Santa Monica Pacific Park’s Weird and Confusing Photography Policy
Anthony Citrano decided to do some high ISO night shooting Friday Night on the Santa Monica Pier but quickly found himself in a confrontation with your friendly neighborhood photo police. According to Anthony, a confusing interchange took place between him and the photocops between what he could and couldn’t shoot on the Pier even though he was clearly shooting for personal non-commercial use.
“He then led me a short distance to a second security guy who explained that it’s OK to take pictures of “people, etc.” but I could not take pictures of park “things.” He described it as “private property” and “you see, everything you photograph in this park, it’s copyrighted.” I replied, “yes, copyrighted by the photographer.”
He seemed confused by that. So I asked, “is it a question of the subject matter of the photograph? that’s the basis of the policy?” Yes, he said, that’s the policy. “Otherwise, you need to sign a waiver and show ID.”
I asked how they determine what I’m photographing. Do you review the photos? “For instance, your colleague said it was `family’; how do you know who my family is?”
He did not have an answer for that, so decided instead to move on to a new line of reasoning. He said that “if it’s for commercial use” I would need to sign. Then – acting quite relieved – I said, “oh cool, then, because this isn’t for commercial use. So, can I go take some shots?” But still he said no, that I would need to sign the waiver if I wanted to take pictures of “park property.” I was confused, and told him so: You just said that the waiver was required if the images were for “commercial use”. They are most definitely not for commercial use. So why do I need to show ID and sign a document?”
Remember kids, stay in school, do what adults tell you. Cameras don’t kill people, people kill people.
Photography is not a crime.
Update: The L.A. Weekly has picked up on this story and is running a post on it as well right now.