Post by Chris W on Jan 10, 2007 12:30:54 GMT
Updated 20 February 2019
London Underground: Photography Rules
TfL have recently updated their Filming and Photography rules webpage, which now reads:
We get many requests from tourists, train enthusiasts, budding photographers and customers 'passing through' a station who may want to take photographs for their own personal use. We agree that this is acceptable, at the station's discretion, as long as additional camera equipment (including flash and tripods) is not used.
However, images clearly promoting the London Underground brand/logos must not be published or broadcast without our permission ahead of time. Also, people filming or taking photographs for their own purposes on TfL's network are responsible for ensuring they comply with the requirements of privacy and data protection legislation
LU own the intellectual property rights, copyright and also the trademark with regards the Underground Roundel. With this in mind, they are understandably protective of it and any misuse.
Reference to acts of parliament, such as the Data Protection Act, or from 25 May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulations [GDPR] can be double edged. It is easy for photographers to be ignorant of their responsibilities with regards legislation and what they can do with each image, as well as the potential for subjects captured to make over-reaching claims.
There is useful guidance to be found on the internet and I have included two quoted and referenced examples below:
Data Protection Issues For Photographers
By Rina Sond and Fasil Hussain [Longmores Solicitors]
The following circumstances may not require the written consent of the individual being photographed:
- If it is reasonable to assume that the person is aware that their photograph may be published and that neither the photograph itself nor the context in which it is used could cause any potential harm or distress to that person.
- Where the individual photographed is unrecognisable e.g. if they have their back to the camera, or they appear out of focus in the foreground of a photograph while the camera zooms in on object in the background.
BFI - Film London
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
The Data Protection Act 1998 is due to be replaced by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on 25 May 2018. According to one source I've found (Dotkumo), there are implications:
- The right to be informed (articles 13 and 14) You must be clear about the context of how the photos are being used. For example you could not use photos for social media if permission had only been given for printed brochures.
- The right to access (article 15) Individuals have the right to access their personal data (photos) on request, and receive confirmation regarding how these are being used.
- The right to erasure (article 17) Individuals have the right to request photos be removed from websites, social media or future versions of printed materials
TfL Conditions of Carriage
The Conditions of Carriage remained the same for many years, referring to photography in Section 4.5 of the document. The relevant regulations have now been moved to Section 2.5 (19 July 2019 until further notice), which now state:
• smoke or use an electronic cigarette (‘vape’)
• use bicycles, roller skates, roller blades, scooters, skateboards or hoverboards
• take flash photographs and/or use a tripod or other camera support equipment
• use emergency exits except in an emergency or when instructed to do so by our staff
On Underground trains, you must not use the interior doors between the carriages except in an emergency or when instructed to do so by our staff.
On our buses, you must only get on or off at official bus stops, except where we advertise the service as being ‘hail and ride’ when the driver will stop where it is safe to do so. There may also be special circumstances eg. when the bus is stuck in traffic, drivers may pull over at a safe place and let you get off. However, they will only do this where/when they judge it is safe to do so.
You may be prosecuted for disobeying these requirements.
The current range of TfL Conditions of Carriage documents for LU / Rail for London (TfL Rail/Overground) / DLR / Tramlink / Bus & Dial-A-Ride can be found HERE.
TfL Byelaws have also been occasionally misquoted by LU staff as a reason to block/prevent photography - photography itself is not even mentioned:
In addition Traffic Circulars (a document published weekly for LU staff regarding updates about operation standards) intermittently states:
Historically, the TfL website also used to feature advice in the tube common questions section of Do I need permission to film or take photographs on the tube?. It did state:
Commercial Photography and Filming Permits
The LU Film unit also provides Photography and Filming Permits for commercial filming, which typically require several weeks notice to be given.
There are two types of photography:
• Personal - personal non-profit use
• Commercial - you have been commissioned to capture video/images in return for payment.
Some photographers (for personal use) have cited examples of being confronted by station staff. Such incidents often seem to arise as a result of a lack of knowledge by either staff or the photographer so its important to clarify what you can and can't do with a camera. What you must NOT do is:
• Go outside areas available to the public.
• Use flash; if your camera has an auto flash facility you either MUST turn it off, or change your camera settings so that it doesn't unexpectedly activate
• Use tripods.
If a member of staff requests that you stop taking photographs (perhaps incorrectly advising that all photography is banned), providing you are sticking to these guidelines politely request that he or she speaks to his or her supervisor so that they can be made aware of the regulations on this subject! However please try to avoid sounding like a 'know it all' - that will not help your case!
In order to try to avoid any potential confrontation, an alternative may be to approach the on-duty Station Supervisor (if available) and ask for permission prior to taking any photos. If permission is not given, move on... there may be something happening that you are not aware of that has caused the Supervisor to make that decision. If permission is granted listen carefully to any directions the Supervisor might give with regard to what you can or cannot do and be aware of the importance not to use flash or a tripod as stipulated within the Conditions of Carriage document. Once you have finished its also important to you return to the Supervisor's office, thanking them for giving permission in the first place and also to make them aware that you have left the station.
To assist, I wrote an article which received input from high levels of management within TfL/LU so that the correct information was included. This was published in RAIL EXPRESS magazine (Edition 265: June 2018), which can be read HERE [Reproduced with kind permission of Morton's Media Group Ltd. No reproduction, including printing, permitted. Copyright of material retained by Mortons Media Group Ltd].
Mainline Railway Photography
Many LU photographers also have an interest in national railway (formally BR) services and rolling stock. The advice given is extremely simple when taking photos on mainline stations:
When you arrive at a station, please let the staff at the Network Rail Reception Desk know that you are there. This will keep station staff informed, so that they can go about their duties without concern about why you are there.
You may require a platform ticket to access platforms.
Photography and film at stations
You can take photographs at stations provided you do not sell them. For any commercial photography, prior permission must be sought.If you are filming for quite a while or might be using bulky equipment you should let our station staff know so that the reasons for your filming are clear.
You are not allowed to take photographs of security related equipment, such as CCTV cameras.Flash photography is not allowed at any time. It can distract train drivers and train despatch staff and so is potentially very dangerous.
Tripods should be avoided where possible. If you need to use a tripod you must speak to our station staff to ensure you are in a safe area.Please respect the fact that some people may not want to be photographed.
Railway Byelaws (Published 22 September 2011) can be found HERE.
British Transport Police (BTP)
Please speak to a member of station staff when you arrive so they are aware of your presence and what you are doing.Please be aware of your surroundings. We kindly ask you to take note of any unusual behaviour and activities and report anything suspicious to us or a member of staff.
You can take photographs at stations for personal use. For any commercial photography, you must seek prior permission from the appropriate train operator or Network Rail.
If you use a tripod, please ensure it doesn't obstruction other passengers, keep it away from platform edges and behind the yellow line.You're not allowed to use flash photography on platforms as it is a potential safety hazard. We also ask that you do not take photographs of security related equipment such as CCTV cameras.
Sadly, over the past few years, there have been numerous instances of enthusiasts being treated unfairly by officious railway staff, Police and security guards. Some notorious incidents have appeared in the press (Guardian , Evening Standard) as well as in railway publications. In RAIL magazine's Stop & Examine section (Issue 599 - August 27-September 9 2008), the editor, Nigel Harris, quoted a statement from a letter written to a reader by BTP Temporary Chief Inspector Nicholas Barker on behalf of the Chief Constable Ian Johnston:
Please bear in mind though, particularly at times of 'heightened security' that requests to stop taking photographs may be driven by genuine concerns. If this is the case it would be strongly recommend that you comply with this request.
Above all be honest, reasonable and use your common sense; if this is exercised, confrontation will be avoided.
Enthusiasts also need to behave responsibly !
Sadly a minority of railway enthusiasts are also prone to behaving inappropriately. For example, following its 10 year refit, the inaugural run of the 60103 Flying Scotsman on Thursday 25 February 2016 between London Kings Cross and York was delayed due to enthusiasts trespassing in order to capture photos (as reported in the Guardian as well as other publications).
Another notorious piece of footage captured on the East Anglia region during 2010, records the moment that an enthusiast and those around him were lucky to remain alive as he took footage of a steam special. The DMU travelling at speed in the opposite direction just misses him as he stands on the edge of a platform.
Examples such as these sadly tarnish the image of genuine enthusiasts, potentially giving the minority of 'jobsworth' railway staff, Police officers, PCSO or private security staff the excuse they need to treat all enthusiasts negatively and with disdain.
The Law And Photography
Do Police/security staff have the power to demand that a photographer delete photos, or can they even delete the images themselves?
Its very important that photographers KNOW THE LAW when it comes to photography. URBAN75, a much respected civil rights website states:
As an analogy, imagine the Police/security services finding a suspected terrorist 'safe-house' and destroying/deleting the contents of computer hard drives before guilt or innocence could be established by a court!!
Further useful links:
Techradar.com (Ultimate Guide) [UK]
I'm a Photographer, not a Terrorist [UK]
Reddit: Legal question: private entities cannot force me to delete photographs/video, correct? [UK]
I’m a Photographer, Not a Terrorist – How to Shoot in Public With Confidence [US] - A Post By: Elizabeth Halford
Hopefully I've covered just about everything regarding the rules about LU and railway photography in general. I do try to keep this page updated as many guidelines (e.g. LU Conditions of Carriage) are updated intermittently. If a link, for example, is no longer working or you want to update me regarding changes or photography issues, please do not hesitate to PM me.
The statements and comments above are not to be taken as legal advice. This post simply highlights the issues surrounding photography and attempts to inform every person who enjoys this hobby, so they can consider how a responsible photographer/railway enthusiast should behave.