I was in a situation once where the police were called because I was photographing ... IN A PUBLIC PLACE.

    My son that afternoon was in an automobile accident. I went to the intersection to photograph the intersection from the perspective of all vehicles involved, and also to photograph the physical evidence, i.e. skid marks.

    Well I was on scene about 10 minute when I saw 2 police officers coming toward me. Mind you the accident happened in front of the Police Station.

    The offices informed me that a woman complained that I was surreptitiously photographing her. Again I was photographing from the street corner and from the center of the intersection.

    I informed the officer as to what I was doing, and that as long as I was photographing from a public area, with my camera in plain sight ( we now have laws against "hidden" camera usage in public places. ) and that no laws are being violated.

    We went back and forth to the point he ended up " ordering " me to cease photographing.

    Fine I said, walked over to the Police Station, went inside and had a conversation with the Chief Of Police about one of his officers violating my constitutional rights. initially he sided with the officer saying something about " maintaining the peace ". I then informed him that " I was peacefully engaged in a legal activity, until your officers arrived. "

    He made a call to someone, from what I could tell it was to a States Attorney. He hung up and apologized to me for any inconvenience.

    Later that week I saw where my 'incident' made the paper. My name was not mentioned but this was in the Police Blotter.

    A woman on Hickory Ave reported that a man in a large white van was photographing women entering and leaving the Sexual Assault Resource Center.

    I did not even know that center existed. When I found out where it was, from my viewpoint it could not be seen.

    I am an old man, I learned long ago that the side of the road is no place to argue with a police officer.

    I dug further and it was explained to me ....

    I can stand on a public corner and take a picture of a private residence, so long as it can be seen from public view.

    I CANNOT stand on a public corner and take a picture of the inside of that house with my camera.

    Heck I knew that already, it falls under " reasonable expectation of privacy ".
     
  23. termina3 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2007
    Location:
    TX
    #23
    On the money :) And yes, keeping politics out of my conversations is something I generally attempt (but often fail). It's a constant subject for jokes from my friends.
     

Share This Page