Back in March 2015, Arkansas Senate was working to pass bill SB-79. Bill SB-79 is named the Personal Protection Act, which claims to protect the privacy of citizens when in public. Meaning it would stop photographers from the freedom of their photos. If the law was instated, it would have implied that if a photographer took a photo of any recognizable person and was posted to the internet without consent it would leave you with an open lawsuit if somebody in Arkansas saw it online. This being said, the bill was revised and denied on March 31st 2015. When the bill originally got passed, photographers were outraged, stating it would destroy the momentum from all photography if you had to get written permission from every individual beforehand.
Luckily this wasn’t this case but Arkansas Legislature will review the right of publicity bill again in 2 years, so Arkansas can only hope to get lucky again.
Aside from recent news, the right of privacy with the public and photographers has become a major issue amongst the photography world. The rights we have these days are generally flexible. We have the freedom to take photos in public but consent is required (with some exceptions). It is illegal to film on private property, although it is not illegal to film private property from public property. But since iphones have came into the picture the ability to stop people from taking photographs has become increasingly difficult – especially at events like concerts. In the past, taking a photo at a show was absolutely not allowed. Now a days, we are able to photograph and videotape the whole show if we chose to – the only rule instated now is that the use of any camera that has interchangeable lenses is prohibited.
There has been numerous incidents recently that people have run into problems with the taking of public photos and videos. People will often assume the photographer is going to use photos for other reasons than our actual intent – a good photo. Photographer, Karl Baden receives constant hatred and suspicion from the public for simply pointing his camera into the world. An incident occurred where he was taking a photo from his car of the sunset in a grocery store parking lot. A father and his son walked by as he was taking the photo and was immediately verbally assaulted and accused of taking photos of his child. Another instance occurred a few years ago when FBI agents appeared at Karl’s door shortly after he was observed photographing American flags that were planted everywhere in the days following 9/11. The photographer has a handful of stories and photos of people angrily reacting to his camera and hopes to one day publish a book on it which only shows how much it happens – and this being only one of the thousands of street photographers out there.
Luckily for Canada we have the freedom to aim out cameras wherever we please, but with a possibility that somebody’s going to give us a hard time about it.
– Paola Pasqualini