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Permit May Be Required For Public Photography in NYC

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the land-of-the-free dept.

Privacy 301

G4Cube passed us a link to a New York Times article about a troubling development in public photography rights. New York City is considering requiring a permit for photographers, film-makers, and even possibly tourists who want to shoot imagery in the Big Apple. "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."

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Absurd (5, Interesting)

BWJones (18351) | more than 7 years ago | (#19697819)

Oh great. Just what we need are more incidents like this [utah.edu] and this [thomashawk.com] . Who gets to define "amateur"? Or how about what is really going to happen is simply giving the police more latitude in harassing photographers who are operating from open, public spaces already paid for in taxes by the taxpayer? From this text Mr. Dunn suggested that the city deliberately kept the language vague, and that as a result police would have broad discretion in enforcing the rules. I'd say that it looks like it. Also, from the article 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. Why a tripod? Does that make for a professional? If so, I must be a triple professional, because I have three tripods. ;-) Seriously though, this is the sort of law that sounds like it was put together over a drinking game by a couple of high school students, but in reality it has been assembled by a group of mid level government bureaucrats who obviously have not thought very far down the road as to the possible implications, legal or otherwise. For instance, The draft rules say the office could take up to 30 days to issue a permit, but Ms. Cho said she expected that most would be issued within 24 hours. leading me to wonder: Will the film student, of which there are many in NYC have to now go and apply for a permit and a $1 million dollar insurance policy for every single class assignment? What about the news agencies who might have to report on breaking stories? Will they be breaking the law covering the news?

This is simply absurd and as a photographer, I will *not* be traveling into NYC if this proposed policy becomes law.

Re:Absurd (2, Insightful)

VirusEqualsVeryYes (981719) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698501)

the city deliberately kept the language vague, and that as a result police would have broad discretion in enforcing the rules.
Yeah. Because that always works out so well...

These politicians... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19698953)

...need a kick in the face.

'Nuff said.

Re:Absurd (4, Insightful)

BakaHoushi (786009) | more than 7 years ago | (#19699193)

Don't worry. When they pass the new legislation that will allow police officers to shoot anyone they don't like on sight, they will only use it to protect us from the terrorists* lurking around every corner right now.

This has been a message from the US Department of Fuck the Constitution.

*Not a guarantee, if you don't like it, move to Canada you pinko commie.

Drudge Report always beats /. to the story (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19698513)

Nice try /., but once again you're a couple of days late to the party.

Dear London "bombers" (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19698535)

Your "car bombs" were about as scary as a newborn kitten. What sort of idiot can't even get a car full of petrol and propone to ignite, anyway? That's not even amateur; it's embarrassing. I hope you're not "home grown", because that sort of ineptitude just makes us all look bad.

Who gets to define "amateur"? (4, Insightful)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698563)

The IRS.

Re:Absurd (0, Flamebait)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698565)

This is simply absurd and as a photographer, I will *not* be traveling into NYC if this proposed policy becomes law.
Self-righteous indignation is fun, huh? I'm certain that NYC will *not* miss your tourism dollars.

Re:Absurd (4, Insightful)

Elemenope (905108) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698625)

What's the difference between 'self-righteous indignation' and simply 'righteous indignation'? After all, the only ways a person can really register their displeasure is with either action or speech, and both proceed from the self. How is a photographer supposed to be indignant about photography rules except through photography (or a boycott thereof)? Not everyone is an eloquent writer or public speaker (re:write to your congresscritter! and such sundry crappy advice), and it seems to me appropriate that a person act or withhold action through their medium of skill and choice. That a person is personally affronted by a rule that affects their preferred activity is no call to impugn the indignation as purely self-interested; that stems from a darkly cynical view of human nature that is both basically unsupportable by evidence and nihilistic in general. I hate nihilism; it's exhausting and yet isn't even an ethos. ;)

NYC, being a large tourist-industrial city, *will* miss tourism dollars, esp. if other photographers/filmographers are as 'self-righteously indignant' as GP. Like many large cities with burgeoning service-oriented industry, NYC's economy relies heavily on visiting dollars.

On a different note, I am indignant (and I dislike photography passionately) because I happen to believe that the public space should be publicly accessible in all ways that preserve the public order (and a few that don't). We all walk around with two cameras (if we are lucky) every damn day, whose resolution and video-motion capabilities are truly impressive; their only fault is a bad I/O system and a universally incompatible codec. People in public should be able to share what they see in a format that is export-friendly, and I can for myself find no good argument why that should not be so.

Re:Absurd (4, Insightful)

Just because I'm an (847583) | more than 7 years ago | (#19699051)

The more corrupt the republic, the more numerous the laws. -Tacitus

Re:Absurd (4, Insightful)

Garrett Fox (970174) | more than 7 years ago | (#19699077)

What seems to be happening is surveillance by the government, while surveillance by the people themselves is outlawed as a violation of privacy or national security. (See Brin's The Transparent Society.)

Re:Absurd (2, Insightful)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698731)

Self-righteous indignation is fun, huh? I'm certain that NYC will *not* miss your tourism dollars.
If NYC itself took such a haughty attitude as you do, and constantly annoyed tourists with petty bureaucratic rules, they almost certainly *would* see a drop in tourist income. Though whether tourism is a significant source of income to the city is questionable- I certainly don't know. If it's only a minor source, they might not consider it worth their while to change their stance.

FWIW, the same could be said for the United States as a whole- I don't know whether tourism is a major enough part of the economy for them to worry about it. My understanding is that in the UK, those convicted- or even just arrested- for the most minor (e.g. traffic) offenses now require a visa to enter the US. In many cases this can mean a long journey across the UK (with one or more possible overnight stays) to a particular centre to obtain the visa. I can't remember what sort of interview- if any- is required, nor whether the granting of the visa is almost guaranteed if the offense is trivial.

A family where one of the parents has a minor conviction for (e.g.) speeding may consider that the major inconvenience and uncertainty this throws into their holiday plans makes it worthwhile to consider going elsewhere.

Personally, I'd just stop the convicted person from hiring a car or driving in the US, but it's their country, and if they think making it a PITA to visit for people with a couple of penalty points for speeding will improve Homeland Security, it's their decision.

QuadPods selling for $99 (5, Funny)

cheekyboy (598084) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698567)

I hope that quadpods are not part of the law, I will make a killing selling these so you will never break the law.

Shh govt types who dont know what real work is.... i have a pentapod and sexapod and octapods ready too.

I have a proposal, sack 100% of all middle govt goons.

Re:QuadPods selling for $99 (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19699043)

A Beowulf cluster of QuadPods and they won't be able to stop ya. Some might call it a Beowulf Millipede.

Re:Absurd (3, Funny)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698633)

I did a search for "amateur pictures" on Google images, and let me tell you, I am in favor of allowing THAT kind of phototography in public places in NYC. In fact, I think there is a definite shortage of amateur photography taking place.

Re:Absurd (5, Informative)

vmxeo (173325) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698639)

It's already happened to me and my friends, and more than once. Let me give you one example. I live near the Brooklyn Bridge. Next to the bridge is Fulton Ferry Park. From this park, you have a beautiful view of the Brooklyn Bridge and Lower Manhattan just beyond (shameless self-promotional shot of said park and view from just beyond) [flickr.com] ). Two friends of mine wanted to record a brief video message to send to their friend in France who was getting married soon, and we thought it'd be cool to shoot in the park. Upon entry to the park, I was immediately stopped by a park employee who wanted to know what I was doing with my video camera. After explaining what we wanted to do, he told us we would need a permit, which he conveniently had nearby. He said we would need a) permit for filming (both city and state, since it's a state park), b) permit for a 'gathering' of people in the park for the 3 of us and c) proof of insurance. We then got into an arguement, since it clearly stated ON THE PERMIT it was only necessary for commercial use, and mine was clearly personal. His reasoning? My camera was "too professional looking". He then told me I could either pay for the permits then, or leave the park immediately (under threat that if I didn't, he'd call the cops!).


Another one of my friends who is a professional photographer has been...

followed by 3 homeland security helicopter as he took pictures from the rooftops of several buildings in the area

stopped and prevented by a NYC park employee from taking a picture of a building *belonging* to his employer (he just happened to be standing just off the sidewalk on a patch of grass that's technically a park)

approached by security countless times for taking pictures of buildings from public areas

Ok, I'm sorry for the venting, but there's an obvious anti-amateur photographer bent in this city. I've shot both with (for actual production projects) and without (personal). If you have a permit, you're gold. Cops let you go wherever you want. Federal marshals protecting government buildings become friendly. If you don't, you're treated worse then dirt. (end rant)

Re:Absurd (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19698659)

Hrmm, you guys should get some arabic looking guy with all those permits to go around trying the same thing. Better yet, maybe Brazillian or Indian just to find out if the dumbasses can even stereotype by ethnicity or just skin tones :)

Honestly though, we need to change the 'land of the free' bit to 'land of the bureaucracy'.

Capta was: ceases, like ceases to care, or ceases to have liberties :)

Re:Absurd (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698993)

have him call the cops, then.

he's wrong.

call him on his shit.

and also ask for his supervisor and the cop's supervisor, too.

the only reason they can get away with it is because sheeple LET them get away with it.

Re:Absurd (2, Informative)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 7 years ago | (#19699271)

have him call the cops, then.

he's wrong.

call him on his shit.

and also ask for his supervisor and the cop's supervisor, too.

Woah, now that's not something I'd try. You seem to believe that the police actually cares about that crap ? That they'd side with you for being called into a park because of some guy with a camera ?

Most likely you'd be in for a nasty (and probably expensive) surprise when the cops get there.

The terrorists have already won (3, Insightful)

Macka (9388) | more than 7 years ago | (#19699039)


Strikes me that your lives have been so transformed by all this that in many ways they can already claim victory. Your nation is now so frightened of its own shadow that one by one your personal freedoms are being stripped away in the name of "security". And the sad thing is, you're doing it to yourselves.

Re:The terrorists have already won (5, Funny)

MarsDefenseMinister (738128) | more than 7 years ago | (#19699147)

You're forgetting one detail. We're going to drop a bomb on their head during their victory celebration. And, we're going to steal their camels.

Plus, we're going to steal their culture and their food and sell it at Disney World.

Re:The terrorists have already won (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19699173)

I was saying the same thing when they started preventing baby sippy cups on airplanes a few years ago.

Re:Absurd (3, Interesting)

EtoilePB (1087031) | more than 7 years ago | (#19699157)

I live in NYC now; before that, I lived in Boston.

After 2001, Boston made regulations about photography in certain places. Namely, you're not allowed to take pictures of anything T (public transit). Not the trains, not the buses,not the employees, nothing. One day at Park Street I saw a Japanese woman (the quintessential stereotypical tourist) who clearly didn't speak a word of English get carted away by two beefy officers because she was taking pictures of her family standing next to a Green Line train. Yes, they'd given her three verbal warnings over the intercom, but as she didn't speak English and no-one nearby spoke Japanese, she had no idea what was going on.

New York is not the only city pushed into absurdity by "security" concerns, particularly when those concerns overlap with the quest to rake in more cash from every source possible. The majority of tourists in NYC, mind, will never run in to these problems, because I'm sure the guards and cops at the key tourist locations -- Times Square, Empire State Building, etc etc etc -- have been taught or told what's "acceptable" photography. Stories like yours about Fulton Ferry Park are what we'd see more of.

Re:Absurd (1)

pla (258480) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698755)

Why a tripod? Does that make for a professional?

And more importanty - so what? "Professional" photographers have just as much right as a tourist to stand around taking pictures. Even (gasp!) for commercial purposes!



This is simply absurd and as a photographer, I will *not* be traveling into NYC if this proposed policy becomes law.

You won't miss out on much. I've visited once - Wouldn't go back, for anything (though Spamalot tempted me). The air sucks, you feel like you need a shower after touching anything, you can hear cars all night long even from 30 floors up, "cheap" coffee and snacks cost a fortune (though if you want to pay a lot for food, I have to admit you can get some pretty good stuff there). And the "sights" they apparently now don't want people to photograph - Really, what? Times Square looks kinda neat, in a sesory overload way, but NYC really doesn't have a whole lot worth seeing in the first place.

Re:Absurd (1)

tha_mink (518151) | more than 7 years ago | (#19699047)

NYC really doesn't have a whole lot worth seeing in the first place.


I'm really trying to figure out if you're kidding or just an idiot. Hate to be abrasive, but you've only been there once, and it sounds like you made a nice little tourist visit. "Times Square?" Please. "NYC really doesn't have a whole lot worth seeing in the first place"? Rube.

Re:Absurd (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 7 years ago | (#19699071)

Move along, nothing to see here.

Or photograph of course.

Re:Absurd (1)

pla (258480) | more than 7 years ago | (#19699073)

I'm really trying to figure out if you're kidding or just an idiot.

No, quite serious. I won't say I hated my visit, because I went for a specific event that I quite enjoyed. But everything else about the entire city I found loathesome.

I would not go there again, and I would not recommed it as a tourist destination to anyone that asked.

Just my opinion... Take it or leave it. And if you think that makes me an idiot, well, you have a right to your opinions as well.

Re:Absurd (1)

tha_mink (518151) | more than 7 years ago | (#19699095)

No, quite serious. I won't say I hated my visit, because I went for a specific event that I quite enjoyed. But everything else about the entire city I found loathesome.


You're not an idiot for your opinion, your an idiot for your statement "NYC really doesn't have a whole lot worth seeing in the first place." That is just entirely factually inaccurate.

Re:Absurd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19699115)

ad hominem. You lose.

Actually an Improvement... (1)

Morosoph (693565) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698931)

...believe it or not.

Reading TFA, there has hitherto been an unpublished law in NYC, arbitarily enforced against photographers.

At least now you get to know your rights.

Maybe some large studio with good lawyers could get this law (published or unpublished) struck down.

I think I found some motivation (1)

patiodragon (920102) | more than 7 years ago | (#19699015)

If you can get through to the end (or fast forward somehow) this film shows someone getting arrested for filming on a public street in NYC. I think the feds didn't like his sign, but they never did say *why* he couldn't film.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-639766972 7183502193&q=%22Alex+Jones%22+duration%3Along&tota l=891&start=0&num=10&so=1&type=search&plindex=1 [google.com]
(flash video)

Hints:
--The Federal Reserve Bank isn't "federal" the way most people use the word.
--You can no longer trade in your money for anything of value with the people that print it.

1st Amendment (3, Insightful)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698465)

Last I checked, cities cannot override 1st Amendment rights. I believe this falls under the freedom of the press.

Re:1st Amendment (1)

mindstormpt (728974) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698481)

Non-informative film making isn't "press", at least not in my country. If the law is to be applied only to professional movie recording, I don't see a clash with the freedom of the press.

Re:1st Amendment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19698521)

No such restriction is in the law, it can be used against a couple with their child.

Re:1st Amendment (3, Informative)

STrinity (723872) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698715)

Non-informative film making isn't "press", at least not in my country. If the law is to be applied only to professional movie recording, I don't see a clash with the freedom of the press.


Because the Supreme Court ruled in the 1950s that movie makers are covered by the First Amendment. "Freedom of Speech" covers just about every form of expression that doesn't create an immediate danger.

Re:1st Amendment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19698495)

Last I checked, cities cannot override 1st Amendment rights. I believe this falls under the freedom of the press.
Ok, so where do you draw the line for film crews for major movies? Is it ok to force them to get a permit?

Also, I believe these smaller permits are free [nyc.gov] and available online [nyc.gov] . Is that still violating freedom of the press?

This isn't a black and white issue like you make it out to be.

Re:1st Amendment (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698695)

Also, I believe these smaller permits are free and available online. Is that still violating freedom of the press?
The forms to apply for the permits are available online. As for freedom of the press, what if another skyscraper gets blown up and it takes 30 days (as permitted by the new pending rule, not the old forms you linked) to get a permit to cover it?

Re:1st Amendment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19698817)

That is just it they they don't want you to have undoctored footage of the demolition squibs like in the WTC video.

Re:1st Amendment (2, Insightful)

Tuoqui (1091447) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698607)

They've been doing it for years. Ever since that PATRIOT Act was put into place.

At the rate the US Government is going there wont be any First Amendment in a few years. Maybe they should have a protest in the form of a funeral for it. It might open up people's eyes instead of just running down a street chanting slogans.

Re:1st Amendment (1)

ari_j (90255) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698727)

I suspect that you have conflated the US and NYC. I wouldn't get too worried - the two are not on speaking terms.

Long before the Patriot Act (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19699255)

This has been going on long before the Patriot Act - ever since we decided to let the Constitution be a living document that no longer required the Amendment process, just the whim of the Supreme Court.

Re:1st Amendment (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 7 years ago | (#19699075)

Non-US tourists may not know this, and most people won't have the backup of being able to say "I'm a journalist, here's my ID".

Re:1st Amendment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19699209)

New York City is a constitution-free zone. They already infringe on the 2nd amendment by requiring permits to own a handgun and the 4th amendment with random searches entering the subway.

Absolutly Insane (2)

Aranykai (1053846) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698469)

Not only is this idea completely unrealistic, doesn't it violate unalienable rights? I thought those were supposed to be protected...

Whats next? Arrested for gazing upon a copyrighted building design. Come on...

Re:Absolutly Insane (4, Interesting)

Threni (635302) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698491)

> Arrested for gazing upon a copyrighted building design. Come on...

I was in the US a few years ago (2003, on..how you say..vacation from the UK) and was taking pictures of the big black building in Pittsburgh which looks like it should be in a Batman film, when a fat guy in a uniform came out of it and told me I couldn't take pictures. Clearly he was wrong - all I had to do was to walk around to another part of the building where he couldn't see me (or couldn't waddle up to me fast enough to stop me) but it was a little unsettling as I didn't want to spend the next few hours talking to the police about how I wasn't a terrorist, or get deported.

So I think this sort of law just formalizes harassment that I'm sure many other people have received for a while now.

Re:Absolutly Insane (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19698653)

Let that be a lesson for you. Next time, carry fake press credentials, possibly from a major European newspaper or magazine, and tell them that tomorrow Le Figaro will come out with a picture of that building and the title AMERICAN FASCISTS!!! over it. Demand the guy's badge number and inform his superiors how much Europe is dissatisfied with the US and how they should learn who's in charge (the EU).

Remind them to prepare themselves and their families for relocation into re-education camps as soon as Hillary will be elected and the new EU provisional government will be in place. Then make the European salute, arm raised and extended.

Re:Absolutly Insane (1)

roaddemon (666475) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698621)

Come off it. I don't necessarily agree with this, but "unalienable rights"?

"The term inalienable rights (or unalienable rights) refers to a set of human rights that are fundamental, are not awarded by human power, and cannot be surrendered. They are by definition, rights retained by the people. Inalienable rights may be defined as natural rights or human rights, but natural rights are not required by definition to be inalienable."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inalienable_rights [wikipedia.org]

One Sided Article (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698471)

This article is pretty one sided (not that that is bad) so I'm wondering what happened or what is the cause of these new laws?

Usually when you change the law, it's because something happened. I would like to know what failure the current laws have suffered and I didn't really find there to be a lot of comments from the New York City government on this issue, just civil liberties groups.

So as far as I can guess, there are two possible reason. The first is the ole' terrorism card where we can't have people that might be terrorists casing targets and what not. The second possible reason is that it is becoming easier and easier to garner thousands of viewers (like the article mentions) via sites like YouTube by posting your work online. Is the city targeting these people the same way it targets major Hollywood film companies?

I'm kind of disappointed this article didn't accurately reflect both sides of the issue. I can see several downsides to these laws but is there at least a reason for changing them in the first place? Not a lot of information here from NYC.

The Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre & Broadcasting [nyc.gov] seems to be concerned primarily with fining large companies. The free permit you can apply for online states:

The permit we issue to your production is free of charge, and provides access to public locations and street parking for essential production vehicles throughout 300 square miles of public settings in the city's five boroughs, including 27,000 acres of city parks.

When your project is shooting at an exterior location which requires traffic control, or has a scene with prop firearms, weapons or actors in police uniforms, you must request that the NYPD Movie and TV Unit be assigned to your location. The police unit will assign its officers at no charge to you.

All decisions about what is permitted are made by the Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre & Broadcasting, working in close consultation with the NYPD Movie & TV Unit, and other key city agencies. We have the experience and resources to facilitate your production requests.

Filming in city parks, interiors of city buildings, bridges, subways or tunnels will require additional permissions from the controlling entities. Please contact our office to obtain specific contact information.
Which seems fairly reasonable for one of the largest & most densely populated cities in the United States. With amatures having an easier means of publication, the laws could change to keep NYC's MOFTB informed of filming on a regular or extended basis.

Now, I'm well aware of the abuse that police & law enforcement could use this for against citizens, tourists & people of certain ethnicities, but I think the article already adequately reflected the concerns.

What was glossed over was the apparent good these laws would do:

Mr. Dunn said most of the new rules were reasonable. Notably, someone using a hand-held video camera, as Mr. Sharma was doing, would no longer have to get a permit.
So, am I to believe that there's a few laws that are questionable while other laws are going to protect people (as in Mr. Sharma's case) from being arrested? Sounds pretty reasonable to me.

Still, it really causes one to wonder, what's the reason for the change in these laws?

Re:One Sided Article (4, Interesting)

niceone (992278) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698591)

Still, it really causes one to wonder, what's the reason for the change in these laws?

It is in the article (right at the end):

In May 2005, Rakesh Sharma, an Indian documentary filmmaker, was using a hand-held video camera in Midtown Manhattan when he was detained for several hours and questioned by police.

During his detention, Mr. Sharma was told he was required to have a permit to film on city property. According to a lawsuit, Mr. Sharma sought information about how permits were granted and who was required to have one but found there were no written guidelines. Nonetheless, the film office told him he was required to have a permit, but when he applied, the office refused to grant him one and would not give him a written explanation of its refusal.

As part of a settlement reached in April, the film office agreed to establish written rules for issuing permits. Mr. Sharma could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Re:One Sided Article (5, Insightful)

xigxag (167441) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698661)

So basically, they grabbed this poor guy for b.s. reasons (brown-skinned plus camera = terrorist), and now they've got to come up with a whole mechanism to justify doing it again in the future.

Re:One Sided Article (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19699233)

Well of course, there has to be a way of screening black, latin and middle east people!

Because... who'll think a redneck or a white is a terrorist?

Re:One Sided Article (1)

LaughingCoder (914424) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698941)

So basically this "poor guy" filed a lawsuit after being detained for several hours, and now, thanks to a frivolous lawsuit, we have these new regulations.

It's the american way. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19699099)

That is how it works.

License to Breathe Air: Coming soon (3, Informative)

bzelbob (700100) | more than 7 years ago | (#19699101)

In the United States today you need:
- A license to Drive (travel)
- A license to get married
- A license to broadcast radio
- A passport to leave the country
- A passport to enter the country (unless you're an illegal alien)
- Permits to run certain types of business
- Fee, Taxes, etc. on numerous many activities.

In Addition we have:
- A mammoth legal code (over ??? pages)
- A mammoth tax code (over 5,000 pages)
- Immense corruption in government
- More and more surveillance cameras going up in stores and in public places

And now some city wants me to have a permit to take a picture????
NO. I absolutely refuse!!! I'm gonna photograph my middle finger and
mail it to them.

Wake up people and realize that we are living in a Candyland version
of the soviet union already.

Don't let our government turn your rights into privileges, licenses and permits.
They've take too much already and we've let them.

Re:One Sided Article (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698671)

Filming in city parks, interiors of city buildings, bridges, subways or tunnels will require additional permissions from the controlling entities. Please contact our office to obtain specific contact information.
Which seems fairly reasonable for one of the largest & most densely populated cities in the United States. With amatures having an easier means of publication, the laws could change to keep NYC's MOFTB informed of filming on a regular or extended basis.
Just what is 'reasonable' about requiring paperwork to film in open areas like city parks or bridges? Or subways and tunnels for that matter? If the worry is that people will make a nuisance of themselves, then regulate THAT because there are more ways to really clog up the system than just deploying a large camera crew.

other laws are going to protect people (as in Mr. Sharma's case) from being arrested?
WTF? We need laws to protect people from getting arrested? It sounds like you've completely internalized the "9/11 changed everything" bullshit. In a free society anything and everything is allowed unless explicitly prohibited - you write as if nothing is allowed unless explicitly permitted.

Re:One Sided Article (2, Insightful)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698713)

The first is the ole' terrorism card where we can't have people that might be terrorists casing targets and what not.

Which leads me to wonder, when was the last time anyone of us saw terrorists with tripods?

I mean... If you want to be a terrorist, you just strap on a vest of C4 and walk into the nearest crowd. Its not like the terrorists had to take pictures of the area first to plan their "get away" after the fact.

Social Anxiety Disorder and Photography (1)

CryogenicKeen (1088911) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698489)

I have Social Anxiety Disorder. It is already hard enough for me to go outside and be with people and not think that they might be looking at me the wrong way or if its even ok for me to take a picture without their consent in a public place. I am still very unsure on the exact specific laws as it comes to you can take a picture of a building ok but if you catch someone in that building in the picture thats not ok and ack... Anyway my point is this is going to make it even harder for me to go outside and take pictures for fear of people thinking I'm a terrorist. I realize that they are not INTENDED for amateur filmmakers or photographers but I really don't like the government making it harder for my already socially anxious ways to justify not even going outside because I'm afraid someone will think that im taking a picture of a certain person or a building in a way they don't like because THEY are scared. I also like to create maps for Half-Life and sometimes pictures help me with building architecture in game. Laws like this just encourage other city's to create similar laws and I would just like to know when will it end?

Re:Social Anxiety Disorder and Photography (1)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698511)

Anyway my point is this is going to make it even harder for me to go outside and take pictures for fear of people thinking I'm a terrorist.
Joke post?

Re:Social Anxiety Disorder and Photography (1)

CryogenicKeen (1088911) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698557)

No sorry I really do have some severe social anxiety and its hard for me to even walk down the street because I'm afraid of people walking by me, what im going to do am i supposed to look them in the face as they pass me or look away. Most people I talk to say they just don't care but I keep not being able to think about it no matter what so I almost always notice unless im in a crowd/city then its easier because there are to many people to pay attention too.

It is really hard for me to take photographs or video in public for fear of someone telling me they don't want me to film them, or some employee at Starbucks or whatever telling me I can't film in their establishment for fear of being wrong them being right and me not knowing my absolute "rights" as an amateur photographer.

Re:Social Anxiety Disorder and Photography (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19699201)

"It is really hard for me to take photographs or video in public for fear of someone telling me they don't want me to film them, or some employee at Starbucks or whatever telling me I can't film in their establishment for fear of being wrong them being right and me not knowing my absolute "rights" as an amateur photographer."

Then don't. And your fear is gone away. This new legislation is a load of crap, but I don't understand how your pyschological condition is relevant to it. How is your social anxiety the fault of the government? I feel sorry for you, but I have problems I need to work around too. I don't like taking pictures of strangers for similar reasons to you, and I don't particularly like people taking pictures of me. So I take pictures of non-people things and get a lot of enjoyment out of it. Why not try to work around your problem instead of trying to blame other people for it?

Re:Social Anxiety Disorder and Photography (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19698987)

I'm guessing it will end when everybody except for the _real terrorists_ will be suffering from the same Social Anxiety Disorder - and stay indoors.

Messing with NYPD? (3, Funny)

eggman9713 (714915) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698493)

I can see this if it actually is enacted. 1. I should take me Finepix S2 and run around NYC taking hundreds and hundreds of pictures of buidlings and things, maybe wearing somewhat shady clothing, and then when the NYPD stop me and want to see what I have on my camera, open it up to show that no memory card is installed (Yes, this camera can operate in test mode, basically shooting but not saving.). 2. And then when they arrest me for supposedly taking photographs, I can sue them for holding me without evidence. 3. PROFIT!

Amending the law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19698741)

For impersonating a shady photographer - 1.000.0000 Dollar fine or all you have :o)

Take that you shady character...

YOINKS - Take Profit Right Back ;o)

Re:Messing with NYPD? (1)

chudnall (514856) | more than 7 years ago | (#19699227)

This is a pretty clever idea. Even better would be to organize a flash mob of people taking pictures of each other without them memory cards.

Put exceptions in the law! (2, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698509)

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.

Does the law say this?

Is she aware that the police and the entire judiciary are obliged to enforce the law as written? A police officer would be obliged to arrest severy tourist who didn't have a permit. If it came to court, the "Julianne Cho said it was alright" defence isn't going to be a valid defence. The attitude of the courts is, and always has been "If that was their intent they would have said so", and the system is based around this prinipal.

motivation is people filming/photoing police (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19698517)

The motivation for this proposal is the recent cases of people being arrested for filming the police. There is a serious danger that abusive officers of the Law will be caught on camera, and the best way of stopping this, is to have an excuse to confiscate the media for being potentially "unlicensed".

This was implemented very successfully in Soviet times. The excuse was "National Security", but, of course, no secrets will be revealed by taking a photograph of a random government building (and anyone with enough skill to cause trouble there will conceal his camera anyway). In fact, what was important was to hide the truth about what goes on, and you do that by only licensing people who reveal your version of the truth.

So much curtailing of liberty in the past 6 years, any thoughts I had that I might be paranoid about my government are now out of the window. It's obvious what's happening - and because the population is more educated and aware than 50 years ago, and because this time round it's going to be done peacefully, but with sufficient technology to make insurrection impossible, it'll just take a little longer to bring it about.

Mod parent up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19698561)

So much curtailing of liberty in the past 6 years, any thoughts I had that I might be paranoid about my government are now out of the window. It's obvious what's happening...

QFT.

Re:motivation is people filming/photoing police (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19698767)

and because this time round it's going to be done peacefully

Have you read about ths allegedly foiled multiple car bomb plot [bbc.co.uk] in London? Designing a remotely detonatable explosive device with the power to kill dozens in a built-up area barely requires knowledge beyond UK A-level chemistry and electronics (well, assuming those exams haven't been dumbed down too much since I studied them!). It's not happening all the time because, bar a number countable on the fingers of one hand, people in the UK don't want to mass murder.

So, when a car containing nails, petrol and a mobile phone is found emitting mysterious smoke, in a city which only sees a bombing every few years, it's just as likely to be a government keep-'em-fearing plant (or even workmen carrying around nails and petrol conveniently reinterpreted a la Menezes) as the work of some uncharacteristically incompetent Mercedes-driving terrorists.

And for the non-UK reader, it happened a day after a new prime minister. Just what the guy needs to push ahead with the usual agenda of security>liberty...

Re:motivation is people filming/photoing police (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19698879)

Gov banning filming to hide abuses was the topic - why is it OT when I give an example of a deception the government could carry out more easily if cameras were banned? Jusr as mysterious disappearance of de Menezes CCTV, individual photographers are threats. Maybe I should have been more explicit.

Re:motivation is people filming/photoing police (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 7 years ago | (#19699195)

Sounds strange. Why would there be smoke coming out from the car?

After all, if I made a car bomb to blow stuff up, there wouldn't be smoke coming out from the car, and the only way they are going to handle it is to blow up the car (first surrounding the car with sand bags, water barrels, explosive proof fabrics etc).

I'd just rig up car alarms (ultrasonic, IR motion detectors etc) to prevent the car and bomb from being tampered with. Depending on the situation, the first few "You are too close to the car! Stand back!" audible warnings may not trigger the bomb.

So how would you defuse that BEFORE the bomb goes off? Say you have 2-4 hours till peak hour.

Smoke coming out from car, and bomb defused. Quite amazing.

Kind of understandable. (2, Insightful)

kaleco (801384) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698519)

I can definitely see the danger in overzealous enforcement of this law, and as someone has already mentioned, there's a precedent for law enforcement to use any reason to curb photographic rights. If the law is properly limited, however, it could limit the nuisance caused by groups using tripods which can occupy busy public spaces for long periods of time. I can understand the motivation behind this law, even if it is a mere pretext to banning public photography in the long term.

Tourism implications (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19698527)

Hmm. As a foreigner, this is one more reason not to visit the US. Okay, so lets say I don't mind being treated like a criminal as I board the international flight in my own country (thanks FAA and US Govt for that), and lets say I don't mind the finger-printing when I enter the US border, but then I risk harassment by the Police if I'm taking photos in NYC? No thanks, there's plenty of other places that welcome tourist dollars.

Simple solution (2)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698533)

Tourists and tour groups avoid New York. Also people should avoid parades and public events if they intend to take pictures. If they would like to restrict taking pictures in public places then there are friendlier cities people can frequent.

Re:Simple solution (1)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698571)

>>tour groups avoid New York

As they say in Mid-Town, "From Your Lips to God's Ears"!!!

Paint me a picture (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19698553)

So, what if I set up a tripod and canvas, and paint a photo-realistic interpretation of a building/scene?

More lies from NYC (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19698577)

The USA is becoming a police state: http://home.comcast.net/~plutarch/PoliceState.html [comcast.net]

Land of the free... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19698585)

Was quite proud to be an American until about 4 years ago -- now find myself constantly making excuses for the fact.

Thanks George & Tony -- luv ya!

What is the purpose? (2, Interesting)

quentin_quayle (868719) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698595)

If it's to stop people blocking the sidewalk, doesn't the city already have adequate laws on that? They wouldn't have to refer to photography either.

A more plausible explanation is driving a wedge between professional and amateur journalism. With the chilling effect, there will be less recording of police misconduct, for example, and many of the 9.11 videos would not have been made.

Next up... (2, Insightful)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698615)

Next we'll require permits to for free speech in public areas for anyone whose speaking to more then one person for over 30 minutes or five people at the same time for more then 10 minutes. Beggars will be exempt as no-one pays attention to them.

Re:Next up... (1)

AndOne (815855) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698701)

When beggars become exempt I expect my line of designer beggar wear to sky rocket!

Sick of being hassled by the police? Beggar brand pants! That law avoiding look with all the comfort and style of other name brands!

Re:Next up... (2, Interesting)

MollyB (162595) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698803)

Next we'll require permits to for free speech in public areas [...]
We already have so-called "free speech zones" -- fenced, policed areas in which nonviolent opposition to the gummint is permitted, generally placed where the object of protest (a person or group) never need confront detractors.

As an ancient activist who's been tear-gassed numerous times, I am shocked beyond belief that we have let our civil freedoms wither to a mockery of what once was a great country. The 'free speech' zone used to extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific. (yeah, HI & AK, too)

The post by eldavojohn above [slashdot.org] raises interesting points. How does a city accommodate citizens wishing to use the same sidewalk for protesting or passage?

Riiiiight... (3, Insightful)

killmenow (184444) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698643)

"While the permitting scheme does not distinguish between commercial and other types of filming, we anticipate that these rules will have minimal, if any, impact on tourists and recreational photographers, including those that use tripods," Ms. Cho said...
She continued, "...unless, of course, they are dark skinned."

But Mark W. Muschenheim, a lawyer with the city's law department, which helped draft the rules, said, "There are few instances, if any, where the casual tourist would be affected."
He went on to say that mostly those speaking some form of Arabic would fall prey to selective enforcement. Upper and middle class white Americans needn't worry.

The draft rules say the office could take up to 30 days to issue a permit, but Ms. Cho said she expected that most would be issued within 24 hours.
Because the government is a bastion of efficiency.

LA has had these laws (1)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698651)

LA has had these laws for many years. Otherwise you'd have peple filming on public property everywhere.

Selective enforcement (2, Informative)

bhmit1 (2270) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698667)

The group also warns that the rules set the stage for selective and perhaps discriminatory enforcement by police.
That pretty much sums up every law that police enforce. More and more laws are being written so that the average citizen will break them and police get to decide if they like you or not. I don't worry about who they decide to enforce the law upon, the bigger issue is who they don't enforce it upon that should raise the most attention. Friends of police officers, people with money and power, middle class america, and most importantly, the law makers would all be furious if they were actually subject to the letter of every law.

How Absurd -- Best Luck NYC (1)

NeverVotedBush (1041088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698681)

This is taking things too far. A vague law banning photography without a permit? No real definition of professional vs. amateur?

Is NYC run by total morons?

I guess that's one city I can take off the list of places to visit.

Bloomberg is a nut (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19698689)

The man is a total control freak and a pathetic excuse for a Republican. Glad he's running for president on an independent ticket, since no one will vote for him.

End of common sense (2, Insightful)

rcastro0 (241450) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698707)

I used to say that the difference between my country
and the United States was that here everything was
prohibited unless expressely allowed, while in the
US everything was allowed unless expressely prohibited.

I guess I will soon have to revise that saying.

This can only be enforced discriminative (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698745)

Anyone and everyone will commit this "crime". Proof: Cellphone cams. Whenever you "loiter" for 30 minutes somewhere with your cellphone in hand, you're effectively breaking the law. Absurd? Yes. But it can be enforced as such.

Unfortunately, the constitution only protects you against arbitrary arrests. It does not protect you from the creation of laws that enable arbitrary arrests. And that's pretty much the only viable way this law can be used. It does not protect your privacy. Sure, your stalker can't camp outside your flat, but if he's serious about he will rent the apartment opposite of you anyway. And that's not a public space anymore. It doesn't keep Google (or others) from taking pictures with their cam-vans, they are not staying in a single spot. It does not protect movies from screeners, since theatres are not public spaces.

So what the heck is this law about? I just don't get its purpose, the only one I can see is to create a "crime" in case you want to arrest someone and can't find anything providing you with a reason.

Bad news (as a photographer) (4, Insightful)

flar2 (938689) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698747)

I am a photographer whose specialty is urban photography. A precedent like this would kill my favourite hobby, at least in the US. It certainly violates freedom of the press, thought they will argue "just get a permit and you're fine". I would suspect that some undesirable photographers|journalists|artists would be denied permits. Right now in many cities a permit is required for other types of "artistic" activity in the streets or public spaces (ie: busking). But really, photography? It doesn't hurt anyone. You can look at Google maps or Microsoft Live and get photos of streets. There are security cameras almost everywhere. Why can't joe photographer do it?

I have no problem with this (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19698921)

As long as you stop banging on about 'the land of the free' and 'the free world' and lecturing other countries on the topic.
Deal?

As someone who often takes pictures in public .... (2, Interesting)

QuatermassX (808146) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698923)

As has already been mentioned, the purpose of these laws is to generate revenue for the city and keep the sidewalk / pavement clear. The article mentions that two or more people who linger in a spot more than 30 minutes are subject to the new rules.

That doesn't sound terribly onerous - I recently took hundreds of photos in New York City [flickr.com] and never once had a problem. I toted around an old Yashicamat 124G [camerapedia.org] as well as a Hexar AF [cameraquest.com] . Every so often someone would strike up a conversation about that "cool old camera", but I photographed traffic cops, people in the street, quietly inside shops, throughout museums without a fuss. The cameras are both fairly low-key and quiet.

I reckon if both my girlfriend and myself had lingered outside for more than 30 minutes and I was typically snapping photographs of strangers, THEN I would be in violation - but I think she'd smack me upside the head before the 30-minute mark would pass.

Now the issue about unflattering photographs of city police - that sounds more like something that requires clarification. It should never be illegal to expose abuse of power or malfeasance. And citizen journalism has provided vivid pictures of breaking news before the big news organisations can scramble their photographers.

There are rumblings of similar laws been enacted in Britain ... which always strikes me as a wicked irony when you consider the vast amount of CCTV cameras there are.

The Reason - Electronic Voting Machines (0, Troll)

myspace-cn (1094627) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698975)

This destruction of the Constitution. Is 100% due to the invisible counting (or non-counting) of votes. And then the lack of the corporate mainstream media to cover this issue. It's a total media blackout. This isn't the only constitutional amendment that has gotten fucked by these oath of office breakers in charge. The president wasn't even elected by the people, it was by a fucking court! And the Courts are now owned. You want to fix this problem, you want to restore the Constitution, and get these fucking oath breakers out? Then Get rid of Electronic Voting Machines. FUck the HOLT BILL HR 811 Fuck the Feinstein Bill. YOU WANT PAPER BALLOTS HAND COUNTED PUBLIC OVERSIGHT Or I guess you want to live in a dictatorship. It sure ain't a constitutional republic anymore! My what 7 dirty fucking years can do..

The law we really need... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19699069)

No photography in public period, penalties are doubled if people photographed are having fun because they'd be more enticing targets for terrorism. Cell phones w/ cameras have their lenses drilled out on sight.

More than a half hour? What is the better way? (2, Insightful)

m0llusk (789903) | more than 7 years ago | (#19699133)

This proposal only applies to situations where cameras are in use for more than a half hour. This means that nearly all situations people have brought up as potential conflicts are unrelated to this proposal.

Anyone who has spent much time trying to actually live or do business in NYC knows that sidewalks are often blocked either partially or fully for photography sessions. Most often this is done by advertising agencies in order to be use NYC and its crowds as a backdrop. Essentially they are making use of a public resource in order to produce private products, so this proposed regulation is yet another attempt to avoid the worst of an ongoing tragedy of the commons.

The way this is getting blown up into a massive homeland security basic rights breach is an unfortunate demonstration of the stupid and reactive nature of the masses. Slashdot is supposed to have people actually using their heads, yet hardly anyone has actually read the proposal that stirred this up or seriously attempted to interpret what it might mean.

The gold standard for opposition to an idea is to present a better one. Significant numbers of photographic sessions are to take place on some of the most busy streets in NYC. What is your proposal for avoiding chaos? Is asking for official notification in this way a bad way of mediating this conflict? Then what is a good way?

Jaywalking (2)

dekkerdreyer (1007957) | more than 7 years ago | (#19699149)

Yeah, and Jaywalking is illegal, too. Just another law on the books that will be ignored hundreds of thousands of times a day in New York.

Does the mean Google will need to black out NYC? (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 7 years ago | (#19699177)

I can understand if the setup and photographing interferes for normal activity, but how are they going to police it? I mean NYC is a city to take pictures of as a tourist....or terrorist...but there is Google.

Discriminatory... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19699197)

"selective and perhaps discriminatory enforcement by police.

Read as "racism". This opens a new window for foreigns to be treated as terrorists, the paranoia of the US is going insane.

Maybe Judicial Action might be Allowed 2 Officers? (2, Informative)

SpzToid (869795) | more than 7 years ago | (#19699247)

Maybe this law is to be clear: this is what you can do, and what you cannot do; while allowing the preliminary decision to the enforcing officer? Therefore by drawing a line, the arresting officer, (and any subsequent courts in the legal process), can then-and-there decide whether 'the case' and resulting enforcement action is worth the effort. This makes for much efficiency all-'round.

Did you know in Amsterdam marijuana is illegal, yet its sale is commonplace? The word going around is 'tolerated', but what does that mean? It means you're being an asshole at any time in public involved with a bunch of grass, any officer has the right to persecute you for being an asshole; because clearly you've broken the law.

Aside from such persecution, the momentary matter is let up to the immediate officer to sort out. This is a tool that allows the officer to do their work efficiently and at relatively low-cost to the overall public. Such an enforcement model exists elsewhere too.

Maybe as in LA, there's too many blokes obstructing traffic with cameras, and they needed some sort of law on the books to provide beat-cops a tool with which to make the city a nice place to live in?

- - - -
Free Paris! Oh wait... God Bless Paris.
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