User:200metrov/Photography legislation

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Законность фотосъёмки может повлиять на участников OpenStreetMap, которые занимаются фотомаппингом (использование фотоаппарата/видеокамеры для съёмки объектов в реальности, чтобы затем отмечать их на карте). Участники проекта должны быть осведомлены о законности/незаконности съёмки в различных ситуациях.

Законодательство в разных странах различается, но вопрос можно разделить на несколько пунктов:

  • Съёмка: обычно легальна в общественных местах
  • Публикация фотографий: есть некоторые ограничения, касающиеся частных объектов
  • Оперирование камерой вручную одновременно с управлением транспортом
  • Изгнание из частных владений:

Taking photos is not only a legal matter but a matter of manners and public image so boasting "I have a right" is less likely to yield the best outcome.

You can help by adding the guidelines for your country, possibly referencing countries with equal legislation. If the practices are unclear, one good source are national reporters associations: they take photographs, too, for living.

National differences


One has to be aware that spaces can be

  • public (parks, state/community hospitals, public libraries, schools etc.) or
  • privately owned (shopping centers, restaurants, offices, homes)

and mostly unrelated to that spaces are

  • open to public (roads, parks, shopping centers, hospital waiting rooms, most of the school grounds) or
  • closed to public (nonpublic rooms in shops, examination and operation rooms in hospitals, office spaces other than those open to customers).
  1. Taking photos is forbidden only in four cases:
    1. of people staying in spaces protected by "home privacy" (kotirauha) or in toilets or dressing rooms, unless consented to by the people being photographed.
    2. in spaces closed to public or fenced yards in a manner violating privacy
    3. copying of copyrighted works, unless it is a published work not in computer readable format and copying is only for personal use.
    4. military areas, harbours and airports might have specific restrictions
  2. Publishing photos of situations above can be punishable. Photos depicting anything libelous of the persons in the picture can be punishable even if taking the pictures has been legal (e.g. in public spaces). For uses for commercial benefit (e.g. advertising) permission is required from the people in the photos at least if they are clearly identifiable.
  3. "Using a mobile phone when driving" can result in a fine if it "is held in the drivers hand". Use of any other voice or picture "reception or playback device" or "other communications device" is also forbidden "if it can distract the driver or impair handling of the vehicle". How this wording could be stretched to digital cameras is unclear.
  4. Owners or their representatives can ask anyone to leave from privately owned but even open to public spaces. If such a request is not complied upon, they can call a police to remove the person and he or she can be fined for "disturbing public peace". From public spaces removal by police requires disturbing other person's peace or behaviour otherwise disturbing. If the grounds for removal were discriminatory, the person requesting removal can be fined for discrimination but it will not affect the removal nor will it necessitate the destruction of the photos.



  • Taking photos of unmoveable obstacles (like houses, rails, streets, etc...) is legal
    • Note: there have been some arguments that if a photo of a house can or could be linked to the person living there, the information on the appearance of the house would be protected by privacy laws, making the distribution and publication of such pictures illegal; or possibly already taking pictures for publishing later. More info is available in the decision of the German data protection official banning Google Streetview cars: in german language.
This was a false bullshit hype in the german mainstream media. The legislation in this case is called "Panoramafreiheit", which means:
  • Taking photos from public ground, even if they contain objects on private ground, is completely legal, unless:
    • They contain persons (see below)
    • They contain works under copyright, then you need an agreement of the copyright holder for publication
  • For taking phots on private ground you need the permission of the ground owner to go there (unless it's illegal) and must also ask them for permission to take photos from there. (You have to prove that you got permission.)
  • Taking photos containing persons is illegal unless:
    • The persons agreed
    • The photos are taken on a public event (=This means: There is a public interest in the event/action photographed (this also includes things such as criminal acts done by police man).)
    • You keep the photos to you own. (no publication)
    • It was not the main intent to photgraph the persons, such as a photo of the mountains using a wide angle lens and containing also some hikers.
    • There are six or more persons visible (???, I don't know this exception, imo it doesn't exist.)
  • Photos taken of private streets can be legal, depending on decission the owner of the particular street
  • There might be special restrictions on military ground or in security related environment (Yes, taking photgraphs of military land or special security objects is illegal.)


  • Taking photos of unmoveable obstacles (like houses, rails, streets, etc...) is legal
  • Taking photos containing persons is illegal unless:
    • The persons agreed
    • The photo is taken in a rellevance show or event (concert, manifestation, etc.)


  1. All foreigners (I am not sure about sudanese nationals) need a photography permit from the ministry of tourism.
  2. Even with this permit one is not allowed to photograph:
    1. Military Areas
    2. Bridges
    3. Train Stations
    4. Broadcasting Infrastructure
    5. Water, gas, petrol and electricity works and similar installations
    6. Slum areas
    7. Beggars
    8. Other "defaming objects" (whatever they may be)

United Kingdom

  1. In government-owned spaces open to the public, photography is legal
    1. Local authority/city council owned public spaces?
    2. Open to public privately owned spaces?

A useful summary, written by a lecturer in law:



General note

Personal experience shows, that if the wrong person sees you doing it, virtually every photograph can lead to a long discussion with over-zealous security personel. Sometimes (depending on your negotiating skills) this can lead to the forced erasure of the photos or even the confiscation of the camera! So take care who is watching!