Incident between me and security of Jumpin Jaks Nightclub, Burton Street Nottingham
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Had been taking photos of the outside of the building, here in Nottingham, including some artwork displayed in the windows. All this was being done from the pavement outside.
The photos were actually just for my own interest, as I was walking past on a sunny Sunday afternoon. I had no commercial intent, just a spur of the moment idea. Had taken most of what had interested me, when I was approached by two security people from inside the building.
“Stop taking photos, you can’t do that here”. I insisted that I wanted to, and asked them to get out of the way. They became more forceful and both of them at different times tried to put their hand over the lens.
They said that the building was private property and that it and the artwork was copyrighted. That if I wanted to take photographs, that I needed to ask for permission from the management.
Now, I have been in this situation before. Further, there had been past discussion on the EP-UK listing about these very matters. Yet a further obstruction of photography in a public place. I even remember the relevant section of the law, which I quoted to but no avail. There was no interest, just a simple insistence that they were going to stop me from any photography.
Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (c. 48)
62.-(1) This section applies to-
(a) buildings, and
(b) sculptures, models for buildings and works of artistic craftsmanship, if permanently situated in a public place or in premises open to the public.
(2) The copyright in such a work is not infringed by-
(a) making a graphic work representing it,
(b) making a photograph or film of it, or
(c) broadcasting or including in a cable programme service a visual image of it.
(3) Nor is the copyright infringed by the issue to the public of copies, or the broadcasting or inclusion in a cable programme service, of anything whose making was, by virtue of this section, not an infringement of the copyright.
The security folks didn’t let me finish a sentence each time I tried to tell them that I knew what I was doing was allowed, and were very definatly not interested in any of these points I was attempting to raise. I asked them to get out of the way a couple more times, and then we then both called the police.
We both waited on the pavement for 10 minutes before their arrival.
Two officers eventually arrived PC 2268 and WPC 2567 of Nottinghamshire Police and we both relayed our story to them.
The first police response to me, after asking for my details, was “well, if they’d asked you to ask for permission first, and you didn’t, then their copyright is being broken.” So, since you’d not asked permission, why don’t you just move on”. I then quoted the fact that copyright was not being broken, and further, being in a public place, I had a ‘right’ to go about my interest / business. I then sited the above law to the officers. Further, I pointed out that I had been technically assaulted by putting the hand over my lens a few times.
The street scene was being recorded by CCTV, from within the club. The police didn’t seem so interested in this allegation of assault, so I restated the facts, to them, and said “well, PC2268, what are you going to do about it then?”. He pulled a face and then went inside to view a tape. He came out saying that he could not see any evidence of assault. But he had seen my persistence, i.e. taking photos over their heads.! Further, that an area of the pavement about 3 feet from the end of the building was private, and that I had been standing on that for some of the time.
There had been a discussion with officers inside the building, and the police then began to suggest that what was now at issue, wasn’t just the photography of the building, BUT had now moved to the fact that their business logo was on display and that it was copyrighted. I pointed out that any city street in the country could therefore not be photographed because of the number of logos that there would be, and what a lot of permissions would need to be asked. PC 2268 said he wasn’t going to get into a debate with me. That it was a civil matter between me and them, but he would be “very dissatisfied” if he got called back to the scene. Further, “that if I did get into civil dispute with the company, it might have a detrimental effect of my business!” I think the officers gave the impression of partiality, since there are now two security and two police officers, standing between me and the building / artwork I was trying to photograph.
Gosh!! It was a sunny afternoon, and I left the scene rather than ‘hype’ the situation any further. BUT with the feeling of disgruntlement that you might expect from someone who didn’t think he’d done anything wrong!
I went away with much intimidation and confusion, because of this newly introduce ‘restriction’. Not to photograph a building from a public place, because it has a copyrighted logo on it. Have been back through the act, and I can’t see any mention. This sort of thing happens to us photographers more and more.
I went to the City council for a definitive map, to confirm a right of way / public place. Further, I have taken advice from my union the National Union of Journalist NUJ who advised to inform police of my intention to return and photograph other aspects of the area. Am applying for the CCTV footage under the Data Protection Act 1998 – Section 7 – Subject Access Requests http://www.hmso.gov.uk/acts/acts1998/80029–b.htm#7
Does anyone else think this is quite a lot of trouble to simply take a photograph in a public place, there in the street??