Dear Urban Diplomat: Are stores allowed to ban customers from taking photos?

Dear Urban Diplomat: Are stores allowed to ban customers from taking photos?

Dear Urban Diplomat: Photobombed (Image: photonka)
 

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I was recently at a high-end industrial design store in the Distillery District and snapped a pic of a funky knife holder. An employee barked at me, saying customers aren’t allowed to take photos and pointing out the multiple signs stating as much. Can they do that? What if I’d refused to comply?
—Photobombed, Ajax

Some stores in the Distillery ban photos at the request of their designers, who fear their unique objets will be copied by counterfeiters. That the items are usually displayed on stores’ websites renders the policy somewhat fatuous, but whatever. I presume you’re not a counterfeiter. If you are, well, you should stop. In either case, the storeowner can legally kick you out, and police can, depending on how far you take it, levy a fine of up to $2,000. If that doesn’t dissuade you, ask yourself this: your social media followers probably already get hourly updates on your food, kids, commute, moods, vacations and the weather. Do they really need to know about retail items you have no plans to buy?

Send your questions to the Urban Diplomat at urbandiplomat@torontolife.com