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More privacy restrictions or fair decision?

Started Apr 16, 2014 | Discussions thread
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mgd43
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Re: The US first amendment is not absolute
In reply to mike703, Apr 18, 2014

mike703 wrote:

mgd43 wrote:

I have never heard of a case in the US where a photographer was prosecuted for a photograph simply because the photograph did not communicate a message or have an audience for that message.

No, me neither: but don't shoot the messenger. That is a US web site quoting rulings from US supreme court justices.

The point isn't that anyone would be prosecuted for taking a street photo in the USA - of course. the point is that people who cross some line into antisocial behaviour in pursuit of their hobby (say, following someone to an extent that could be harassment, which is illegal whether you are carrying a camera or not) are mistaken if they think that the first amendment gives them permission to behave like that.

I've seen posts from such people here - the attitude that 'if I have a camera I can do what I like because the first amendment says so'. There was a rash of such threads a few months ago. If the photographer ends up in court the charge would be harassment or some minor public order offence, not 'taking a photo in a public place'. Has that happened to a photographer? I don't know but I wouldn't be surprised - and if it did a 'first amendment' defence wouldn't wash.

I've been on photo forums since 2001 and I think that if that happened someone would have mentioned it. We've discussed photographers being detained for security reasons and for photographing children many times, but that has never been mentioned. That leads me to believe that either the courts interpret that section of the law differently than you do or that there has been more recent decisions.

I haven't 'interpreted' anything; I was just pointing out what appears to be the law in the USA, unless you know that it has changed.

Best wishes

We don't differ by much. There are limits to free speech that are clear and there are grey areas. Something getting  a lot of attention now, and rightly so I believe, is bullying. Also there have been cases where people have posted nude photos of ex girlfriends online. Both of these activities have resulted in prosecutions.

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