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NH Supreme Court To Rule On Bigfoot Video Shoot In Public Park

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the and-further-your-honor-arrrgghhhhhghghg dept.

The Courts 166

alphadogg writes with this excerpt from the Boston Globe: "On a whim two years ago, performance artist Jonathan Doyle paraded around the bustling peak of New Hampshire's Mount Monadnock in a $40 Bigfoot costume from iParty. He thought his deadpan video interviews with hikers describing their Bigfoot sightings would be worth a few chuckles on YouTube, and might boost the profile of his other artwork. But the staff at Monadnock State Park found the Yeti act abominable. When Doyle returned with friends to shoot a sequel, the park manger quashed the production and ordered Doyle off the mountain, insisting he needed a state permit to film a movie in the park. Bigfoot stepped up with a lawsuit, alleging that the park's permit regulations are unconstitutional. The New Hampshire Supreme Court next month will hear Doyle's complaint. Though many elements of the dispute border on the absurd, the case raises some serious free speech issues."

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Limits are necessary, or are they? (5, Informative)

Great Big Bird (1751616) | more than 2 years ago | (#37812342)

There are two purposes I can see for a permit system: 1. It provides a framework to limit activities in the park, and 2. it can provide a source of funding for the park. I think in the case of the former, there are some activities one does not want done: such as building a structure. Other activities such as littering does not require the use of a permit, as normal laws quash that. In the case of the latter, it is entirely possible to just have an entrance fee for the park – if that is legal. Ultimately, I don't see a need for either need, as unsuitable excess will either happen rarely or can be punished/prevented through normal laws. Based on the text of the story, it seems to me that the park staff have no reason other than they don't like it. Which is not a valid reason in this context.

Re:Limits are necessary, or are they? (2)

excitedidiot (2442050) | more than 2 years ago | (#37812382)

They already charge $4 a person.

Re:Limits are necessary, or are they? (4, Insightful)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 2 years ago | (#37812524)

I think this is a case of the "Big boy rules" being applied to the little guy. You can't shoot a Hollywood movie in a national park without the proper permits, that's something that no-one wants to argue. However, the park isn't going to stop a family busting out a video camera and recording their holiday hike.

I think what's going on here is a few friends are having fun and doing something that falls into the latter category, but the park is (for no reason that I can fathom) against the idea of some pranksters having a good chuckle with the park patrons - so they apply the only rules that they can find to stop this happening, the rules meant for Hollywood.

If you ask me, this smells like a case of the park being douchebags, but I can't really see too much that anyone can do. You certainly don't want the next blockbuster film crew coming in and trashing a park just because the courts ruled that Jonathan and his friends could have a laugh.

If you ask me, Jonathan should find another park that isn't so full of themselves to record his sequel. "The Yeti Migration" comes to mind as a title...

Re:Limits are necessary, or are they? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37812704)

However, the park isn't going to stop a family busting out a video camera and recording their holiday hike.

Why not? They already arrest people for dancing around national monuments in Washington DC.

Re:Limits are necessary, or are they? (2)

Isaac Remuant (1891806) | more than 2 years ago | (#37813898)

Fun fact is that, those arrested were charged with "Demonstrating without a permit".

I still can't believe there such thing as a protesting permit and that so many people are fine with it.

Re:Limits are necessary, or are they? (5, Insightful)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 2 years ago | (#37813034)

Big movies are for profit, a commercial venture.

You can shoot home movies of your children in the park, which isn't for profit, and is perfectly fine and legal.

He is trying to do something closer to home movies, as he is posting on youtube, not requiring large equipment and space, and not requiring any part of the park to be off limits. If they want to require that he first notify them (so they know to not hunt for any reporting bigfeet) and require a small fee for dealing with it, ($10 range, since entry is only $4), then I wouldn't have an issue, as the fee would be in line with the cost to them, virtually nothing. Anything more is infringing on free speech, since it wouldn't be in proportion to the "disruption" itself.

Re:Limits are necessary, or are they? (3, Informative)

FauxReal (653820) | more than 2 years ago | (#37813426)

Try busting out a video camera anywhere in LA these days. A kid filming himself skateboarding will get chased off without a permit.

Re:Limits are necessary, or are they? (1)

kilodelta (843627) | more than 2 years ago | (#37813480)

The problem is, if Jonathan and his friends are successful that is precisely what will happen. The state legislators are going to do doublt time to craft a law that preserves the rights of the citizen, while limiting the access of another citizen namely the corporations.

Yes I know already, corporation as citizens is a legal fiction and that little problem needs to be solved post haste.

Re:Limits are necessary, or are they? (2)

russotto (537200) | more than 2 years ago | (#37813512)

I think this is a case of the "Big boy rules" being applied to the little guy

The point of the "big boy rules" is to ensure the little guy doesn't get a chance.

Re:Limits are necessary, or are they? (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#37813826)

Why can't a Hollywood movie be shot in a national park without permits? As long as the shoot isn't damaging the park, or interfering with other people's use of it (any more than those people's use interferes with anyone else's), what is the good reason to interfere with an American doing whatever they want in their park? Nobody's saying that anyone has the right to trash a public park, regardless of whether they're recording something or not.

There is a valid basis for the public perhaps charging a royalty fee from revenue gained from any recording made in the park. Maybe 1% of gross receipts * the percentage of the release's duration (or area for non-time recordings like pictures) containing recordings of the park, with a cap at the annual budget of the park the year it was recorded.

Re:Limits are necessary, or are they? (1)

catmistake (814204) | more than 2 years ago | (#37813962)

You certainly don't want the next blockbuster film crew coming in and trashing a park just because the courts ruled that Jonathan and his friends could have a laugh.

I absolutely think everyone WOULD want the next blockbuster film crew coming in and... throwing money around like they usually do. Big movie productions have big money, and they spread it around wherever they work. Best thing that could possibly ever happen to that park, or any park, is the next big blockbuster gets shot there. They'll pay several times the going rate for the cleanup. Maybe they'll even build a nice, luxurious lodge for the film, and then just give it to the park when their done. That's how Hollywood rolls.

Re:Limits are necessary, or are they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37812770)

They charge $4 a person to park. Since a lot of the mountain is on private land though, there are many alternate places to access the park.

I've rarely seen any kind of "public servant" that wasn't a martinet.

Re:Limits are necessary, or are they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37812480)

Yes limits are necessary. Without any limits on filming in National Parks, you would end up with Hollywood moving major productions into the parks and abusing them. They would leave a complete mess and make the parks unusable for real people.

Re:Limits are necessary, or are they? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37812542)

Having permits for large productions is reasonable, but from what I gather, this wasn't a large production and it didn't place any significant burden on the park officials or the park itself.

If you missed it, there's a $100 fee, 30 day waiting period and a requirement of having $2 million in coverage in case something goes wrong. Which is disproportionate to the type of enterprise that involves two people and a consumer grade camcorder.

Re:Limits are necessary, or are they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37812600)

The only thing I see as a problem is the 2 million dollar coverage, that does seem a bit excessive. Though if it's covered by a readily affordable insurance plan, I wouldn't necessarily have a problem with it.

Maybe if they set it up on a sliding scale depending on production size.

Re:Limits are necessary, or are they? (3, Insightful)

robbyb20 (651479) | more than 2 years ago | (#37812644)

The way i look at it(im a photographer), is that the permit IS necessary. The argument that its a small production and like a family pulling out a video camera and nothing like a large production is that they are intentionally filming this for monetary reasons and IF they arent, how can they prove that? The 2 million policy isnt absurd at all, all parks and buildings in IL, especially chicago, require this. I have liability coverage up to 3mil and its only $600 a year. Pretty reasonable for what it covers(theft, damage, injury, TRAVEL). If youve got a crew of people, and this is going to be posted online or used anywhere for public viewing, you have to follow the rules. No ifs, ands or buts.

Re:Limits are necessary, or are they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37812744)

$600 a year is cheap for a professional, or high-end amateur (i.e. semi-professional) but that is beyond excessive for a low end amateur who is not trying to make any money.

As for the "if you have a crew of people": two people is not a crew, and yet something like this production could easily be done with only two people.

Also, your argument implies that a family who takes a video and because something amusing happens puts it up on the web should then be barred from ever returning to the park with a camera, since they have proven they are in it for monetary reasons.

Re:Limits are necessary, or are they? (1)

TheRealGrogan (1660825) | more than 2 years ago | (#37812752)

As a "photographer" (I assume professional) you are just trying to safe guard your livelihood and want others to have their hands tied by a bunch of rules, just like big industry that seeks to protect itself.

You have no credibility.

Re:Limits are necessary, or are they? (1)

KhazadDum (790345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37813162)

Well, one should always "follow the money."

A corollary to that is "Look at those who have to pay -- they'll most want to use you as a load balancer for their costs".

Re:Limits are necessary, or are they? (4, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#37812918)

The question here shouldn't be whether it's commercial in nature or not. The only question is whether it is detrimental to other people using the park. It's clear why large production would be that - it's due to the sheer amount of people involved, not because of the mere act of pointing a camera somewhere.

Re:Limits are necessary, or are they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37812698)

It would be even easier if the system only required a permit for projects that have more than 5 people.

Re:Limits are necessary, or are they? (2)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 2 years ago | (#37812612)

Yes, and don't forget the MPEG license

Re:Limits are necessary, or are they? (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#37813832)

Why can't the park just monitor any activity of any size that might damage the park, and prohibit that? What's recording the park got to do with anything that needs stopping?

Re:Limits are necessary, or are they? (5, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | more than 2 years ago | (#37812500)

How about permits for potentially disruptive activities in order to maintain public order? Do you have a right to dress up as a large creature or do other deceptive things to disturb other people's enjoyment of the park?

Re:Limits are necessary, or are they? (3, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37812512)

Yes, how one dresses is by and large covered by freedom of expression. There are a few limits in that you do generally need to be clothed, but it's been settled case law for years that you can legitimately wear an American flag as a shirt, I don't see why dressing like a Sasquatch would be any different.

Re:Limits are necessary, or are they? (1, Insightful)

fatphil (181876) | more than 2 years ago | (#37812640)

Just your look is expression. However, how you interact with others is not. In the UK, you could be guilty of assault if your demeanor shocked people.

Re:Limits are necessary, or are they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37812958)

That's stupid. You have a right to free speech. You have a right to look away. But you do not have a right to not be offended by someone exercising their rights. I swear to god one of these days I'm going to go around telling everyone I see that the Holocaust was fiction just to prove my point.

Re:Limits are necessary, or are they? (0)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37813102)

Except this case is in the US, also, the UK is hardly a bastion of freedom. We have issues in the US, but you guys seem to manage to three or four up us whenever we slide away from freedom.

Re:Limits are necessary, or are they? (1)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 2 years ago | (#37813850)

Good thing this is taking place in a sane country where shocking people is not, never has been a crime.

Re:Limits are necessary, or are they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37812680)

The sasquatch is naked and therefor he should be fined for indecent exposure!

Re:Limits are necessary, or are they? (0)

mysidia (191772) | more than 2 years ago | (#37813232)

There are a few limits in that you do generally need to be clothed

There are quite a few more limits than that. One of those limits is you can't legally tell a lie or create a deception that harms anyone else, if they have a reasonable basis for relying upon that thing, and you financially benefit from the deception... the term is called 'fraud', and in this case the fraud is representing yourself as big foot.

Another... example... If you go down the street wearing a sock over your head, carrying a baseball bat on you, you are liable to be arrested for disorderly conduct, and you can get a nice jail sentence for having done that.

Your right to free expression has legal limits as soon as they involve interactions with other people that go beyond communication of a message.

Attempting to deceive people into thinking you are a threat or monstrous animal is not merely a harmless "expression" or communication.

You could hold up a sign without costume that says "I'm big foot", all day, or other adornments that are not deceptive, now that would be an expression.

Re:Limits are necessary, or are they? (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37813754)

Wow, nice trolling there. The Sasquatch doesn't exist, it's been pretty reliably proven that Sasquatch doesn't exist, there are limitations to what one can be held liable for. And ultimately, pretending to be a mythical animal is hardly grounds for fraud charges whether or not there's been any commercial gain. Now, if they're claiming to have a Sasquatch and try to sell it that's different. But ultimately, if people are so stupid as to be afraid of a Sasquatch that you're filming, that's hardly the responsibility or the fault of the people involved.

We don't generally place limits on free speech based upon how a few cretins react to it, unless they happen to be on the Supreme Court.

In this case it's at most a hoax, and even that is stretching the definition quite a bit.

Re:Limits are necessary, or are they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37813794)

So how did seeing a Bigfoot and then realizing it was a prank harm those people? Even in the hypothetical case that someone gets a heart attack, I don't see how this could be construed as fraud. Fraud would mean that if you scare someone by pointing a gun at them you are only liable if the gun was fake, which would be absurd.

Re:Limits are necessary, or are they? (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#37813872)

If these people actually tried to convince some unwitting park goers that they were a bigfoot attacking them, that would be assault, not fraud. There are plenty of laws protecting people from assault, in a park or not.

If you go down the street with a sock over your head and a baseball bat in your hand, but you don't threaten anyone, you are not liable to be arrested for disorderly conduct. Except maybe in some crazy police state town, which the US has plenty of. Which doesn't make the charge legit. Plenty of people are arrested for disorderly conduct for no reason except the cops or some local idiot dislikes their race, or their age, or their perceived political affiliation. It's a BS charge, and defending it is BS.

Speech is free beyond merely communication of a message. You're free to persuade people with speech so long as you don't lie or intimidate harm. The limits actually stand beyond even persuasion, into argument and more.

In fact, you're making statements of legal certainty that are obviously wrong. You should stop doing exactly what you exaggerate in this discussion: telling a lie or deception that harms people, by convincing them they're less free than they are.

Re:Limits are necessary, or are they? (1)

migla (1099771) | more than 2 years ago | (#37812690)

How about permits for potentially disruptive activities in order to maintain public order? Do you have a right to dress up as a large creature or do other deceptive things to disturb other people's enjoyment of the park?

Where to draw the line... This is not as blatantly disruptive and dangerous as yelling "fire" in a crowded theatre, but maybe something akin to yelling "water" in a more sparsely populated theatre?

I'm leaning towards that it should be allowed to dress up as bigfoot. That should be the issue. Getting at it from the filming with the camcorder perspective is not nice, imo.

Re:Limits are necessary, or are they? (4, Funny)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#37813246)

Perhaps it's akin to yelling "movie" in a fire house.

Re:Limits are necessary, or are they? (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#37813848)

No, you don't have a right to disturb other people's enjoyment of the park. But dressing up in a bigfoot costume while your friends shoot pictures of you acting out scenes with another friend doesn't disturb other people's enjoyment. Any more than a similar number of people building a fire and playing ukeleles might disturb those bigfoot actors' enjoyment.

These people each have the same right to enjoying the park. It's big enough for them all to share. That one group is recording it, for home movies, nonprofit Internet publication, or major theatrical release and hundreds of $millions in profit is totally irrelevant. It's up to you what you make of your day in the park, so long as you don't take someone else's day.

Re:Limits are necessary, or are they? (1)

h00manist (800926) | more than 2 years ago | (#37813124)

Removing all possible limits = adding all possible freedoms.

But the constitution says we *already* have all these rights. IANAL. But I'm pretty sure constitutional rights take priority over private and public property policies - especially public. That includes the needs of maintenance for the parks and profit for anyone else. I don't see how "license to shoot a movie" nowadays is different from "license to use any electronic device capable of filming - phones, camcorders, hidden mcro-cameras. Or "license to use a costume".

Unless you are shooting a movie with a huge crew, which is damaging and intefering with normal park activity, I don't see any other practical reasons to demand a "licence to shoot a movie".

What I want is a nice camera hidden in my baseball cap.

Re:Limits are necessary, or are they? (2)

cyn1c77 (928549) | more than 2 years ago | (#37813646)

There are two purposes I can see for a permit system:

1. It provides a framework to limit activities in the park, and
2. it can provide a source of funding for the park.

I think in the case of the former, there are some activities one does not want done: such as building a structure. Other activities such as littering does not require the use of a permit, as normal laws quash that.

In the case of the latter, it is entirely possible to just have an entrance fee for the park – if that is legal.

Ultimately, I don't see a need for either need, as unsuitable excess will either happen rarely or can be punished/prevented through normal laws.

Based on the text of the story, it seems to me that the park staff have no reason other than they don't like it. Which is not a valid reason in this context.

Maybe the park doesn't want a big monster running around scaring the public?

What if I dress up as a grizzly bear and try to scare the shit out of you during a nice family picnic? What if you shoot me to defend yourself and I sue the park service?

People go to state and federal parks to get away from civilization and to enjoy nature, not to get harassed by wanna-be actors.

Re:Limits are necessary, or are they? (2)

MorePower (581188) | more than 2 years ago | (#37813702)

If that's true though, then there should be no talk about permits. If "Bigfoot's" activities actually constitute harassment or if there is a legitimate public safety issue, then the Park should be flat out saying "no you can't do that".

By making it a "you don't have a permit" issue, it really smacks of the park rangers don't like it, but it hasn't actually crossed the line.

I mean, are they saying you CAN harass/endanger people as long as you do get a permit?

Maybe the problem with bigfoot is that he's blurry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37812356)

- Mitch Hedberg

This is huge. (5, Interesting)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 2 years ago | (#37812364)

If the government wins on this one, they'll get support for making the same arguments about filming on the public highways or public sidewalks.

 

Re:This is huge. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37812466)

If the government wins on this one, and we the people roll over and take it, we may have voluntarily handed over the last scrap of what remained of the Constitution for incineration.

Only one outcome should be viewed as remotely acceptable; if this is upheld, the only way to reclaim our free speech rights may be through expression by lead. Unfortunately.

Re:This is huge. (2)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#37813892)

Or voting. Or suing.

But you gun fetishists are always waving around your guns - in words. When your actual rights were stolen for the last decade and more, you just waved your gun words around defending the thieves. You're never going to defend your rights with guns. By the time you did, the highly armed police state you rooted for will just take them away from you. Probably prying them from your cold, dead hands.

Re:This is huge. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37812470)

Which is why they chose something as absurd as Bigfoot for the test case. If you defend this man's right to film, then clearly you are a lunatic who believes in Bigfoot.

Re:This is huge. (5, Informative)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#37812508)

It's not really the same, that kind of thing is already illegal.....if you get on a freeway with your camera gear and block traffic for three hours while you film something, then yeah, the police are going to come bother you (you could probably do it anyway if you have a permit, much like this guy could if he had a permit).

The purpose of the regulation is mentioned in the article:

The permit regulations are for “mitigating the impacts of commercial events’’ in state parks, and “protecting visitors from unwelcome or unwarranted interference, annoyance, or danger,’’ among other considerations, the state wrote in its brief.

Do you really want a Geico lizard harassing you while you are hiking around Yellowstone? Probably not. What this guy was doing could be interpreted as shameless self-promotion and harassing people.

I don't know if he was harassing people or not. I wasn't there, and the article doesn't give much info. Maybe he was, maybe the permit requirements are reasonable, the court needs to decide that.

The point is, even if the court lets this stand, it's can't be used as a precedent to limit us any more than we already are (and really, I don't want people blocking traffic on the freeway for their pet youtube videos).

Re:This is huge. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37812656)


if you get on a freeway with your camera gear and block traffic for three hours while you film something then yeah, the police are going to come bother you

I didn't know that filming always involved blocking traffic. Are you aware that movie cameras are now commonly in cell phones? (Amazingly enough, they're no longer enormous room sized contraptions that people haul around on flatbed trucks). You're probably right though. Someone sitting on the side of the road calming filming birds is extremely disruptive to the society, and should involve the police.

Do you really want a Geico lizard harassing you while you are hiking around Yellowstone? Probably not. What this guy was doing could be interpreted as shameless self-promotion and harassing people.

You're absolutely right. After all, laws are always interpreted to be applied to the most sensitive person. Why, just the other day some guy harassed me about if I had a light for his cigarette! "Hey, got a light?" he said. Then he walked off when I said no. The nerve! What, I'm supposed to carry around a lighter just for THIS guy? I promptly called the police and complained about being pan-handled in public.

Re:This is huge. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37812862)

The point is, even if the court lets this stand, it's can't be used as a precedent to limit us any more than we already are (and really, I don't want people blocking traffic on the freeway for their pet youtube videos).

But think of the funny animals [youtube.com] !!!

Re:This is huge. (2)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#37812928)

if you get on a freeway with your camera gear and block traffic for three hours while you film something, then yeah, the police are going to come bother you/quote.

Yes, but they'll do so because you're blocking traffic, not because you use a camera while doing so.

Re:This is huge. (4, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#37812960)

Right, so the question is, when is commercial activity enough to require a permit? I've never been to New Hampshire, but I assume there were plenty of other people who had cameras who were fine. It was the extra stuff this guy was doing that caused the confrontation with the park rangers.

Re:This is huge. (1)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 2 years ago | (#37813684)

Isn't New Hampshire the state where all the libertarians wanted to move, so as to create something akin to their utopia? Did enough move there to influence the state legislature? No?

Re:This is huge. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37813894)

Where is the right to not be annoyed ( which many people wrongly consider harassment) spelled out?

Re:This is huge. (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#37813932)

You don't have a right to not be annoyed, but you don't have a right to annoy people either. This being a democracy, when enough people get together and decide something is too annoying and shouldn't be allowed, we make a law against it.

Living with a few people in a family is hard. Living with a lot of people in a country is really hard. Democracy is the way we've decided to do it, but sometimes people don't get what they want.

Re:This is huge. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37812576)

You do realise that permits exist for a reason, don't you? It is because filming can be highly disruptive and destructive. Permits exist to limit when and where filming can be done in a public space so that one user doesn't prevent other people from using that space and (in the case of parks) to prevent them from destroying property. (I've lived in cities where independent and studio films are produced, and even the licensed ones can be obnoxiously disruptive.)

That being said, if the filming is non-disruptive/non-destructive or creates only minor annoyances for park users, then parks staff should be use their discretion and let them film permit or no permit.

Re:This is huge. (2)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#37813366)

And that's the crux of it. For some reason, the park officials taking the rules for the sort of production that involves a few million in professional gear, a small army of people and several trucks and applying them to two guys and a consumer camcorder.

Re:This is huge. (1, Insightful)

dbcad7 (771464) | more than 2 years ago | (#37812648)

Actually.. this is a state park.. requires a fee to enter.. Given that, I am inclined to agree those that have paid to enter should expect some policing.. In my mind, requiring a fee changes it's status from public access to private paid access.. The issue here is not about filming in a public place.. in fact I am certain they could have filmed all day long.. even in a Bigfoot suit.. the issue was whether the filming was harassing other guests.. Let's say they did the same thing even without filming it.. or let's say they (without their Bigfoot suit) just hid behind trees on a trail and jumped out to scare people to see their reaction.. In either case film or no film, you would expect them to be kicked out.. It was nice of them to state their intent before doing it.. and reasonable of the park to refuse to let them.

Re:This is huge. (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#37813908)

Why does a fee charged by the government, representing the public that owns the park, change the status from public access to private access?

The issue is clearly the filming. The park police aren't charging these people with assault or any other act except filming without a permit. By definition the issue is the filming.

Re:This is huge. (1)

adenied (120700) | more than 2 years ago | (#37812956)

Except that most jurisdictions do require a permit to film for commercial purposes.

Re:This is huge. (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37813156)

That's typically because of the disruption. Things like closing down roads and the ensuring that there's adequate security, not to mention just the matter of ensuring that the film crew is in contact with the relevant department. Most cities want to have film crews come to their city and permitting is a way of reducing the possibility of mishaps or miscommunications happening.

Just shooting next to a major street or in a park typically necessitates that the public not use the right of way for a period in time. I remember a couple years back the local park was closed for a week end for a film crew.

Re:This is huge. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37813086)

Ranger Prick

Why was the headline changed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37812390)

My initial impression from the headline was that someone really thought they saw bigfoot and a judge was somehow ruling about this. I almost skipped reading the summary because of this.

Ths original submission title, 'Bigfoot' takes free speech fight to NG high court, says a lot more about what is actually happening. Why was it changed?

My name is Jacob Stein. I'm from the American Fede (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37812400)

My name is Jacob Stein. I'm from the American Federation of Music. I've been sent to see if you gentlemen are carrying your permits.

S'pose we ain't got no union cards? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37812520)

S'pose we ain't got no union cards and we go in there and start playing anyway. Now what you gonna do about that? You gonna stop us...Stein? You're gonna look pretty funny trying to eat corn on the cob with no fucking teeth.

Great Moments in American Journalism (2)

TheABomb (180342) | more than 2 years ago | (#37812450)

"I am maintaining the integrity of being real" (TFA quote) is exactly what Bigfoot needs to be telling more reporters.

Re:Great Moments in American Journalism (4, Funny)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#37812606)

Well, it's better than Bigfoot telling reporters that he's quaternion.

It's all pretty silly (2)

RazorSharp (1418697) | more than 2 years ago | (#37812478)

I understand needing a permit if lots of heavy equipment needs to be dragged in and set up - like when they lay track to follow something with the camera - but to prohibit a person from using just video cameras is absurd. Shooting a movie shouldn't be an issue unless it could have an effect on the ecosystem or would require some form of construction.

A lot of times a policy is set up with good intentions but isn't specific enough so it's used as an excuse for something else. This is a good example of that. So is the U.S. Constitution.

Re:It's all pretty silly (1)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#37812646)

Shooting a movie shouldn't be an issue unless it could have an effect on the ecosystem or would require some form of construction.

I certainly agree there, though there are times when that would apply to a regular person using a video camera - there are plenty of extremely fragile ecosystems. However, in the case where an ecosystem is that fragile, conservation laws aught to be in effect and permits shouldn't exist. If there are permits, then the ecosystem is declared as not being fragile since the authorities are claiming that there can be cases when large film crews, support trucks, lighting and the inevitable trash that results are perfectly acceptable.

So either NH is confessing to being incompetent at conservation or it's abusing the permit system. It can't not be one of those, but in the interests of fairness we shouldn't assume it's the latter. After all, the scientific method suggests we should not blame on malice that which can be explained equally well by stupidity (the simpler, and more common, cause).

Re:It's all pretty silly (1)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 2 years ago | (#37812778)

You forgot one case, which is when the production prevents or places significant limits on the use of the area by other people. If doing filming that will effectively block a road (even if it is just people standing in the street) then a permit should be required. Similarly if no construction occurred, but the production consisted of a large number of people, making a section of the park too crowed for other people.

This production has minimal impact on others using the park, so it case also would not apply.

Is he going to make money off the film? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37812488)

If he is, the state may very well have a legitimate argument for requiring a permit to film.

The decision to require the permit may have been fast-tracked because the officials didn't like the Bigfoot act, but you can bet the state will use this argument.

That doesn't mean the state will win the case, of course-- if the artist successfully proves that his efforts aren't for commercial gain, I can't see the supreme court siding with the state on this argument.

Free speech? (2, Insightful)

ToasterMonkey (467067) | more than 2 years ago | (#37812502)

insisting he needed a state permit to film a movie in the park. Bigfoot stepped up with a lawsuit, alleging that the park's permit regulations are unconstitutional. The New Hampshire Supreme Court next month will hear Doyle's complaint. Though many elements of the dispute border on the absurd, the case raises some serious free speech issues."

What does filming location have to do with free speech?

Re:Free speech? (4, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37812574)

Because restricting free speech to one particular block in the middle of Topeka would be way too easy a way of curtailing freedom of expression. And they could do the same thing for freedom of assembly or right to bear arms.

The right to free speech necessitates the ability to engage in it everywhere one can. Having these zones like at the airport is counter the purpose of having the freedom in the first place.

Re:Free speech? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37813214)

"Free Speech Zones" already exist: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_speech_zone

Re:Free speech? (2)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 2 years ago | (#37812578)

State owned land, restrictions on expression, you do the math. Speech isn't just 'speech'

Re:Free speech? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37812914)

Live Free or Die!

everyone is now a movie maker (1)

RichMan (8097) | more than 2 years ago | (#37812536)

If there is a ban on film making everyone with a cellphone or camera is going to have to leave them behind.
Pretty much everyone walking around these days is capable of making a movie. Just take out your cell phone and ....

The law as written needs revising for current technology. His monkey suit video is really no different than everyones "I am here" holiday video that gets posted onto facebook.

This is not a moral battle but a legal one (2)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#37812590)

They can either film in the park without permission or not, but that has nothing to do with free speech.

Re:This is not a moral battle but a legal one (1)

outsider007 (115534) | more than 2 years ago | (#37812682)

It is if they stopped him based on content. The article wasn't too clear on that.

Re:This is not a moral battle but a legal one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37813138)

Agreed. Liberty is the issue.

Re:This is not a moral battle but a legal one (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37813168)

That's not how that has been interpreted in the past. Speech isn't just literal speech, it applies to other creative means of communication. You're free to communicate whatever you want to communicate in the US unless the communication involves a very small number of illegal activities such as fraud or libel, otherwise the state can't interfere. In this case, I can't imagine what compelling interest that state could possibly have that would necessitate them from putting prohibitive strings on permission for 2 or 3 people to film in a park.

In this case, filming isn't any different than standing on a soap box in the park, something else that isn't literally speech, but is pretty damn important if you're going to have freedom of speech that's of any value.

Re:This is not a moral battle but a legal one (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#37813250)

This isn't about what he did but that he did it in a place that may not be considered as public. Also, I don't see how filming is a form of communication, as communication requires two parties that communicate with each other, and in this case there is no second party, nor any transfer of data going on. This is not speech.

Re:This is not a moral battle but a legal one (4, Insightful)

sconeu (64226) | more than 2 years ago | (#37813544)

How is a *STATE PARK* not considered a public place?

Re:This is not a moral battle but a legal one (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37813778)

The previous episode was taped, and subsequently was posted to Youtube. Free speech isn't limited to areas of the country with internet access. By your logic the government could prevent a person from doing a political ad because it wasn't being broadcast live.

permits sometimes needed in national parks (5, Informative)

NaturePhotog (317732) | more than 2 years ago | (#37812626)

I don't know about the NH state parks, but the National Park Service spells out pretty clearly [nps.gov] when permits are needed, under the general category "Commercial Filming and Still Photography Permits". Basically if it's a location not normally accessible to the public; you bring in models, sets or props; or the park service would need additional resources to monitor the activity. He's bringing in a costume, and he's doing it to advertise his other artwork, so it would probably require a permit in a national park. But small scale, there are no onerous fees: 1 - 2 people, camera & tripod only $0/day. The system is set up to keep advertisers and corporations from abusing the parks for their own uses. In the article, it sounds pretty similar for the NH state parks, except the fee is $100/day. As a photographer (who spends time in CA state parks and national parks), it doesn't sound to me like a question of free speech because they didn't deny him access, they just told him to follow the existing rules and get a necessary permit.

Re:permits sometimes needed in national parks (1)

jroysdon (201893) | more than 2 years ago | (#37812802)

I'm guessing getting a $2M insurance bond wouldn't be terribly expensive either. Not that they are one-in-the-same, but a $2M Professional Liability policy only ran me $312/year for a number of years. He only needs it to be good for a day, so I'm betting it wouldn't be more than a few hundred, if that.

Save up the money and do it right and follow all the rules, or go home and film it. Just because it is a public park doesn't mean it is a free ride for your own promotional videos. Further, what if every high school and junior college wants to start filming in the park? No real problem, except they need to be policed and insure they are cleaning up, etc., and that costs money, which is why the rules are there in the first place.

Re:permits sometimes needed in national parks (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37813172)

That's a lot of money for most folks, especially when you consider that it's likely that the insurance and permitting is going to cost more than the rest of the things being used for the production.

Re:permits sometimes needed in national parks (5, Informative)

flimflammer (956759) | more than 2 years ago | (#37812868)

The $100 fee is misleading. He would also need to take out a $2 million insurance bond which would have cost him several hundred dollars more on top of it. They may not have physically denied him access by telling him to get the permit, but the price tag for entry was prohibitively high when all is said and done and that's the problem. They seemed to apply the permit tied to bigger things to this guy in a costume with a consumer grade camera.

The way I've read into this seems to imply they just didn't like what he was doing the first time and hid behind the permit business this time as a way to make him go away. I don't think I'd spend $700/800+ just to film some Bigfoot footage for YouTube.

Re:permits sometimes needed in national parks (1)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 2 years ago | (#37813500)

A concise explanation of the gray area, with citation of the national park service standard that clearly resulted from significant consideration of how to balance the regulation. An outstanding post. Thanks!

A public nuisance issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37812694)

Dressing up like a beast and scaring people... is this really ok?

What if someone dressed up like a suicide bomber and ran into a mall with a suit of fake TNT strapped to my chest, screaming "Jihad!!"?

yes, it is ok. (1)

the_fat_kid (1094399) | more than 2 years ago | (#37813108)

then it would be free speech.
It would be distasteful, to most people, but that is why it's PROTECTED.
and are we really worried about a terrorist attack from Bigfoot?
it's a f*cking costume. you know, like the little kids wear to go house to house demanding candy.
just because you don't like it doesn't mean it's not art.
Just because you're not laughing doesn't mean it's not funny.

Re:A public nuisance issue (2)

0111 1110 (518466) | more than 2 years ago | (#37813596)

What if someone dressed up like a monkey and went to a Halloween party? You would advocate putting them in prison? So you want to outlaw Halloween and any sort of costumes. Could you and all of your like minded friends please move to North Korea where you belong?

Scaring someone is not against the law, and for good reason. Who would get to decide what is 'scary' and what is not anyway? You? Are black people scary? People with facial burns? Ugly people in general? The Commandant of the Ministry of Fear may have different ideas about what is scary than you do. I have an idea. Why don't we just make it illegal to be afraid? Nip the problem in the bud.

Nature and Wilderness (1)

qualityassurancedept (2469696) | more than 2 years ago | (#37812776)

Of course, in the wilderness, where there is no Human Authority prevailing, you can do whatever you want. Unfortunately, Nature is not the same thing as wilderness. It would be unfortunate if people were allowed to sully Nature with wild activities like walking around in bigfoot costumes. Had he and his friends chosen to walk around new york city dressed up in big foot costumes, no one would have even noted it.

Not freedom of speech. (0)

ChrisMaple (607946) | more than 2 years ago | (#37812796)

Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are explicitly protected by the US Constitution. Certain other freedoms are protected either explicitly or implicitly. Freedom to make a movie is close enough to press and speech to be considered explicitly constitutionally protected, but there are other things that should be considered here. There's more involved in making a film than running a movie camera and people talking: people are doing things, i.e. for lack of a better word, engaged in expression. Freedom of expression is not the same as freedom of speech, does not have the same justifications for being protected, and is not explicitly protected by the US Constitution.

What should be considered here is not the act of filming, but what the people who are being filmed are doing. This is a reasonable concern for the people who run the Monadnock park.

For a little extra local data: Mount Monadnock is a 2000 foot climb to a bald peak; there is no road to the top. It is the second most hiked mountain in the world. Due to the heavy use of its trails and the ecological sensitivity of some features near the peak, dogs are prohibited from the park (and rightly so). Monadnock is unique in that regard in NH.

In my opinion, NH is overreacting by prohibiting these people from filming. However, the filmmakers may be acting like jerks and creating a public nuisance, in which case NH is justified in preventing them from carrying on. In any case, it's clear that the filmmakers are not contributing to political discourse, which is the justification for freedom of speech and press.

Eh... (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37812846)

Frankly, this only seems like an "important free speech issue" in one respect: the (quite likely) possibility that the park management are using selective enforcement of (possibly outdated) regulations against people who merely annoy them.

The notion that certain things that incidentally happen to be speech can be curtailed or limited because they are also hazardous or deeply disruptive has been more or less unproblematic as long as the notion of freedom of speech has been a matter of political possibility. However, such limitations do offer a potentially hazardous temptation for anti-speech selective enforcement(Is running around a dense residential district at 3am and shouting your head off legitimately "disturbance of the peace"? Yeah. Does that mean that it would be OK for police to ignore some disturbers of the peace and arrest those who say unpopular things? Not So Much.)

If this case turns out to be the park staff using a permitting system written back when cameras were barely man-portable and 'filming' implied a trail of havoc to selectively quash the weirdos while ignoring That Vacationing Camcorder Asshole, whose life only has meaning if they glimpse it continuously through a viewfinder, they need a smacking down.
If it turns out that the permit requirements are applied uniformly, then it becomes the much less weighty question of whether or not the decreasing size and disruptiveness of cameras makes them due for a rewrite or not...

Live Free... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37813006)

Oh the irony! The state motto is "Live Free or Die"!

Re:Live Free... (1)

the_fat_kid (1094399) | more than 2 years ago | (#37813116)

I think that the Park's department is hoping that they will take the latter choice...

Non-Commercial v. Commercial Intent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37813052)

Basically, if Doyle's movie-shoot was a non-commercial venture the New Hampshire laws for commercial venture movie-shoot usages of the park facilities would not apply. Doyle would be using the park as a park visitor, Doyle and his friends would be usig the park as park visitors. Since they wanted to meet other park visitors their usage would not require reservation of space for an event usage.

Commercial law and 'public law' (the law that applies to members of the public not engaged in commercial enterprise) are different. Although public (servant) entities would like to commercialize everything, they cannot, legally (though they can if they can [illegally] force the people to accept [illegal] domination).

If Doyle pays his crew and plans to market the film result he would be commercial. If he doesn't pay and plans to show his film for free, whether on youtube or his home vcr, he, and crew, are in the same category as bird-watchers and wildlife spotters who photograph or film birds and animals, or trees, shrubs, flowers, etc.

Permits are OK if they are "Shall Issue" (4, Insightful)

nicoleb_x (1571029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37813080)

I have no problem with permits as long as the the Parks have a "Shall Issue" rule so that you get a permit as long as you meet the minimum requirements.

ACLU thrilled fighting for Bigfoot's free speech (3, Interesting)

leftie (667677) | more than 2 years ago | (#37813288)

ACLU has to get discouraged being stuck defending the rights of assholes like Fred Phelps and Westboro Baptist screaming hate at gay soldiers' funerals. Fighting for Bigfoot going to be like a fun frolic in the woods for them.

Bigfoot != Yeti (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37813410)

Bigfeet are not yetis. Conflating the two just to shoe-horn the word 'abominable' into the text is lame.

Ok (-1, Flamebait)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#37813470)

So this guy does something personal and no one says anything, now he is doing something commercial and is going to throw a hissy over a what 20$ permit?

Thanks for wasting our tax dollars on your horse shit lame ass dumb fuck stunt dipshit.

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