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Can a private business stop you from taking photos on a downtown street?

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A fascinating story about a DC suburb leased an entire city street to a private developer who now is trying to control the sidewalks as if they're private property.

From Marc Fisher at the Washington Post:
Chip Py, a longtime resident of Silver Spring, recently returned to an old interest in photography. While wandering through downtown after eating lunch there last week, he took out his camera and started to take shots of the contrast between the tops of the office buildings and the sparkling blue sky.

Within seconds, a private security guard was at Py's side, informing him that picture-taking is not permitted, no explanation given.

"I am on a city street, in a public place," Py replied. "Taking pictures is a right that I have, protected by the First Amendment."

The guard sent Py to the management office of the Peterson Cos., the developer that built the new downtown. There, marketing official Stacy Horan told Py that although Ellsworth Drive -- where many of the downtown's shops and eateries are located -- may look like a public street, it is actually treated as private property, controlled by Peterson.
The contractor added:
Peterson's motives go beyond security. "Like any business, Downtown Silver Spring's management maintains the right to approve any videotaping, filming or photography taking place on the property," Smith's statement reads. "It is in our best interest to understand how footage and photos are going to be used."

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