Woman, after being told it's fine for man to film in public, argues with cop

Originally published at: Woman, after being told it's fine for man to film in public, argues with cop | Boing Boing


The woman is a dope, but most of these self-proclaimed “auditors” – even though they’re on firm legal ground – come off as creepy arseholes with too much time on their hands.


Disagree. It’s long past time for the sins of Anne Taylor Loft to be doused in sunlight.



It’s a good point that she has every right to complain, to annoy him, even to mess up his shot by refusing to move on. She could play copyrighted music, perhaps! But the difference between her and him is he knows where the line between asshole and legally wrong is. He is, to some extent, self aware. A tactical asshole, one might say.


Ironically it looks like they’re standing in the covered walkway of a shopping mall, which would be private property on which he has no legal right to film… malls like to masquerade as public spaces (when getting public money and land) and then turn around and curtail speech on their grounds when it suits them.


Not entirely correct
He can be asked to leave by the property owners and move to public property and continue recording, you can record things on private property as long as it visible from public property, you are on public property and there is no expectation of privacy. It’s also possible where he is could have a public easement and is then considered public property.
Public easements are a favorite of the 1A auditor types.



Yeah, she’s in the wrong, but he’s clearly skirting the line of being a jerk as well. There’s another guy like this who drives around New England finding little towns and going into their town offices with a big camera and filming, and when they ask what he’s doing, he gives them smug answers, clearly trying to piss them off so he can get it on tape and then put it on his Youtube feed for the views. It’s pretty sad given many of the people aren’t doing anything wrong, just confused by some weirdo walking in and filming them for no reason, then asserting his “rights” to do so because “public property.”


When I’m out with a camera I usually make a conscious effort to avoid getting people in the shot just to reduce the frequency of these kinds of interactions. I often use conspicuous medium and large-format kit, so there’s no hiding it. Sometimes I get curious questions.

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My point was that if he was on public property, he would have the right to stand there and film even if people objected. Given that it’s a covered walkway in a mall area, where it’s almost certainly not a public area (malls like their walkways to be private to be able to keep panhandlers, protesters, etc. out), and the parking lot would be private, he’d have to go somewhere probably well out of sight to keep filming if he upset anyone (upset customers=upset property owners). So yes, he has the legal right to continue filming those people, either until someone connected to the property tells him to leave, or from a place where he couldn’t actually see them.


We had a guy here in Georgia going from county to county and walking into courthouses and police stations and announce he was doing first amendment audits. Well I guess first he started filming then if questioned or hassled he’d go into his first amendment audit spiel. He was from Michigan or some such. It’s a weird game because if you keep doing that you’re going to cross a line. Get a jury being moved from waiting room to courtroom or some such. And that is a no-no. He wasn’t standing outside, he was walking up and down corridors with his camera. Finally in some county he went into a police department and did this. And then… Later that day…his entire YouTube channel vanished like it never existed. I don’t what transpired, but something put the fear into him. I suspect getting his legal advice from other YouTube videos didn’t pan out for him.


Yeah, exactly. His whole channel is him provoking people. Legal assholery. Just to prove that he can.


In this specific situation he was on what looks to a public sidewalk(or a public easement) and likely the reason he is doing this in that particular location.
this took place at south lake town square in Texas its not your typical style mall

also I would like to add I am not a 1A auditor, but a photographer that takes photos in public and is very familiar with the law and rules.


To quote the wisdom of The Dude -


I’ve taken a lot of photos and video of people in public (and private property come to think of it) without their permission (and sometimes without their knowledge). I’m at times conflicted about this, but I figure there’s a long history of artists doing street photography, and if you’re doing it for art, that’s a higher calling. I definitely don’t get the artist vibe from this dude.


No, he’s a dick. A perfectly fine answer would be, ‘oh I’m just getting some background shots for this video I’m making. Hope you don’t mind, have a nice day!’.
But that won’t generate clicks for your Professional Dickhead channel.


I was taking photos of a bunch of kids practicing absaling down a brick buttress at one end of a bridge over a river, the bridge is a replacement for a former railway bridge that now carries a footpath and cycle path. A teacher spotted me and started yelling at me across the river, ( I was on a viewing platform in the centre of the bridge that’s just above the opposite river bank), telling me I couldn’t take photos, it’s against data protection, yada yada, yada.
Complete bollocks, it’s a public place, with no expectations of privacy, and anyone can take photos of anything they want. He said he’d report me if I carried on, I said go ahead, knock yourself out. Without knowing who I was, where I lived, or anything else, he had no hope.
As a person operating in a professional capacity as an instructor, he ought to know about data protection and where it applies, which he clearly didn’t.


everything is stupid forever and ever and ever :confounded:


The auditors would argue that you strengthen rights by exercising them, and that strengthening first amendment rights is a very high calling indeed, and it is their brave work of filming people without consent that keeps it possible for you artists to film people without their consent.

Maybe he did and was willing to try to deceive you in order to prevent someone taking photos of kids he was in charge of. I don’t believe the teacher has any responsibility to be honest to you about what you are allowed to do with his charges.

Not at all saying there was anything wrong with what you were doing, but if a teacher thinks you are being creepy I don’t blame them for trying to dissuade you. And, the teacher may need to cover their ass in case a kid mentions that someone was taking pictures of them playing.
“Didn’t your teacher notice? Didn’t he say anything?”


Some people don’t like being caught in photos or videos, think it’s an invasion of their space, but thing is, if you’re in public, that no longer exists, only in the mind.
I know full well as a street photographer in the UK. People will ask. Will complain. Will look at you funny and make even better pictures. Don’t ever let them tell you you can’t though!

But yeah, your free dumb auditors are weird. Why not do it artistically?
“I’m doing it to see that I can”

I’m doing it to see what I see, to freeze a moment in time. Some might see it, maybe not, depends how I feel about the image(s).


Couple of examples of mine that just came to mind :grin:

Being nice and asking to take a particular photo you want that maybe needs cooperation is also good too, and respecting their decision on it too.

Some guy literally was right up behind me taking photos of me struggling to get into a taxi and laughing at me once recently. Being now disabled and was in serious pain. That, wasn’t cool. It was malicious. Laughing at those genuine suffering in pain is never cool. I gave him a piece of my mind. Yeah, it isn’t illegal but you’re a piece of shit all the same.