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Laws regarding taking photos in public places - can shop/stage staff prohibit it?

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  • Laws regarding taking photos in public places - can shop/stage staff prohibit it?

    Yodobashi Camera in Akihabara today, a small stage was set up outside on the street. A few idols were singing crappy J-pop songs and a 100-strong otagei crowd were dancing, jumping, whooping and going mad. Of course this was worth a photo.

    There was a small handwritten sign held up by one Yodobashi staff member saying "No photo", which I assumed was referring to the idols. I wanted to take some shots of the crowd so pulled out my camera but was almost instantly approached by another staff member telling me "No photos". When I explained I wasn't taking photos of the idols, just the crowd (members of the public standing on a public street cordoned-off only by a rope from the rest of the footpath) he wouldn't have any of it. Although he didn't grab me or the camera he stood in front of me and wouldn't get out of the way until I put my camera away.

    I've had similar requests from staff/roadies/whoever they are in front of Shibuya 109 when there are public advertising campaigns and performances etc.

    Does anyone know the laws in Japan in such situations? Are people actually within their rights to prohibit the taking of photos in such public places, or should I simply give a polite refusal to their requests and continue to snap away?

  • #2
    A) Only turds take photographs

    B) Fire Away. But first, hit them when they get obstructive like that. No non-Japanese need take physical crap from a Pearl Harbourer. Just put your foot behind his ankle, and push.


    We used to torture the Takenoko like that. And we were too cheap to buy film.

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    • #3
      If it is in a public place, just take as many photos as you like. Usually in Japan, people post signs which have no legal power at all. I am sure your counterparties do not have any legal recourse against you if you go ahead taking pictures. I tune out those signs and go about my business as long as I don't get caught / charged / fined by police.

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      • #4
        I would do my best to take a photo just to ____ the guy off - for the principle.

        I was checking out shops in an outdoor shopping arcade when this tv crew came by with a couple comedians. They told me to move out of the way (the comedians were walking my direction as the cameras backed towards me) I was more curious about what was going on to be put off about having to stop my own activities.

        Next time, I'm jumping in front of the camera, or going behind the comedians and mooning them.

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        • #5
          I was taking a friend visiting Japan for the first time around Akihabara during a weeknight. He spotted some of those maid cafe chicks outside Donki, handed me his camera, and asked if he could take his photo with them. Unsurprisingly, they refused and walked back to me to collect his camera. He was very happy to discover that I had already taken a few candid shots.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Andun
            Legally taking pictures of people without permission can be regarded as an invasion of privacy and is a suable offense (if the pictures are used without permission).
            See 肖像権侵害 and プライバシー保護. A group and private business has every right to protect themselves and ask you not to photograph them or their products. What they are probably trying to do is to stop the commercial use or distribution of such photos in the media.
            That would make sense if they represent a product or performer, but I made it very clear I wasn't taking photos of the performers, that I was taking photos of members of the public in a public place. The Yodobashi guys obviously can't claim that stopping me taking photos (even I was intending to use such pictures commercially) was in any way protecting themselves or their company or products.

            The other fundamental issue is whether anyone has a right to privacy (in terms of potentially being photographed) if they're out in a public place. I would argue that they don't. We're being photographed by CCTV all the time in public, in trains, in shops, pretty much everywhere we go. So on what basis can anyone argue that their privacy is being invaded if someone takes a photo?

            Are paparazzi illegal in Japan? If not then surely my taking crowd photos was totally legal. And so too would be my taking shots of the idols. Out in public.
            Last edited by purple; 2011-10-01, 11:19 PM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Andun
              Legally taking pictures of people without permission can be regarded as an invasion of privacy and is a suable offense (if the pictures are used without permission).
              See 肖像権侵害 and プライバシー保護. A group and private business has every right to protect themselves and ask you not to photograph them or their products. What they are probably trying to do is to stop the commercial use or distribution of such photos in the media.
              I am curious about this also.
              If they are in a PUBLIC setting on PUBLIC property. What is the law..?
              Individuals in the crowd vs. performers on a (public) stage.
              Time for some research.. :-P

              In the US taking pictures of almost anything in a PUBLIC place is legal.
              It is more about what you DO with those pictures once you have them that can cause problems.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by purple View Post
                That would make sense if they represent a product or performer, but I made it very clear I wasn't taking photos of the performers, that I was taking photos of members of the public in a public place. The Yodobashi guys obviously can't claim that stopping me taking photos (even I was intending to use such pictures commercially) was in any way protecting themselves or their company or products.

                The other fundamental issue is whether anyone has a right to privacy (in terms of potentially being photographed) if they're out in a public place. I would argue that they don't. We're being photographed by CCTV all the time in public, in trains, in shops, pretty much everywhere we go. So on what basis can anyone argue that their privacy is being invaded if someone takes a photo?

                Are paparazzi illegal in Japan? If not then surely my taking crowd photos was totally legal. And so too would be my taking shots of the idols. Out in public.
                You are basically right:
                さらに、公共の場所で不特定多数の人物を撮影する場合 は、肖像権の侵害は基本的に認められない。
                http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/肖像権#.E6...89.B1.E3.81.84
                "In the case of taking pictures in a public place where there are many people, a claim to invasion of privacy through having your picture taken is fundamentally not accepted"
                So you could have just ignored the staff.

                However individuals are protected under the following law:
                Which bascially states that the individual has the right not to have pictures taken of themselves, be drawn or have those made public without permission.
                人格権

                被写体としての権利でその被写体自身、もしくは所有者 の許可なく撮影、描写、公開されない権利。すべての人 に認められる。みだりに自分の姿を公開されて恥ずかし い思いをしたり、つけ回されたりする恐れなどから保護 するというもの。犯罪の関係者(被害者・加害者・両者 の周囲の人々)などが侵害されて問題となることが多い 。
                Last edited by Andun; 2011-10-02, 12:04 AM.

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                • #9
                  Undun is correct... it is a civil law and they can sue you if they wish.. (hard to imagine that they would.. but it is why Japanese TV is full of ridiculous mosaic..)

                  See it direct from the Ministry of Justice:

                  http://www.englishfriendlyjapan.com/...aw-translation

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by hennagaijin View Post
                    Undun is correct... it is a civil law and they can sue you if they wish.. (hard to imagine that they would.. but it is why Japanese TV is full of ridiculous mosaic..)

                    See it direct from the Ministry of Justice:

                    http://www.englishfriendlyjapan.com/...aw-translation
                    lol.. link is to a map to their office... :-P

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by jron View Post
                      lol.. link is to a map to their office... :-P
                      Under the map is this:

                      "Click here for the online law translation website."

                      lol

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by hennagaijin View Post
                        Undun is correct... it is a civil law and they can sue you if they wish.. (hard to imagine that they would.. but it is why Japanese TV is full of ridiculous mosaic..)

                        See it direct from the Ministry of Justice:

                        http://www.englishfriendlyjapan.com/...aw-translation
                        looking for it.. BUT.. I have to say...
                        They may have a right to prevent you from taking pictures of the celebrity...
                        However what right do they have to prevent you from taking pictures of the crowd in a public place?
                        I think at the latter point they are clearly overstepping bounds for some security person to prevent you from taking any pictures at all of people whom they do NOT represent..

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                        • #13
                          Thanks for the links and opinions. Next time I'll ignore the ba5tard5 when they tell me to stop.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by hml View Post
                            I would do my best to take a photo just to ____ the guy off - for the principle.
                            Well done, you are a dic_head.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by speedboat View Post
                              Well done, you are a dic_head.
                              It's spelled dick head, dick head.

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