C-mac

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
May 5, 2021
Messages
326
Reaction score
396


He has no idea what he's talking about. You can take a picture of anything that's in a public place as long as you don't take on their property. What you do with that picture might be a different story.
 
Last edited:

Star Fox

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Feb 7, 2018
Messages
172
Reaction score
255
While it's clear the person telling you it was illegal to take pictures was wrong, I'm curious if anyone has an idea as to why workers don't want people taking pictures of their construction site (I've heard of it happening to other UTers at other sites too)? Risk of documenting safety violations or something?
 
Last edited:

Undead

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Sep 3, 2020
Messages
1,457
Reaction score
3,102
While it's clear the person telling you it was illegal to take pictures, I'm curious if anyone has an idea as to why workers don't want people taking pictures of their construction site (I've heard of it happening to other UTers are other sites too)? Risk of documenting safety violations or something?
From my tangential involvement in the industry, there's always some sensitivity around sharing publicly about projects. A building might have issues the PMs don't want getting out. Even if the issues aren't visible or obvious to the general public, companies are shifty about this sort of thing. I remember one of my previous employers didn't like talking about certain projects because even though they'd done their job properly, other contractors on the project hadn't, and the building didn't meet its performance goals. There was also some negative press about it which might explain this guy's twitchiness about someone taking photos.
 

wmedia

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 11, 2010
Messages
987
Reaction score
2,909
You take a picture of anything that's in a public place as long as you don't take on their property.

It's never as clear cut as you think. Yes you can take pictures of public places, but if you are shooting using a long lens FROM a public place (sidewalk) ONTO private property (construction site), and taking photos of people (construction workers)... that can be considered an invasion of privacy. Your counter-argument would have to demonstrate that the photo was taken "in the public interest", which would supersede the privacy issue. A construction photo would likely not satisfy that argument, unless you showed unsafe working practices (for example).

However, their logo is a trademark which is intended for public display, and is not considered "original artwork" in the typical sense of copyright, so you do not need permission to shoot a trademark. However, if you were to defame or alter the trademark in your work, you could get into legal trouble.

In reality, nobody is going to waste time litigating either of the above for photos on a construction forum.

Source: My long and painful career as a film producer and production manager.
 
Last edited:

someMidTowner

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Member Bio
Joined
Sep 3, 2011
Messages
9,340
Reaction score
15,080
It's never as clear cut as you think. Yes you can take pictures of public places, but if you are shooting using a long lens FROM a public place (sidewalk) ONTO private property (construction site), and taking photos of people (construction workers)... that can be considered an invasion of privacy.

However, their logo is a trademark which is intended for public display, and is not considered "original artwork" in the typical sense of copyright, so you do not need permission to shoot a trademark. However, if you were to defame or alter the trademark in your work, you could get into legal trouble.

In reality, nobody is going to waste time litigating either of the above for photos on a construction forum.
I believe that the only limitation to public photography in Canada is under sec. 162 of the Criminal Code: https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/C-46/section-162-20051101.html
Voyeurism

162 (1) Every one commits an offence who, surreptitiously, observes — including by mechanical or electronic means — or makes a visual recording of a person who is in circumstances that give rise to a reasonable expectation of privacy
The language gets pretty graphic after that so I'll leave it out of here. The point is that for the image/video to be illegal, the subject must be somewhere with a "reasonable expectation of privacy" and not just be on private property. If a building has no walls or windows yet, it's safe to assume that one cannot claim a reasonable expectation of privacy. So take all the photos you want!
 

wmedia

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 11, 2010
Messages
987
Reaction score
2,909
If a building has no walls or windows yet, it's safe to assume that one cannot claim a reasonable expectation of privacy.
I would agree with you in most cases, but someone may still challenge you, especially if you're shooting at grade over a hoarding, or through a fence gap. Again though, it's extremely unlikely that any of this would ever make it to court, and the most you're going to experience is bluster from someone on site.
 

UtakataNoAnnex

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Mar 5, 2020
Messages
2,551
Reaction score
2,952
They have nothing here. And the complaint was about the PCL logo and not of taking up-kilt/skirt shots of workers on site.
 

Ottawan

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jan 28, 2014
Messages
1,271
Reaction score
4,316
It's never as clear cut as you think. Yes you can take pictures of public places, but if you are shooting using a long lens FROM a public place (sidewalk) ONTO private property (construction site), and taking photos of people (construction workers)... that can be considered an invasion of privacy. Your counter-argument would have to demonstrate that the photo was taken "in the public interest", which would supersede the privacy issue. A construction photo would likely not satisfy that argument, unless you showed unsafe working practices (for example).

As a lawyer who's worked on cases where surveillance experts were hired to take photographs of people on private property (from public property), I can tell you this is not true. Any photography from public property is legal.

If you want to be private on your own property, draw the blinds. Might not be palatable to everyone, but that's the truth.

I think some confusion arises from the fact that certain jurisdictions do have stricter laws against surveillance and privacy vis-a-vis photography, but in Ontario this is all fair game.
 

wmedia

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 11, 2010
Messages
987
Reaction score
2,909
I think some confusion arises from the fact that certain jurisdictions do have stricter laws against surveillance and privacy
Ottawan is correct. I just dug out my old notes from our meetings with our lawyers, and we were shooting in Toronto, Nova Scotia, Mexico City and London, England, so it looks like the advice against shooting long-lenses onto private property was general.

So feel free to ignore everything I said (apart from the trademark issue, which to my knowledge is fine in Ontario!) 😄
 

evandyk

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
May 22, 2019
Messages
875
Reaction score
3,715
As a film producer and production manager, the shots/footage you were considering taking were probably for a commercial purpose, which raises very different issues from a hobbyist out on the street with a camera.
 

wmedia

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 11, 2010
Messages
987
Reaction score
2,909
As a film producer and production manager, the shots/footage you were considering taking were probably for a commercial purpose, which raises very different issues from a hobbyist out on the street with a camera.
Yes, and it gets even more complicated, as a documentary film is considered "editorial" and a feature film is considered "commercial", both of which are treated differently. It's horribly confusing, so I leave it to the lawyers!
 

evandyk

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
May 22, 2019
Messages
875
Reaction score
3,715
It can be very confusing, but generally if you're just a random person walking around with a camera taking shots of a publicly viewed place with no interest in making money off your shots, the only restriction is the one that someMidTowner noted.
 

Johnny Au

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 5, 2010
Messages
7,746
Reaction score
5,240
A little late

July 2, 2021:

IMG_0856.jpg
IMG_0857.jpg
IMG_0858.jpg
IMG_0859.jpg
IMG_0860.jpg
IMG_0861.jpg


I took it across the street. PCL can't do anything about me taking these photos.
 

Top