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Apr24
No Photographs in Supermarkets
Seth Godin talks about being told he couldn't take pictures inside of a grocery store without corporate approval.  This is strange on a couple of levels.

First, as Seth said, flickerizing your shopping experience for your friends is great publicity. 

But on a common-sense level, what is the problem with taking photos?  Afraid that the competition is photographing your shelf layout?  Photos being taken of safety hazards?

It reminds me of the policy at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle.  Not a movie theatre, but a stage theatre, and they dress up the place like a fairyland at Christmas, complete with upsidedown christmas trees suspended from the ceiling of the lobby.  I was on the lobby mezzanine, before the show, when two ladies asked me to take their picture with one of the Christmas trees behind them.  Before I could all three of us were nearly thrown out by ushers.  Apparently not only can you not take photos during the play (which is total reasonable) but you can't even photograph yourself and a friend in the lobby.  We managed to not get thrown out by pointing out that there are no signs that say no photography in the lobby (just during the show).

It doesn't really make sense to me.  Anyone have some reasoning for this policy?

3 Comments/Trackbacks




Basically it boils down to rights for the image. What might you do with the image? If you want it for your own personal home use, they probably wouldn't (really) care, but how can they be sure that's your motive? There's no special badge that people carry around saying "I'm just your neighborhood shutterbug and I like taking pictures of everything I see." Rather, they, being business folk, are bound to protect their business, even in ways that may seem unreasonable at first. What if you were taking pictures for stock photography or for entering in a contest? The stock photography of the produce section might wind up in someone else's grocery store ad. They'd rightly get upset over that!

Owners of stuff, be it tangeable goods or the layout of those goods, have a right to restrict photographs of them for such reasons. I think Biltmore Estate goes to the limit of reasonableness with their restrictions: no photos indoors and photos of the exterior are only for personal use.

http://www.biltmore.com/plan/tips/insider_photo.shtml

That way they sell more picture books, you can take pictures of your family out front, and if you want a picture for your encyclopedia article on the house, ou have to ask them for their favorite shot.

Looking for more details? Here's a great rundown on model release forms which helps to frame the puzzle:

http://www.danheller.com/model-release.html

Thanks for the comprehensive answer, Jim. It make sense the way you explained it.

Fascinating. I had no idea this was an international thing. I've seen this in two places in Vietnam, where I live, and I was very surprised. They have signs indicating photography is banned. I only noticed these after I was stopped by security for taking photos.

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