Rail the Elf (rpb3000) wrote in cleve_urban_exp,
Rail the Elf

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Randall Park Mall is camera shy!

Why is Randall Park Mall against people taking pictures there?

Here's why I ask:

Today I decided to head out to Randall Park Mall, for a number of reasons. For one, I needed to get a new memory card for my camera, and as it's the outdated SmartMedia variety, the Office Max across the street from the mall is the only place I've seen it. For two, there are two thrift stores in that plaza that I wanted to browse through (picked up a CD and a Cleveland version of Monopoly). For three, the Sears in the mall probably sells watches, and my girlfriend needs a new watch. For four, my girlfriend just got a couple of Japanese figurines known as "Pinkys" and started a blog for them, and as one of their adventures she wanted to document their trip to a mall. For five, I've been wanting to take general pictures of the malls around Cleveland for the simple fact that I'm into malls (especially dead malls, which Randall Park nearly ranks as).

I tell you all of this so you can see that I wasn't there simply for taking pictures. We also ate lunch there and planned on shopping there. Although that being said, I'm not sure being there simply to take pictures should be a crime either.

So when we got to the mall, I took some outside pictures, and then we headed in and I started taking pictures down the corridors and of things that caught my eye. We posed my girlfriend's Pinkys in front of various things like the fountain and gumball machines for their blog. We ate lunch in the food court before continuing on with the picture taking. Then "she" arrived.

"She" was a security guard, perhaps the chief of mall security by the variety of silver badges festooned upon her suit. I had just turned around from taking a picture of the Mall Walkers headquarters room because I found it interesting that the mall had something like that, when there she was leaning against the railing with a smug look upon her face. "Excuse me," she chirped in a falsely sweet voice. I was then to be told that taking pictures within the mall was illegal because it was private property. Then I was told to leave.

I complied of course. First off, I had never read up on photographer's rights until after I got home from this mess, so I had no basis with which to argue with her. Only the nagging feeling that there was something severely wrong with being kicked out of a mall for taking pictures! Especially when nothing, not even the code of conduct posted by the door, said that taking pictures was prohibited. I didn't think anything I was doing was wrong, nor can I still see why the mall would feel that they needed to kick me out for it.

So when I got home, I went straight to doing research. After finding out that it is in fact legal to take pictures of anything from any public place or publicly accessible place (including malls), I decided to call up the North Randall police and ask them if the mall security officer was allowed to do what she did. The lady on the line sympathized with me but informed me that as the mall is private property they were allowed to remove me for taking pictures. More research online confirmed that this was the case; if I had refused to leave they could've charged me with trespassing (although not with picture-taking, as it's not a crime.)

So that brings to mind a few questions: Is their any legislature anywhere that protects photographer's rights within a publicly-accessible private location? Is their anything I could've done to at least been able to finish my shopping (remember that I didn't know I was doing anything supposedly "wrong" until I was stopped, and I was immediately asked to leave without her even allowing me to explain myself.)? Why would Randall Park be concerned with picture-taking in the first place?

(sorry if you've seen this before, I've x-posted to a number of communities as I feel that even if nobody can answer my question, the word needs to be gotten out that Randall Park Mall is NOT ok with photography!)
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