chapter  15
The Law
Pages 22

Shooting Video in Public Places What is a public place? From Wall Street to Main Street, streets, plazas, parks, bridges, and city-owned transit systems are all fair game. And these are not limited to the physical structures themselves. You are legally free to video any person in a public place-be they a politician, a celebrity, a member of law enforcement or the military, or just an ordinary citizen. They may be central to your shot, or just a small figure included for scale or human interest. By appearing in public, they have relinquished what lawyers call “a reasonable expectation of privacy,” and are thus suitable subjects for your lens. Although you have almost unlimited freedom as to whom you can video in public, there are restrictions on what you can do with the footage. These restrictions are discussed in the sections on privacy and defamation. Also keep in mind some commonsense cautions. If a private individual says he or she doesn’t want to be videoed, stop shooting and assure them that you won’t use the footage. And be wary of filming children without notifying their parents, lest you seem like a predator.