modern lumber [deleted] 4:27am, 13 April 2005
Canadian photographers, I could use your help: yesterday I was at a MacDonald's in Vancouver and had a most unplesant experience.

After eating my meal I took a picture with my digital camera of one of the new McCafe cups that was sitting on a display. A young man burst out from behind the counter and started accosing me. He got way to close to me and was very aggressive - I thought he was going to steal the camera right out of my hand.

He said "You don't have permission to photograph here. You have to delete the pictures". I said "No I don't, but I'm happy to leave though" He repeated that I "had to delete the photos", so I said "No thanks, I'm just going to leave - see you" and he followed me right to the edge of the parking lot while reporting my movements in his headset.

I still have the pictures but haven't posted them yet.

What are my rights to take a picture of something that is publicly displayed in a restaurant where I purchased a meal? If I take a picture of my meal or a friend at a restaurant, do they have any claim to force me to delete the picture? I can see that they would have a claim because it's their property, but I was fully welcome as a member of the public that wanted to buy a meal. If I had bought a drink in the cup, would it make a difference?

There are guides to your legal rights as a photographer in the US or the UK, but I can't find one for Canada. Does anyone have a handy guide I can print off for the next time someone accosts me for taking a picture?
I'm not certain, but I don't think there is anything codified in Canadian law with respect to photography. You might read this discussion from an earlier thread:
fictures 14 years ago
No need to be all technical and get panicky with the legal stuff here. The dude's just an A-hole, that's all.
_escalade328s_ 14 years ago
thats flat out bullshit, he is just being a douche. i would tell him that this is your proof when you get food poisoning, then you know what you ate. when you purchased it it became your property (i assume) I have taken pics in mcdonalds there are more, check teh photostream. i think the guy was just being a douche, tell him to calm down and fuck off, you need it as proof, tell him to get a real job (not to dis mcdonalds employees, just him) trust me, there is no rule against taking pics in mcdonalds, i have brought a video camera in there and harassed them, they dont do shit, they usually laugh too, tell the guy to fuck off.
duncan 14 years ago
you might want to post the photos here, a group specifically for this kind of incident:
modern lumber [deleted] 14 years ago
So there was a Canadian Supreme Court decision that was referenced in another post linked from the one Computer Science Geek recommended.

Supreme Court of Canada
Aubry v. Éditions Vice-Versa inc., [1998] 1 S.C.R.

10. "...freedom of expression enjoys very broad protection in Canada. Any peaceful activity that conveys or attempts to convey meaning is protected by freedom of expression."

64. "...our law is characterized by recognition of interrelated rights whose purpose is to strengthen the democratic ideal. Individual freedom is at the heart of that ideal...Freedom can primarily be characterized by the absence of coercion or constraint. If a person is compelled by the state or the will of another to a course of action or inaction which he would not otherwise have chosen, he is not acting of his own volition and he cannot be said to be truly free. One of the major purposes of the Charter is to protect, within reason, from compulsion or restraint. "

Also, from the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;

8. Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure.

Counter to that evidence, Flickr user Mutually Inclusive noted that

"Years ago, the rule of thumb in Canada was that anything happening in a public place, or openly visible from a public place is considered fair game for photography. Street photography is pretty much unlimited, provided you're not breaking another law (ie. trespassing, endangering others, violating a court order).

Once you're on someone else's property, your right to take pictures is negotiable."
concerned wound [deleted] 14 years ago
I'm not so sure you automatically have the right to take pictures inside a public place since a store (restaurant, theatre, mall) is actually a private place, albeit a publicly accessible one, and they can make the rules any way they want to once your inside. Many grocery stores in my area (for instance) have notices at the entrance stating camera's/camcorders are not allowed inside the store for picture taking.

I think the employee was an arse for handling it the way he did but I am pretty certain he had the right to ask you to stop.
Sherlock77 (James) 14 years ago
How about in the public (ie. outside)? Recently when photoshooting this neat old truck/R.V. here in Calgary (Canada) - , I had some people - not the vehicle's owner - wondering why I was taking pictures, I stated my reasons (no commercial use, hobbyist, etc...) and that seemed to satisfy them.

I never did find the owner, the truck was there for a few days and is now gone. It kind of un-nerved me a little, yet I should have the right to do that, shouldn't I? I've done it lots before in the past with no issues.

And in case anyone is wondering... it was parked in front of a series of apartment buildings so it would have been virtually impossible to find the owner if visiting someone or something like that...
If you are harassed for taking photos in a public place, you should challenge the harasser to name the law that you are violating. In the case of the McDonald's incident, I'm pretty sure that you had to leave the premises, since you were on private property, but I'm also sure that the idiot who was chasing after you would not have been able to name any law you were violating, even if one existed.
Eric Eggertson 14 years ago
Wal Mart has been getting aggressive about not allowing people to take photos on the premises. I'm not surprised other companies are doing the same. People walking into their outlets and taking pictures are something they can't control, and most corporations don't like things they can't control.

I believe an example where the company would lose its right to control photography on its premises would be:
1) if the photo could be taken from off the premises into the store/building;
2) if the public good was served by exposing something that was happening in the building (ie. a photo of employees urinating into the milk shakes);
3) if there was implied consent, such as holding a public event inside a store.

Hoewever, my sniff meter tells me the McDonald's employee forfeited the company's right to your goodwill by being a jerk, so I wouldn't sweat about the photos unless you are specifically threatened with legal action by the company. It's a no-win PR situation for McDonald's since their employee behaved aggressively, unpleasantly and in a slightly threatening manner.

McDonald's has hundreds of thousands of people enter its premises every day. If they are adamant that people shouldn't take photos inside, they should post a notice to that effect. If there's no notice, they should be extremely polite when they try to enforce a rule that no one is aware of.

Besides, unless the employee witnessed the image on your digital camera's screen, he has no proof that you actually took a picture, so he should be doubly polite when dealing with you. For all he knows, you triggered the flash to see what the reflection would look like, or tried to take a picture and got an error message from your camera.
concerned wound [deleted]
How about in the public (ie. outside)? Recently when photoshooting this neat old truck/R.V.

Looks perfectly fine Sherlock, its on a public street.

I had some people - not the vehicle's owner - wondering why I was taking pictures

I don't know what their tone was like when they asked but I have had people ask me why I'm taking pictures quite often, I've always thought they were just curious.
brawny door [deleted] 14 years ago
I've twice gotten into trouble taking pictures inside a Starbucks store.

The key here is public vs. private space. Starbucks is private space open to the public, which is not the same thing as public space. So they can set the rules, stupid as they are.

I'm just glad I don't live in Germany (cannot reference discussion thread at the moment). Looks like they have to get assent from anybody photographed in public.
Ianiv & Arieanna 14 years ago
I believe that since the restaurant is private property they can forbid you from taking a picture. But if there are no signs or any effort of letting you know you are not allowed to take pictures in there, and you take a picture, I don't think they have the right to ask you to delete the picture.
They can ask you not to publish it, maybe because the logo on the coffee cup is copyrighted or something like that. I am not a lawyer, I'm just speculating.

James M Thorne 14 years ago
He was probably trying to earn himself a gold star for his little name badge, he sounds like a right jobsworth to me. Did he try and take your camera from you?

Surely Mcdonalds wouldnt mind their logo or one of their products being in a picture, its free advertising isnt it? As long as the picture wasnt derogatory towards the company.

When i was at the London marathon yesterday i had a race marshall come up to me to tell me i couldnt take pictures in the position i was on a public street. Interestingly enough he had a huge camera around his neck, i think he just wanted my spot. I pointed out the other 3000 or so people lining the route and told him to go and inform them all to. Some people just like to be a- holes about things.
mamaonthego 11 years ago
i know this topic is older but i found a link that might be helpful....
TilleyBilley 11 years ago
Very helpful - thanks!
Jimmiray 9 years ago
I've had to deal with this for a long time through a previous profession. Its true places like Malls, Dept. Stores, Coffee houses etc. are PRIVATE property but open to the public. They can impose what ever rules they like ie. dress code, no pic's and the like. FYI this would include any parking area attached to their premises. Most places mostly keep you from photoing inside the building unless patrons are feeling uncomfortable with you taking shots through windows or at the doors. Employees have no right to have you delete the picture or confiscate you Camera but may ask you to stop or leave. I've had this happen and even the police would have a tough time getting it from you. Sidewalks, Public City parks and open air spaces are generally considered fair game. Just a note though you would need a company or individuals consent to use their picture if you intended to sell or distribute it for monetary gain....commercial purposes.
I am seeking an answer to something though. If you are invited into a business to take some photos, in this case a Bar for their photo gallery, would you need individuals to sign consent forms to allow the posting of the pictures to the Web site? I don't think you do because of the nature of a) Venue and b) the purpose of the photos.
cowgirl_dk 9 years ago
If the guests are being told that you will be there on a specific day to take pictures, then by being there on that day, they give permission for the picture to be taken and published. I would refrain from taking snaps of people in embarrassing situations.
But I think you'll find most will be quite eager to have their pictures taken. There seems to be a hole industry of club-photographing springing up these days.
Hyla Levy 9 years ago
I agree that they should post a sign. They may very well have a policy (though I doubt it) forbidding photography as I would think their customers might consider it a nuisance whether or not you were pointing the camera their way because they might be concerned that you may turn towards them. Makes sense to me.
judo_dad1953 9 years ago
authentic Dan's mom 8 years ago
Re: the pub would need individual photo releases from each willing patron and avoid taking any identifiable shots of those who decline. Just posting a sign may not cover your/the companies butt in court if someone was photographed snogging with his/her non-spouse/partner or other sketchy reason.
(I've taken official photos on private property with public in attendance and have had to corner people to get their signatures, usually not a problem in a public library!)
Gareth Harper 8 years ago
I last entered a McDonald's in 2003 (not that I was ever in the habit of eating McDonalds crap) when visiting New York. I was reading Fast Food Nation at the time, which I'd just chanced upon at Glasgow airport on the way oot, so I figured I should eat the crap as I read about the crap.

I haven't touched one since. I'd happily to pay to not have to eat McDonalds.

Never been in a Starbucks and hopefully never ever will be.

Bottom line, find better places to eat.
Vendobiont Posted 8 years ago. Edited by Vendobiont (member) 8 years ago
I'm worried, because I don't recall having seen any pictures posted from this facility at any time during the ensuing five years since the OP.
"Mike Foster" Posted 8 years ago. Edited by "Mike Foster" (member) 8 years ago
They could have done away with him in their burgers.

He hasn't posted since 2008. Can anyone verify the Op's safety? Maybe he went back and was taken.
foTobias. 8 years ago
he probably ate one of their burgers and died of some heart disease
StevenM_61 8 years ago
He's still a paid Pro member. Someone's paying for his account.
purple way [deleted] 8 years ago

Post the question to the above group which has many Canadians and British.

Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto have some heavy-handed issues with photographing police but civil rights and private property laws are similar to US.
He was a ass, you can take a picture, maybe he was on the run and was afraid you took his picture. But that being said maybe private business do not want you to take shots. I was in a children's store in Toronto with my camera and they asked me not to take any pictures (ASKED) for the protection of the children. I know there are no laws in Canada that stop you from photographing publicly owned places or things.
falconn67 8 years ago
I have one McDonald's picture. Well, it was taken at the site of a former McDonald's:

No one tried to stop me.
"Mike Foster" 8 years ago

It's THEM trying to cover their tracks...
Groups Beta