/ Landscape photographers, CROW Act and commercial activity

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richprideaux - on 09 Oct 2016
An idle musing for a Sunday evening - has anybody found themselves in bother for landscape photography (or other commercial photography) on CROW Act area land? It's not permitted under the act as far as I can tell, so is it just one of those things like small-scale commercial foraging that are largely ignored? Is it just a civil issue, and the landowners don't care?

No agenda, it's just a thought that popped into my head this afternoon.

Howard J - on 10 Oct 2016
In reply to richprideaux:

Filming and photography are listed among the commercial activities which are not permitted by the Act. However in most cases the landowner probably won't be bothered, but it depends on the scale of the activity. The exclusions are probably intended for larger-scale shoots; not only could these interfere with other lawful use of the land, but the landowner could expect to make a charge.

Taking photos for personal use while exercising CRoW rights would probably be acceptable as ancillary to the principal activity. A single photographer taking the same photos for commercial use will almost certainly get away with it. However you will not have a legal right to be on the land and the landowner could, if he wished, ask you to leave.

Unless you are planning a large-scale shoot with a full crew and teams of models then I wouldn't worry too much.
richprideaux - on 10 Oct 2016
In reply to Howard J:

I'm not planning anything in particular (other than the work I occasionally get involved with on shoots already) but it does seem to be largely ignored by most landowners. The notable exception seems to be the National Trust, based on the experience of the photographer who PM'd me (you know who you are! ).

I wonder if a landowner could pursue a commercial landscape photographer for part of the proceeds of shots taken on their land? Or would they have to show that the photographer was depriving them of something, i.e. they normally charge for a licence for commercial photography?
garycrocker - on 11 Oct 2016
In reply to richprideaux: I live in the Black Mountains and landscape images, including mine, taken on and of CROW land are for sale in countless local businesses and have been for years. As Howard J says, I don't think you would ever get into any bother for this type of activity.

keith-ratcliffe on 11 Oct 2016
In reply to richprideaux:
I wonder if the companies that run landscape photography courses fall foul of this. I have been on several and not been aware of any permissions being sought.
richprideaux - on 11 Oct 2016
In reply to keith-ratcliffe:

I suppose it depends on which bit of land you are on. Forestry Commission/NRW won't care, most small farmers won't either but bigger estates might. The National Trust are probably the most likely to chase somebody for commercial photography on their land, but I suspect they can't be bothered or don't yet care.

So, it appears that it hasn't yet happened, at least with publicly available information on it.
ashaughnessy - on 12 Oct 2016
In reply to richprideaux:

As regards the National Trust, they have a policy here - http://www.nationaltrustimages.org.uk/photographic-access - which I didn't know about. I don't know how enforceable this is in law.

There was also this - https://www.thebmc.co.uk/national-trust-activity-licence-update

Howard J - on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to ashaughnessy:

I don't see why it shouldn't be enforceable. It is their land, when you go onto it you do so on their terms. Even where it is CRoW land, those rights don't extend to commercial activities.

Where they might have difficulty is their attempt to control the use of images. They could do this only where the photo was taken on their land, but not if the photographer was on a public right of way.
manicpb on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to richprideaux:
Forestry Commission do care, however only if you take the effort to ask permission. I worked with them for 12 months and the most common requests was for photography on their mountain bike trails with the intent to sell. Many others went ahead without seeking consent and I never heard of any follow ups. We also had the gadget show and other film crews use the locations who obviously went through the right channels.

When I was leaving that job role they were in the process of contacting mountain bike course providers to ask them to contribute to the up keep of the trails...and rightly so in my opinion.
Post edited at 13:33
Howard J - on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to keith-ratcliffe:

> I wonder if the companies that run landscape photography courses fall foul of this. I have been on several and not been aware of any permissions being sought.

I'm not sure how you would know. They would probably have obtained written permission in advance, and if these are regular events they probably have an ongoing arrangement with the landowner. They wouldn't rely on knocking on a farmer's door on the day to ask if it's OK.

I am a land and property manager by profession, and sometimes get requests from TV and film companies which we usually grant in return for a fee. It is less usual to get requests for still photography, but if someone were planning a large shoot which might impact on other users then I would certainly expect them to seek permission, and we might stop them if we came across them. However someone just taking landscape shots, provided they weren't obstructing other users, probably wouldn't concern me even if they turned out to be professionals.

Other landowners may of course take a different view, just as they do over access for climbing.
richprideaux - on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to Howard J and others:

Thanks for all the input folks. I suppose I should reiterate that I'm not asking for a specific project or reason, just that I wondered if anybody had ever actually been contacted by a landowner for commercial photography on their land. There will be some shots that could only have been taken from a certain area (Cwm Idwal for example, most of the popular spots/shots will put your tripod on NT land).

I've done some work as location scout and/or location safety for different shoots and productions over the years, as well as being involved in front of the camera too, and used to going through the process of securing permissions for commercial productions, and it's interesting how the fees vary from place to place - the size of production seems to make little difference most of the time.

A couple of stories:

- For a catalogue shoot for an outdoor clothing retailer the location selected was a popular ridge in Snowdonia. The ridge was also the border between two landowners - a local farmer and a bigger estate. The estate want £1k per day, the farmer asked if he could get a new fleece from them. The shoot went ahead, slightly off to the side of the ridge (by about a footstep...)

- For another shoot for a German jewellery company a patch of private woodland near Llangollen was chosen by the art director for the company. They wanted male and female nude models for the shoot, all tastefully done. The landowner said he would waive the fee as long as he could attend...

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