Westfield Shopping Centre’s Policy on Photography

Below is the email sent to Westfield.
If you have any comments/similar experiences please let me know.

I am looking into this only because it is yet another incident where the rules on use of photography seem to be very confusing and illogical.

Dear Sir/Madam
On the 11 December 2010, I spent the evening shopping at Westfield followed by dinner and late film. 
All went very well until, whilst on our way to the cinema, my partner asked me to stop so he could take a quick picture of me with the Christmas tree like image in the background.
Just as we took the first photo, a security guard shouted at us to stop and came over to explain that we were not allowed to take photos.
Please find attached the photo taken for your reference.
When the security guard was asked to explain this as we have seen hundreds of people taking photos ever since the centre had opened, he notified us that we could not take the photos using a ‘Big’ camera.
The camera we were using was a canon, sold in Jessops within Westfield. It is not a professional camera and it was not being used with a tripod.
Further discussion with the security guard allowed us to understand the situation a little better in that the concern of people using ‘Big’ cameras was that the photos could be used for commercial purposes.
Before I make any comments on this incident, I am writing to you to enquire about your corporate policy on use of cameras at the Westfield Shopping Centre, your methods of notifying the public and rules regarding its enforcement.
This incident happened at approx 11pm on the 1st floor. I would also like you to know that it is my intention to ask for the CCTV coverage of my visit to Westfield, so that it can support any further action that I may decide.  May I therefore request at this stage that the CCTV data from the 11th Dec 2010 is not erased.
For your information, I am a regular visitor to the Westfield shopping centre and hope to continue to use it in the future.
I would like to thank you in advance for your cooperation in dealing with this matter.


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13 Responses to Westfield Shopping Centre’s Policy on Photography

  1. Jack Moor says:

    Another example of the overzelous actions of the ‘thought police’ I’d be interested to hear what Flickr members have to say about it. I remeber a couple of years ago there was quite a furore about taking pictures in public. It seems a while since anyone had a great deal to say about it but I you might pick up some interesting threads at http://www.flickr.com/groups/londinium/discuss/72157594575103467/?search=taking+photos+in+public+places
    By the way, you look very nice in the picture! Regards, Jack

  2. Scott H. says:

    I once was hired by Kingston Hospital to do shots of people at landmarks in Kingston. Wanted to do a simple shot on an escalator in the Bentall Centre – no tripod etc. Gave up because of bureaucracy in organising. Could have been done it without them knowing but didn’t. Their loss – free publicity.

  3. Baz says:

    As far as I am aware, there is no legal restriction on taking photographs in a public place. There have been many well publicised instances recently of the police attempting to stop people taking photographs of public buildings (“possible acts of terrorism”!). It transpired that they have no authority to stop you taking such photos, and have no authority to make you show the photos to them.

  4. Pingback: dustbury.com » Lens of demarcation

  5. Scott H. says:

    On the rules, well, Westfield is not technically a public place but private property. So, ignoring the bad publicity issue, they can ask anyone to leave for any reason they like. And you can go in and do anything you like until they ask you to stop.

    Big camera in Westfield. Flash mob World Naked Bike Ride around Westfield 🙂 Same rules apply. And they can make them up as they go along.

    But once having taken photos they cannot force you to show them or delete them. You could sell the photos to the press if they showed them manhandling you while throwing you out. But the issue gets less clear if you want to use them in a commercial way. Selling your photos to the press is not commercial – it’s editorial.

    My earlier point was about these people not understanding free publicity. Or the difference between good and bad free publicity!

  6. Ray says:

    It is crucial here to recognise that shopping malls like Westfield are not public places. They are private property so the owners are able basically to make whatever rules they like. They can exclude anyone they don’t like the look of or whose behaviour they deem inappropriate.

    As ever the general public seems completely unaware of the creeping enclosure of the commons that such buildings represent and the insidious social exclusion that goes with it. If you value the right to behave as you see fit, then choose instead to spend your money at restaurants and shops situated on proper public streets outside these “retail palaces.” In other words, use your high street or lose it!

    LadyG, far from wishing to go back, I think should take an oath never to set foot in the place again and encourage all your friends and fans to do likewise!

  7. Dave says:

    Very interesting, please post any reply that you receive.

  8. Pete says:

    Maybe you were wearing too many clothes. Try again in the summer. In the mean time, loved the snowy pics. Any more snow due? Love, love, love you Lady G.

  9. umacf24 says:

    If you insist on dressing as an anarchist, putting your feet on the seats, and generally thumbing your nose at them, OF COURSE they’re going to chuck you out. Terrorist.

  10. ladygod1va says:

    Actually Sir it is the top side of my boot that is left hovering above seat area, there is no evidence that even the top side, which is obviously not dirty or hard, is in contact with the seat surface, therefore unable to do any damage.
    As for the terrorist dress – I admit to being a member of the Internet Republic Atheists (IRA), who are at present at least not a banned organisation.

    I hope you will continue to support my point of view that we should not be made to feel like criminals when going about our normal life.

  11. Michael says:

    I’d post the photo on the flickr group “photography is not a crime”. And I might consider boycotting that horrid shopping centre.

  12. Jonnyfez says:

    I just got stopped by the Gestapo in Westfield Derby. They were incredibly rude. There are no signs up with their rules listed. Said I needed a pass to taken photos and when I asked where I get a pass said they didn’t Know.

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