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Permit needed?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Max Q, Jul 7, 2008.

  1. Max Q

    Max Q

    7
    May 25, 2008
    Atlanta, GA
    Tonight, I decided to go snap a few photos of the storms that went through Atlanta next to a subway station on the top of a parking garage (we live next door to the station). While shooting away from the station and at the horizon, I had a police officer warn me that I shouldn't take any photographs containing the station without a permit.

    Since he didn't want to clarify, perhaps NC.com can help. Why on earth am I not able to take any photographs of the station without a permit? He didn't specify private or commercial use so I'm left wondering, if I were to say, pull out my p&s and snap a pic of a family member getting off at the station, am I going to get violated? Thanks!

    -Brett
     
  2. Check Atlanta's municipal code - it should specify any permits needed for photography, motion picture or television shooting. You may want a cup of coffee to stay awake while reading it, but that should answer your question nonetheless.

    Sean
     
  3. Max Q

    Max Q

    7
    May 25, 2008
    Atlanta, GA
    Thanks for the reply. Well here is Marta's policy in plain English: http://www.itsmarta.com/newsroom/photo_policy.htm

    Another source states that the individual who is in charge of issuing the permits acknowledges that it is not illegal to photograph the station and the permit is geared towards commercial-use photography. I'll call tomorrow and double check.

    -Brett
     
  4. vinman

    vinman

    Nov 15, 2006
    Upstate SC
    Simply print it out and take it with you when you shoot. That's a good habit whether shooting downtown Atlanta, Central Park, or anywhere you might encounter inquisitive law enforcement. Their discretion gives them the authority to tell you "no" regardless, but I've found that the vast majority of the time they will listen and respect printed materials (like the MARTA document) and leave you alone. The main thing is not to lose your cool and start talking about freedom of speech, your rights, etc. Put THEM on the defensive, and you don't have a chance.
     
  5. mdruiz

    mdruiz

    491
    Feb 18, 2008
    Orlando, FL
    I'm sorry, but that is a police officer with nothing else to do. There are hundred of people who take pictures of skylines, subways and tourist destination. Does that mean what ever city I go, I need to get a permit.

    Survey says?....NO!
     
  6. wbeem

    wbeem

    Feb 11, 2007
    Sanford, FL
    William Beem
    It's an ongoing problem all over the place. Cops think that photographers are terrorists.
     
  7. Cleo68

    Cleo68

    Jul 7, 2008
    Bedford, MA
    Wow. A picture of the SKY? Now that is the lamest thing I have ever heard. I think cops are a lot like everyone else who know little about photography. As long as you have an slr/dslr with an interchangeable lens, you are either the papparazzi, a pervert, or a terrorist. You are presumed guilty until you prove yourself innocent. I can hardly photograph my own sons at the community swimming pool paid for by us without taking grief. I could understand if I was including other kids, but I am a Mom - and who understands best about the rights of other kids? Come on people... get a grip! Yet they can photograph us at every stop light. Don't even get me started.
     
  8. wbeem

    wbeem

    Feb 11, 2007
    Sanford, FL
    William Beem
  9. Max Q

    Max Q

    7
    May 25, 2008
    Atlanta, GA
    After speaking with MARTA communications today, I discovered that the location I was shooting at was not MARTA property and did not require a permit. The purpose of the permit is two-fold. They don't want customers getting injured by equipment (tripods) on property and they don't want MARTA to be portrayed in a bad light.

    So even if I DID include the MARTA station in my photos, since my photos were for private-use only and I wasn't on MARTA property, that wouldn't have been against MARTA rules and it especially wouldn't have been against the law.

    Deputy Doofy: "If I really wanted to, I could run you off for not having a permit"
    ME: "Officer, you're more than welcome to take a look at the pictures I've taken so far, they are of the horizon and nothing else"
    Deputy Doofy: "Yeah, actually I would"

    Now that I've had the opportunity to speak with MARTA directly, this has harassment written all over it. Regardless, I'm going to get written approval from communications only because they are right next door to my apartment and it's free.

    -Brett
     
  10. Carole

    Carole

    Jun 15, 2008
    Bellingham, WA
    The same crap went on in NYC after 9/11 and I'm sure it still does today. A lot of cops with nothing to do but hassle photographers. In NYC it was the bridges. Supposedly they figured you were a terrorist if you were shooting them. The ironic thing is that you can go to the NYC Public Library and look at the blueprints. It got NUTS. It was just one of the reasons I moved out of NYC and across the country where I can shoot the mountains and lakes all I want :) 
     
  11. Cleo68

    Cleo68

    Jul 7, 2008
    Bedford, MA
    Not bad enough we have to feel conspicuous with all our gear to get a good shot, but now we have to be harrassed by cops to be even more humiliated? Sounds like this guy had an axe to grind. Must've been a bad day in police-land. Next we'll be forced to get licenses to wear around our necks. "I shoot pictures, not people."
     
  12. wbeem

    wbeem

    Feb 11, 2007
    Sanford, FL
    William Beem
    Should it happen again, remind the officer that coercion is illegal in all 50 states.
     
  13. Carole

    Carole

    Jun 15, 2008
    Bellingham, WA
    Legally a police officer cannot take your camera, film, or digital card. We had this discussion recently in my photography class. But when faced with one of these type of cops, you generally have to either fork it over or get arrested. If you do get arrested, the arrest report tends to "go missing" and you don't get a copy which makes it difficult to prove and therefore sue them.

    And people wonder why I moved out of NYC?? This is one of the reasons . . . along with having to have my handbag checked every time I went to the movies. But then I could have been carrying candy bars or bringing in my own bottle of soda! ACK!!

    Carole
     
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