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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 31 Dec 2014 (Wednesday) 08:12
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GoPro in Bowling Alley leads to Confrontation

 
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StanNJ1
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Post edited over 4 years ago by StanNJ1. (5 edits in all)
     
Dec 31, 2014 08:12 |  #1

I would like to see your thoughts and comments on something that happened last night.

Several friends and I decided to go bowling and I brought a GoPro camera with me to memorialize the event. I really didn't have a concrete plan of what I was going to do with the video that I shot but was thinking that if I did put something together that my friends would enjoy it.

I wanted to get some background filler material so I had my camera pointed towards the pins while I walked the length of the bowling alley.

About 30 seconds later I was approached by an female, 20 something, employee who told me that I wasn't allowed to film inside the bowling alley and told me not to do it again. She said that someone complained. I politely told her what I was doing and that I would respect her wishes but that I believed she was wrong for asking me to stop.

She told me that if I did it again that I would have to put my GoPro camera in the car. I asked her if she would also ask everyone with a cell phone who has ever taken photos or videos with it to put it in the car as well. She said no because that was different.

I explained that I did not film any one individual specifically and that in fact anyone who does take a video of their friends bowling would also have these same people in the background.

Less than five minutes later I was approached by another female employee, 30 something, who appeared to be acting in a managerial capacity. She told me that she was aware of the incident and that pretty much had the same conversation with me that the first girl did.

When I told her that I thought she was wrong she said, well at least I didn't call the police.

So I welcome your thoughts...........was I wrong for capturing video in a public place?

Edit-Video sample removed


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DutchinCLE
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Dec 31, 2014 08:19 |  #2

I am not a lawyer, but a bowling alley is NOT a public place.. There are people who own it, their place their rules.


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Harm
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Dec 31, 2014 08:23 |  #3

A bowling alley is a private establishment, unless it is owned by the city, at the expense of taxpayers etc. (which is highly doubtful).

They can enforce those rules, regardless of common sense or not.

They would have had full rights to call the police to have you thrown out, and waste valuable police time.


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Post edited over 4 years ago by Left Handed Brisket.
     
Dec 31, 2014 08:26 |  #4

a bowling alley is not a public place.

i'd put money on:

1) the person who complained being a regular and you being a noob.
2) there being no policy in place and both employees making it up as they go along
3) you feeling you were right causing more of a problem than anything


going into a business and starting to take pics/video without asking management will almost always get you in trouble.


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Trvlr323
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Dec 31, 2014 08:37 |  #5

I'll speak mostly to your closing question about capturing video in a public place. The bowling alley isn't a public place. It is a privately owned establishment. I think if they did receive complaints from other patrons, particularly if those patrons felt the alley was a private place where they had a reasonable expectation of privacy then the alley seemed to be acting appropriately. At least on the surface of things. I'm not a legal expert. Your video may have been completely innocent or without commercial intent but as someone once told me, just because we have cameras doesn't give us the right to film everything. Plus you have to consider the bowling alley. These places live and die by how fast they can turn over lanes. I probably wouldn't be happy with a guy filming if it was causing an unnecessary delay in the game whether I was the owner or a client waiting for a lane.


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Left ­ Handed ­ Brisket
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Dec 31, 2014 08:45 |  #6

Harm wrote in post #17358796 (external link)
They would have had full rights to call the police to have you thrown out, and waste valuable police time.

somewhat of a tangent, but since they apparently did not ask him to leave, calling the cops before doing so and him refusing to leave would have been premature. Filming is not illegal, trespassing is. Hopefully the dispatcher would have cleared that up, but who knows?


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StanNJ1
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Dec 31, 2014 08:55 |  #7

I appreciate all of the insight


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Dec 31, 2014 09:03 |  #8

Left Handed Brisket wrote in post #17358828 (external link)
somewhat of a tangent, but since they apparently did not ask him to leave, calling the cops before doing so and him refusing to leave would have been premature. Filming is not illegal, trespassing is. Hopefully the dispatcher would have cleared that up, but who knows?

I never said that filming was illegal, but if regular patrons are uncomfortable, they will naturally tell management/staff, who have the right to refuse entry, and have people thrown out and/or barred in the future.

Why start up a fuss to say "you're wrong, i am right"?

Like the OP said, the "management" were kind enough not to get any authority figures involved, which would have really been a total waste of time and taxpayers money.


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qdrummer21
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Dec 31, 2014 09:05 |  #9

I agree with the others. A bowling alley is privately owned, it is publically accessible but not public property. The same holds true with malls which almost always have a no photography policy for their patrons.

The OP makes a somewhat valid point about the cellphones. The problem is the odds of it being enforced are very low because it's very difficult to tell if someone is sending a text message, reading an email, or taking a photo/video on a cell phone just based on how the person is acting, there's only one use for a GoPro and that's taking video. Had you been walking up and down the lanes holding a cell phone taking video there's a good chance the same thing would have happened. Photographing with a DSLR vs. a cell phone often will see similar results.

The moral of the story is: their property their rules. If you want to stay on their property then you'll need to play by their rules. If you don't you'll be asked to leave, if you don't leave then the police can be called and they will process you accordingly based on the local trespassing laws.




  
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Dec 31, 2014 09:10 |  #10

StanNJ1 wrote in post #17358784 (external link)
I explained that I did not film any one individual specifically and that in fact anyone who does take a video of their friends bowling would also have these same people in the background.

...lets be honest here. Anyone taking video of their friends bowling would not end up with an identical video to the one you posted. If you are going to take video of your friends bowling: then take video of your friends bowling. But the video you posted didn't seem to feature your friends at all, but it did prominently capture almost everyone else at the bowling alley. So right off the bat you come across as an unreliable narrator. I think I can even see exactly the moment you got reported: you get spotted by a young girl who turns and probably tells her parents.

And as everyone else has pointed out: you were on private property and they make the rules. If you had been a bit more discrete they probably would have allowed you to film. Maybe next time ask permission: I know I always do when I do something similar.


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Dec 31, 2014 09:14 |  #11

The replies here have been very helpful.

And now that we've established "their place, their rules" what about the patrons?

What are theirs and my rights concerning video or photos where they happened to be in a shot?

Do they have any recourse? Can I get in any trouble? Would it be any different if they were standing outside the establishment? What if the parking lot is privately owned?


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Dec 31, 2014 09:22 |  #12

StanNJ1 wrote in post #17358885 (external link)
The replies here have been very helpful.

And now that we've established "their place, their rules" what about the patrons?

What are theirs and my rights concerning video or photos where they happened to be in a shot?

Do they have any recourse? Can I get in any trouble? Would it be any different if they were standing outside the establishment? What if the parking lot is privately owned?

As for photos/videos, the best you can do is ask them what their policy is. They should really have one in place, since people use their phones, and all patrons should be subjected to the same rules, regardless of using a 4k video recorder, or an iphone. You can ask them for a written reason why you cannot use a go-pro and why people are allowed to use phones.

If the parking lot is privately owned, the same rules apply. It does not matter that it is inside or outside, private property is just that. Private. Therefore the rules apply. However, once you go onto "public property", say for example a road, or a footpath (that is public, not a private footpath), then you can take a photo or a video, and if anyone gives you any hassle, you can then bring out the "your private rules do not apply here" etc., or if the authorities come along, then you can do the old "well, i am in public and i am not doing anything illegal, are you charging me? no? I am on my way now etc."...


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Dec 31, 2014 09:24 |  #13

StanNJ1 wrote in post #17358784 (external link)
So I welcome your thoughts...........was I wrong for capturing video in a public place?

Well, you're wrong for thinking the employees' sex or age has anything to do with the issue. If it were a 50 year old guy, would you have acted differently? And your comment that the second person "appeared to be acting in a managerial capacity" is also quite strange.

It's a business, not a public place (as many have already explained), and they're not required to treat all customers in the same way. Unless you think they stopped you because you fall into some category covered by anti-discrimination law, they have the right to do what they did. Maybe asking before doing video of the whole place would have helped.




  
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qdrummer21
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Dec 31, 2014 09:29 |  #14

You would need to talk to a lawyer to get a specific answer.

The rule is does a reasonable expectation of privacy exist and does the photograph/video violate that expectation. The general consensus, for what little that's legally worth, is that for the type of video you captured a bowling alley is publically accessible and your videos would violate no reasonable expectation of privacy.

As for your questions:

I would say that in terms of you and the other patrons solely, recording video of the patrons is acceptable, recording their voices may not be depending on your state laws. I know in NH you need consent to record any person's voice in any way at any time, it's actually one of the strictest "wiretapping" laws in the US. I would also say that you would then be able to use the video for any non-commercial uses.

Assuming what I believe is correct, again you'd want to ask a lawyer not an Internet forum, there is no recourse because there is nothing wrong (assuming you have the property owner's permission).

Would these items change depending on the location (public parking lot, private parking lot, etc.)? That depends, is there a change in what would be considered as a reasonable expectation of privacy and whether you violated it? For the parking lots, I would think it wouldn't change but for other locals it might.




  
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StanNJ1
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Dec 31, 2014 10:43 |  #15

moose10101 wrote in post #17358899 (external link)
Well, you're wrong for thinking the employees' sex or age has anything to do with the issue. If it were a 50 year old guy, would you have acted differently? And your comment that the second person "appeared to be acting in a managerial capacity" is also quite strange.

Please tell me where it says that I claimed sex/age had anything to do with it. I merely included those details for the purposes of conveying my story. Also nothing strange for mentioning that she appeared to be a manager of some sort. Most comments here have been helpful and educational. Please keep it that way.


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GoPro in Bowling Alley leads to Confrontation
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