I was taking some photos at a public market over the weekend. For my last photo, I stopped to make an image of a few vendors and the amazing neon light around their booths. One of the vendors was a photographer selling his photos. I was easily 20+ feet away and shooting a relatively wide angle and multiple exposures, as my goal was an HDR shot of the dynamic lighting. Anyway, on my last shutter click the photographer started shouting at me, “stop taking pictures of my photos!”, “that’s copyright infringement!”, “get the hell out of here!”, and finally my personal favorite, “I will have you thrown out of here!”.
Needless to say, everyone within earshot was shocked including me. I was so far away from this guy that his reaction made no sense. I can see his point if I was really close and focusing on one of his images, but I was after the overall scene… not trying to copy someone else's work. That’s just not me.
My questions is simple… at 20+ feet away, was I in the wrong? Is this copyright infringement?
I apologized to him three times while he kept going off on me. By the third apology my attitude was beginning to flip. I walked away without tossing gas onto the fire with a comment of my own.
update My location was the Pike Place Market in Seattle, WA. It's a famous landmark here in Seattle and there are probably more camera abound than actual shoppers.