Legal situation

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Bill EWS

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Many of us stretch things a bit when going around taking photographs of old station sites. In this instance I am referring to taking the change when going on to private land to reach a particular site. No thought of damaging or removing anything is ever intended or to take any photo that would be considered too personal. We concentrate on the railway interest and move on as quickly as possible. I generally try to find someone to seek permission, especially if there is a house or buildings available. Likewise, with farm land I would not enter if it is newly sown or young plants are growing and not if there are any animals grazing. When there is none in sight and there appears to be nothing to damage I will simply take the chance while there. A few quick photos of the interested subject and away. For the most part no one generally minds and that's where it stands. In most cases it is near impossible t find out who any one landowner is or how to make contact even if you wanted to.


However, I have just had an email from a land owner who found my web site pages where I have taken such photographs and have been told to take them down within 28 days otherwise he will take action. Obviously, for the sake of peace I have apologised to the landowner and will comply with his request. Of course, I have also appealed to him to reconsider and allow the photos to remain as they are photographs that add to the story and history of the old railway site. However, I have not had any reply so far. I will stuck to my word and remove the photos by the stated time. However, while my photos may be removed there are numerous other who have visited this site and their photos and videos will remain, therefore the landowner really hasn't solved any problems in that regard and will have to take the time and trouble to search all these sites out and demand that they all remove their work. Obviously, I would be a bit annoyed if he only picked on myself but, that's life, I suppose!

Whatever I thought I would mention this here to let anyone else who has such photos and videos up on the internet know that they may hear from this landowner. If anyone can add any legal technicalities to this situation I would appreciate hearing from them.
 
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eoff

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I expect only a Lawyer could address the "after the event" questions raised by this.

In Scotland most likely there would be no problem.
 

Mcr Warrior

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Is there any English law against taking photographs whilst effectively trespassing?

And is there any requirement that being present on someone else's private property requires the property owner's consent to take photos, which seems not to be the case here?
 

Islineclear3_1

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How did you gain access to obtain your photos?

Did you climb a gate/fence/wall, walk across a field or farm? Was your access route clearly marked "Private Land" or words to the effect?

You might find this useful:


Access Rights and Photographic Limitations

The topic of what you can and cannot photograph, where you need permission and what use you can make of photographs is like anything that touches legal topics difficult and often irrational. Our objective here is to throw some light on this and to provide you with a general guide that will be of help without creating a large book in the process.
 

eoff

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This document is useful as well, I had an older version of it but see it was updated but is still quite old...


the complexity is with trespass, you can be ejected for it and land and building owners can place restrictions on entry which you may agree with on entry that prohibit photography.
As to what action anyone could take once you have taken photographs on private land without permission and outside of you entering into any 'contract' I have no idea.
 

Tazi Hupefi

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Nottinghamshire
Legally, it's trespass, a civil matter in this case.

However, unless you've commercially exploited those images, or damaged anything in the process, taking pictures is perfectly legal, even on land where you're trespassing.

There is zero chance of a claim ever being made, because the owner would need to prove:

1) An intentional trespass occurred - a sign or instruction on the day saying keep out, private etc, or you've jumped over a locked gate and so on...
2) That there has been an actual loss to the owner, and justification of that loss;
3) The owner would be liable for court fees/costs even if they won.
4) If your photography does have a commercial value, they need to work out what it is, which wouldn't be easy.

So it's basically a scare. In any event, they'd need to send you a formal "Letter before action" anyway before starting a claim against you at court.

You definitely should not have apologised, or offered to take them down in a panic, as it's opening you up to admitting wrongdoing.

For future reference you should say something like:

"Whilst I believe I have done nothing wrong, in order to respect your wishes, I will voluntarily remove these images from the internet as requested on this occasion. This will be done as soon as possible, but in any event, within 28 days. Kind regards."

If it got to court, (unlikely), and the images were private collection only, the land owner would probably win a token £1.00 compensation award for trespass.
 
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Trackman

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What is this guys beef, trawling the internet for photos of his land?
If he was that worried he would put up notices or even if he had anything about it make a couple of quid out of visits.

I have a friend who goes metal detecting, he takes it quite seriously and has the relevant insurance and documents. He always checks who owns land first and asks for permission. He was telling me once a land rover blocked him in and the so-called land owner to him to buzz off. He showed him an email from the estate granting him permission, but still wasn’t having anything of it.
 
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