Fund Raiser for Carlos Miller

We are extremely proud of the continuous efforts Carlos makes to both protect his and all our rights to take pictures and video in public. Carlos does a great job of testing those individuals that are suppose to know the law and constitution of their respective country which they swore to uphold and defend.

ZAPRAG started as an idea 3 years ago after I had yet another run in with a police officer that had no idea of my rights as a journalist, let alone a citizen to take pictures of him in public performing his duties. Like Carlos and many of you, I knew more about my rights than the officer did when it came to taking pictures.

It does seem that the issues with police and over-zealous security guards in the USA is a great deal more of an issue than it is here in Canada, but it does still happen here as well, just not as much.

The main point to ZAPRAG products is defend our rights to take pictures/video in public and then to educate those individuals confronting us. I’ve used the Photographers Rights Lens Cloths and Cards with success when being confronted. The response has been one of mostly puzzlement by the person I’m trying to make understand my rights to shoot in public. Usually they take the cloth/card, depending on which one I show them, read it then hand it back. On occasion it has been thrown to the ground, or back at me and a couple of individuals still want to argue that they don’t want their picture taken but eventually they stopped.

There have been a couple of occasions when a police officer told me it was illegal to take their picture on duty and had to be handed the cloth/card and after reading it apologized then asked politely if would mind not taking their picture. So far I haven’t had any more issues with people grabbing my camera gear, trying to make me delete images, or harassing me once they have been educated, which is way better than having my gear damaged, grabbed or taken by the police because they didn’t understand the law.

I have not had the opportunity to see how these cloths would effect a case in a court room. If  would be interesting to see what would happen if someone presented one of our products to a police officer and he/she still violated the rights of the photographer and arrested them for no reason and the case saw the light of a court room.

I am an avid fan and follower of Carlos, and hope that with our help we can help raise enough money to pay his court costs. A significant percentage of the profits from each product sold in this campaign go directly to helping Carlos. So please visit our site and read about our products.

We would also love to hear your input and stories of you using these products in public and the results of each encounter. Submit your stories to our zaprag facebook page or write up the incident and we’ll publish it on our blog.

Thanks for the support.

Keith Robertson

Founder – ZAPRAG

Watch Carlos Millers Video on our Fund Raising Effort

Carlos Miller Fund Raiser Video

Who done it?

There has been much controversy, in Vancouver BC, following the post NHL game riots, about the public posting of photographs and the invitation to identify those in the images. Vancouver Police Want Your Riot Video and Photos dominated the headlines. These images appear on a variety of social media sites, including facebook where they could be ‘tagged’ and are being used in some instances to charge individuals, and make them responsible for their behavior.

But, what are the legal implications? Have we have seen Big Brother, and he is us? Some sources indicated that facial recognition software is being rolled out that will be able to automatically tag/identify photos. Those we thought couldn’t be identified in our ‘general’  photos, do they now require a ‘photo release’? Individuals have lost jobs because of what they’ve posted on social media, there may be legal implications and now they can face serious consequences as well for what others may post. And what if they are wrongly tagged to a post? That is not imply that the guilty should not be punished, but where does it leave the photographer who was once able to share the unidentified “street photograph”?  It’s a post that definitely requires a follow-up.

Freedom of Photographers

Photographers are granted a great deal of freedom as to where they can take images. Their use of these images however often remains restricted, especially for commercial use.

Commercial photo restrictions abound, even in Canada. Shutterstock provides an extensive list of restrictions as part of a listing of images it doesn’t accept for commercial sale. They include places and items, Scienceworld, the Chrysler Building, stuffed animals and toys, even cellphones. The list is extensive. So, although you may be entitled to take photos, often times you are still restricted in your use of photos.

Know your rights, and educate those that don’t !

Pushing the Envelope

On occasion, photographers should be harassed for taking photos! Sometimes there are actually rules, and as long as they are legal, one would expect you to respect them.

Happened on this site,, open to those who like to ‘push the envelope’ as they say. It’s a spot where you’re encouraged to upload those photos you shouldn’t have taken!

“The site is for those interested in pushing the envelope and is intended to be fun and a bit risqué, not for the boring and ordinary! One thing that we don’t want though is you breaking the law, deliberately trespassing or infringing someone else’s rights.”

Do you know your rights as a photographer? Are you willing to stand up for them or out to violate them and taking joy in not getting caught?

The Pariah Photographer – Part III

In the United States of America the Rights and Freedoms of its citizens are very similar to the Rights and Freedoms of citizens in Canada. The greatest difference between Canada and the USA isn’t in each countries laws, or rights and freedoms, but in the much greater number of incidents involving photographers and the authorities. It seems to me that there is a very large disconnect in the Police Officers understanding of the Law and the Bill of Rights in the USA, especially when it comes to the Rights & Freedoms of photographers in public.

With the inception of the Patriot Act, there seems to be more paranoia around terrorist activities and people with cameras taking pictures in public. There are increasing accounts of police officers and other law enforcement agencies harassing photographers for taking pictures in public, arresting them on concocted charges, confiscating their camera gear, erasing their memory cards, only to release them later after they have stepped all over their constitutional rights. In a very large number of these arrests in which charges are filed and court dates are set, the end result is that all charges are dropped and sadly nothing happens to the officer or police department for stepping all over the photographers rights and freedoms.

In some states, Maryland, Illinois, and Massachusetts for example, the authorities are charging individuals of illegal wire tapping for taking video of police arrests, police incidents or just individual discussions with members of the public during a conversation with the officer. These states, along with others, do have the two person consent rule, where all conversations require the consent of both parties to be recorded. The use of this law to arrest photographers and videographers seems like a very big stretch when it comes to the rights and freedoms of those being arrested, not to mention the 1st and 4th amendment rights all Americans are guaranteed under the “Bill of Rights” they seem to be ignoring by their actions.

This is just one type of incident that plagues photographers on our streets. We’ll be discussing many more of the issues in the coming months. Tell us your stories! We learn from each other.

Know your rights and educate those that don’t!

Commercial Film and Photography in Parks Canada Western Arctic Field

Commercial Film and Photography Application Guidelines for Aulavik, Ivvavik and Tuktut Nogait National Parks – The Parks Canada Western Arctic Field Unit

The national parks of Parks Canada’s Western Arctic Field Unit include Aulavik, Ivvavik and Tuktut Nogait National Parks. These parks span some of the most spectacular and ecologically significant areas of the western Arctic, offering a vast range of unparalleled film and photographic opportunities. In the interest of protecting the park’s resources while ensuring that visitor experiences and the rights of land claim beneficiaries are not affected, commercial filming and photographic activities are subject to certain restrictions and special considerations.

To carry out commercial filming or photography in the national parks of the western Arctic, an application must be submitted to Parks Canada a minimum of 4 months prior to activities. If approved, a Film/Photography Permit will be issued which outlines conditions and supplementary requirements associated with the production. The following information will assist in the preparation of a film/photography application.

Read more and access information on the application for permit process as well as the restrictions that apply.

Know your rights and educate those that don’t!

The Decline of Photographers Rights

Will things in Canada come to this, or are they already on the slide?

Do you know your rights in Canada as a photographer? Are you willing to stand up for them?

Know your rights and educate those that don’t!

Photography Club Fundraising Opportunity

Spotted a few fellow photogs sharing our Canadian ZapRag at the Vancouver 125 Anniversary Celebration stage! Our thanks to Ron Sombilon Gallery for sharing the photo on Facebook and Flickr.

Reprinted with permission: Ron Sombilon Gallery

 As spring approaches and the weather improves, more and more photographers will be heading out to the streets. Participants in photowalks will increase and shutters will be clicking. What better time to educate photographers, and the public, about the rights of photographers.

To do our part, we thought we would make a special offer to photography clubs interested in purchasing our photographers rights products for their organization, or as a fundraiser to resell among/to their members. Prices will vary slightly depending on where your located (shipping will vary) and the minimal number  of units will be 25 per lot but can be mixed zapcards and/or rags and can be a mix of Canadian and U.S. items if you prefer.

Our products have been reviewed by legal councel in each respective country. The lens cleaning cloths are great for professional gear, simple iphone, or your sun glasses. No need to worry about your reference information becoming torn, wrinkled or wet. It’s easy carry and useful. We also offer laminated informational cards on a lanyard. See our products page for specifics.

Drop our order desk an email with your specifics (location, specific items and quantities and we can give you pricing specifics for your area.

Know your rights and educate those that don’t!

The Pariah Photographer – Part II

It’s quite amusing the lengths that some individuals will go to in trying to get the photographers to delete an image…for example:

The Bully Method

“Stop taking my pictures and delete them or I’m going to kick your ass” or “Because I said you can’t take my picture” or “It’s illegal to take my picture if I say you can’t” (my police officer favorite) or my all time personal favorite, “Stop taking my picture and delete them…or I’ll call the police, you’re breaking the law you can’t take my picture without my permission.” I would love to go on listing the reasons I have heard as to why I can’t take someone’s picture, but I’ll leave that for another day.

The truth of the matter is that people in general, including Police Officers, Security Guards, property owners and members of the public, do not know or understand the Rights and Freedoms we all share in our respective countries to take pictures in public. In Canada we are fortunate when it comes to how people are treated by persons in positions of authority i.e. Police Officers. Over the years I have had a lot of great experiences dealing with our police forces here in Canada. Now I’m not saying it’s been perfect, there’s always an individual that steps over their authority and gives the others a bad name, and yes, on occasion a lot more than one.

An example of this was at the G20 and G8 meetings in Ontario, Canada in 2010. A lot of individuals had their civil rights stepped on during those protests, but on the other side of the coin there were a large number of individuals that went out of their way to break the law and cause damage to other people’s property, just to incite others to violence.

There were incidents of legitimate media and photographers being manhandled and arrested while taking pictures and reporting on the protests. The individuals were properly credentialed, they had their identification from their news organizations around their necks and some even had accreditation ID given them from the G8/G20 organizers. This didn’t stop the police from arresting them, legitimate media, and placing them in jail for doing their job even though they had accreditation. It will be interesting to see how many law suits eventually come from those incidents in Toronto.

Living in Canada, events like these seem to be the exception to the rule, but the less unacceptable. Fortunately for photographers in Canada there doesn’t seem to be the large number of issues that are prevalent in other countries. Now granted there are incidents all over the country, and from time to time someone is wrongfully arrested or detained for taking pictures in public, but these incidents happen on a much less frequent basis than in other nations.

Share your Canadian stories, G8/G20 or other. We learn from each other.

Know your rights and educate those that don’t!

Photos During Delivery Banned

Many families will be disappointed and somewhat upset to learn that an increasing number of hospitals have been banning the use of video cameras when it comes to deliveries.

In late 2010, Meritus Medical Center in the US was just one of the many hospitals to adopt this policy which prohibits both still photography as well as video recording of any kind when it comes to deliveries until five minutes after the woman has given birth.

The claim is that cameras distract the doctors and makes it more difficult for them to do their jobs and bring children safely into the world. The prohibition of video recording and still photography is also for the sake of patient privacy. (to the best of my knowledge the patient has had control of who is in the delivery room and what’s happening – until now at least, when their right to have it recorded has been removed). Meritus Medical Center hospital’s policy is that if everything is okay, and the child and mother are healthy, videotaping as well as the snapping of photos is then allowed. This does however eliminate recording the birth, those critical images and expressions, never to be captured.

Although this is not the policy in every hospital across the US, it is catching on. Is it patient safety or fear of lawsuits in instances where the outcome is less than ideal? In Canada where the hospital system is more ‘publicly funded’ can they make this same ruling? Shouldn’t the decision be determined by the delivering mom? Share your thoughts.

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