The issue of photographers’ rights is not a new one. I’m not sure when the notion that all photographers are paedophiles first emerged, but obviously it’s only since 2001 that all photographers are paedophiles, terrorists or both. In 2004 the UK Photographers Rights Guide was published. Of course the law differs between jurisdictions, and in particular, it’s often unclear when Scots law (which concerns me most) differs from generic UK law. That the rights guide was written by a lecturer at a Scots university gives me some hope that she would have pointed out any significant differences if they existed.
I’m not sure who coined the expression “the war on photography” but Bruce Schneier has certainly used it. Yesterday a Scots court appears to have opened a new front in the war. I’ve often been critical of the BBC’s reporting, but if this story is substantially correct, Sheriff Kenneth Hogg is a disgrace. uk.legal is abuzz with the story. I note that at the time of my writing, the most recent comment on the UK Photographers Rights Guide, by the original author, expresses some dismay at recent interpretations of the law in Scotland. The fact that the accused in yesterday’s case pled guilty suggests that his solicitor, Andy Houston, feared that Boss^H^H^H^HSheriff Hogg might interpret the law in the latest, most fundamentally idiotic, way. I’ll give the solicitor the benefit of the doubt, and assume that his advice was based on an understanding of how the sheriff’s mind works (and in this context, by “works” I mean “does what the Daily Mail tells him”).