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Location: Sitting inside a TV truck, Somewhere, more then likely in the Southeastern region, United States

I am a grouchy, bald headed old fart filled with opinions and not the least bit shy about sharing them.

Monday, July 02, 2007

One more stupid law we don't need...

Fayetteville, NC - I stumbled across this via Slashdot and it really got me to thinking.

Some tourists, amateur photographers, even would-be filmmakers hoping to make it big on YouTube could soon be forced to obtain a city permit and $1 million in liability insurance before taking pictures or filming on city property, including sidewalks.

New rules being considered by the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting would require any group of two or more people who want to use a camera in a single public location for more than a half hour to get a city permit and insurance.

The same requirements would apply to any group of five or more people who plan to use a tripod in a public location for more than 10 minutes, including the time it takes to set up the equipment.

Julianne Cho, assistant commissioner of the film office, said the rules were not intended to apply to families on vacation or amateur filmmakers or photographers.

Nevertheless, the New York Civil Liberties Union says the proposed rules, as strictly interpreted, could have that effect. The group also warns that the rules set the stage for selective and perhaps discriminatory enforcement by police.

“These rules will apply to a huge range of casual photography and filming, including tourists taking snapshots and people making short videos for YouTube,” said Christopher Dunn, the group’s associate legal director.

The New York Times: City May Seek Permit and Insurance for Many Kinds of Public Photography

That's just not right. There are already way to many police officers, security guards and just plain folk that think they can stop you from taking pictures from public streets, sidewalks and on public property.*

Now the City of New York wants to codify a permit law that "is not intended" to apply to your basic tourist, but we all know that it will. As vague as the rules are it will simply be used as an excuse to hassle and harass anyone with a camera.

What is it with government on every level always thinking they need another law to solve problems that do not exist?

*Before anyone starts taking this farther then intended, public property is just that: property owned by the public. Shopping malls, amusement parks, theaters, etc are private property that invites the public in. However while you are on their property, you have to obey their rules. So don't go taking pictures inside your local mall and start arguing public property law with a security troll unless you want to be banned from the mall and possibly arrested.

- 30 -

For the saddest epitaph which can be carved in memory of a vanished freedom is that it was lost because its possessors failed to stretch forth a saving hand while there was still time.
- George Sutherland

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