Photography Law in Washington State
April 9, 2013 8:32 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a listing of all laws and statutes relating to photography in Washington State, especially King County/Seattle.

There is a notice posted in Seattle's Department of Executive Administration front office that says no photos, audio, or video recording is allowed. I'm trying to find if there's a legal basis behind this notice. Are there parts of city offices where it is legal and parts where it isn't to photograph a city worker or the office itself?
posted by artof.mulata to Law & Government (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: [Yes, I know you aren't my lawyer or a lawyer, but if you have an answer or know where to look, then thank you in advance!]
posted by artof.mulata at 8:33 PM on April 9, 2013

Assuming you are talking about a sign in a building owned by the city, that applies to what people can do in that building, you may not be looking for the right thing. The owners of property can often restrict what visitors do on that property. That's true even if the government owns the property. So there wouldn't necessarily need to be a law about cameras or photographs specifically-- it would be a question of the government's general authority to set rules about what happens on its own property.

That isn't to say that this is an open and shut case (though I suspect it is). I could imagine complications. But if you want to know whether there's a legal basis behind this notice, you shouldn't be looking for laws about photography, you should be looking for laws about government buildings.
posted by willbaude at 9:44 PM on April 9, 2013

Response by poster: That's an interesting take, willbaude. Given how convoluted these sorts of things can be I'm wondering if a call to the city would answer the question or if an attorney would be needed to ferret out the possible solution.
posted by artof.mulata at 9:50 PM on April 9, 2013

You may have already investigated this, but might be a useful resource.
posted by blaneyphoto at 10:02 PM on April 9, 2013

Response by poster: Yeah blaneyphoto, I did check there, but found nothing directly pertaining to what I'm looking for. Thanks, though!
posted by artof.mulata at 10:28 PM on April 9, 2013

Yep, I figured that was an obvious one. Sorry I don't have something more specifically helpful to offer.
posted by blaneyphoto at 10:55 PM on April 9, 2013

The ACLU has a good fact sheet.
posted by benbenson at 5:32 AM on April 10, 2013

WA is a two party consent state. Here's the Revised Code.
posted by Ideefixe at 7:06 AM on April 10, 2013

Response by poster: Thank you benbenson for the ACLU doc which I'm saving for other purposes!

Ideefixe, the Revised Code site wonderful, but trying to navigate it for what I'm looking for is seemingly impossible. It feels more likely that my answer is going to be found in conversation with a city or private attorney. Now I'm more curious than ever.
posted by artof.mulata at 5:25 PM on April 10, 2013

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