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Thread: "You can't take pictures here" - Restrictions on photography

  1. #46
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003


    The people that need to take these pictures for nefarious purposes have other ways of getting them.

    This regulation is just fear mongering BS. We might as well hide unde the desks from the Atom Bomb and keep confiscating nail clippers on planes because armageddon is coming soon!!!!

  2. #47


    Well the Police State hates videos like THIS.

    Protesters Turn Lens on Mayor's Office Over NY Film Ban
    Video Journalists and Other Protesters Defiant at Bloomberg's Blatant Attack on 1st Amendment

    The policy establishes a dangerous precedent that could threaten free speech nationwide if it is allowed to succeed, potentially prompting other localities to adopt similar policies.

    As one voice in the protest video put it:

    "What you guys are doing, what these video cameras are doing are the only thing that's securing our liberty right now. If everybody was taping all the time, we'd be completely safe. The only people who have anything to hide from our cameras are people that are involved in something illegal or wrong. In a city where they repeat over and over again-- 'if you see something, say something,' then what could be better than getting it down on tape?"

    Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre & Broadcasting
    (212) 489-6710
    Public Feedback

  3. #48


    To send a message to Katherine Oliver, Commissioner of Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre & Broadcasting, use the following form:

  4. #49


    ^ What? And get put on their shitlist?

  5. #50
    I admit I have a problem
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    North Koreatown


    Meanwhile, with security cameras on every street, *they* get to watch *us* more than ever.

    (Right, Capn_Birdseye?)

  6. #51


    ^ That's certainly how it's starting to look.

    Them versus us.

    The Government vs The People.

    And the pretext --as always-- is defense against outside attack.

    The People need protection.

    The People need protection from malevolent and sinister outside forces.

    The People need protection from The Protectors.

    Wolves watching sheep.

    I'm afraid owning handguns won't make the difference, jasonik.

    (An 18th Century solution.)

  7. #52

    Default Mayor Bloomberg Shows Total Disregard For The Public And The US Constitution -- Video

    Please watch that video and decide for yourself but I cant believe that this man can so blatantly ignore the people he SERVES. More people should demand answers. If you dont already know look into the Filming and Photography ban, enacted by Bloomberg himself. Please share this with whoever you can. Take care.

  8. #53


    August 3, 2007, 2:12 pm
    Revised Rules Coming on Filmmaking and Photography, After Uproar
    By Sewell Chan

    Click image for link to video of NYCLU press conference.

    After an outcry from videographers, filmmakers and still photographers — including a satirical rap video and an online protest petition that has gathered more than 20,000 signatures — the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting announced this afternoon that it would “redraft” proposed rules that would have restricted how images can be recorded in New York City, one of the most filmed and photographed places on the planet.

    The rules would have required any two people filming or taking photographs at a single site on public property for more than 30 minutes to obtain a permit. The same rules would have applied to a crew of five or more people with a tripod spending more than 10 minutes at a site.

    Katherine Oliver, the commissioner of the film office, said the rules would be revised based on feedback the office has received over the past two months. A period for public comment, which was scheduled to end today, will be reopened for another 30-day period after the redrafted rules are published.

    The city appears to be modifying its position — if not backing down entirely — as a result of a settlement from a recent lawsuit brought by the New York Civil Liberties Union. The civil liberties group had threatened to a file a new suit over the proposed rules. (See the text of the proposal as a PDF.)

    The mayor’s film office said in a statement:

    By reflecting existing procedures in city rules, M.O.F.T.B. has endeavored to meet the challenge of identifying a threshold level of activity which necessitates a film permit, while at the same time substantially mirroring its current practices. The goal is to maintain a safe environment for the public, while balancing the needs of filmmakers whose work may have a significant impact on pedestrian or vehicular use of public space.

    Colin Moynihan examined the issue in an article in The Times last week.

    The film office maintained today that the proposed rules were “designed to codify procedures that have existed in practice since the office was established in 1966 as the first film commission in any locality in the nation.” The office has always issued free permits “requiring only liability insurance under certain circumstances,” along with police assistance, if necessary.

    Even though the permits are free, however, some filmmakers, photographers and videographers believed the rules would impinge on their First Amendment rights. Others raised concerns about the city tracking their activities or movements.

    Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said this afternoon:

    This is a welcome first step and a marked departure from the city’s previous refusal to adopt a permit scheme that comports with the First Amendment. For too long the city has had an tin ear for the First Amendment. Now with the proliferation of criticism by the film community, we’re hopeful that the city will get it.

    As with street demonstrations people who are exercising their right to be on the sidewalk without interfering with pedestrian traffic should not be required under any circumstances to get government approval to take pictures.

    The rules were first put forward on May 25; a hearing on them occurred on June 28. Because of an outpouring of interest, the city extended the comment period through today.

    Now the film office, instead of finishing its rules, says it will instead “redraft the proposed rules, taking into account input and feedback it has received from interested parties, to more effectively strike the balance between public safety and the needs of filmmakers.”

    Ms. Oliver said in her statement, “Our office remains committed to providing our customers with expedited coordination of their film location work in the safest manner possible, so that the city’s film and television industry can continue to flourish, free speech is protected and all parties can continue to film, photograph and enjoy the greatest city in the world.”

    The proposed rules would not have affected press photographers, who are credentialed by the police, or student filmmakers.

    The City Council speaker, Christine C. Quinn, applauded the city’s decision to reconsider the rules. She said in a statement:

    Like many New Yorkers, I was concerned by the administration’s initial film and photography permitting proposal and conveyed those concerns to the Mayor’s Office of Theater, Film and Broadcasting. I am pleased that they have listened to the public’s testimony and will be revising their proposal. I look forward to working to ensure that their new proposal preserves First Amendment rights and activities while also ensuring safe use of public space for filming and photography.

    The debate resembles an earlier uproar that emerged in 2005, after the Metropolitan Transportation Authority proposed restrictions on photography and filmmaking in the subways. The authority withdrew the proposal.

    Colin Moynihan contributed reporting.

  9. #54


    Might this thread be more appropriate in the News/Politics section?

  10. #55


    I started a new thread in the news and politics forum last night about it but it was moved to the end of this post

  11. #56


    Quote Originally Posted by Jasonik View Post
    Might this thread be more appropriate in the News/Politics section?
    I thought I took care of this yesterday, when I merged the threads.

    Tsk-tsk. Getting old.

  12. #57


    October 28, 2007

    Mayor to Ease Permit Rules for Capturing City’s Image


    Amateur photographers and independent filmmakers looking to chronicle bird life, take snapshots in Times Square or capture the distinctive thrum of New York’s streets will not need to obtain permits or insurance under new rules being proposed by the Bloomberg administration.

    The rules, to be released on Tuesday for public comment, would generally allow people using hand-held equipment, including tripods, to shoot for any length of time on sidewalks and in parks as long as they leave sufficient room for pedestrians.

    The proposal, drafted as part of a settlement in a lawsuit, was revised after a passionate outcry over the summer from fine-art photographers, independent filmmakers and civil libertarians concerned that the original rules would have restricted unobtrusive video recording. Under the first proposal, any group of two or more people using a camera in a public location for more than half an hour, and any group of five or more people using a tripod for more than 10 minutes, would have needed permits and at least $1 million in insurance.

    The new rules, which officials said reflect longstanding practice by the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting, are meant to distinguish between photographers and filmmakers who generally do not create congestion or unsafe conditions and those from major television, film and print productions that generally do. But instead of basing permit requirements on the number of people and the length of time involved in the shoot, the new proposal focuses on the level of sidewalk obstruction.

    “I think that we’ve removed some of the restrictions that were the most worrisome to filmmakers,” said Katherine Oliver, the commissioner of the film office. “We have defined exactly what equipment is, and we’ve taken away the time constraints, and we think we’ve come up with something that is quite workable right now.”

    The proposal would allow photographers and filmmakers who are not using vehicles or equipment like dolly tracks, lights and cables to proceed without permits on public property as long as they stay out of traffic and their activities do not prevent public use. The rules would also allow photographers and filmmakers to commandeer a portion of a public walkway without a permit, as long as they leave open at least half of its width, or eight feet, whichever is greater.

    “The original proposed rules would have senselessly inserted film officials and police officers into everyday filming and photography,” said Christopher Dunn, the associate legal director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, which brought the original lawsuit. “Happily, city officials learned from the public outcry, and these new rules assure that virtually all photographers and filmmakers will be free from permit and insurance requirements.”

    The film office originally agreed to write the rules as part of a settlement in April of a lawsuit brought on behalf of Rakesh Sharma, a documentary filmmaker who was detained by the police in 2005 after using a hand-held video camera in Midtown. Told that he was required to have a permit to film on city property, Mr. Sharma later pursued a permit and discovered that there were no written guidelines on how they were granted, according to the lawsuit.

    When the original draft of regulations was released for comment in May, film officials defended it. But as criticism mounted, in the form of a passionate Internet campaign, letters and a satiric rap video, they agreed to rethink the rules, Ms. Oliver said.

    “We never wanted to be hurtful, we always want to be helpful,” she said, adding that the film industry is important to the city, responsible for more than 100,000 jobs and $5 billion a year in economic activity. “We want people to have access to the streets and parks and buildings in New York City and to be creative here.”

    Indeed, even critics of the first set of rules said that they were pleased with the response of the film office.

    “I was really, really pleasantly surprised that a lot of the concerns about the specificity of rules about the tripods and number of people, all of that went away, and they really heard that these were obstacles,” said Michelle Byrd, executive director of Independent Future Project, which advocates for independent filmmakers and arranged meetings between filmmakers and the film office.

    Adding that the office has worked to accommodate smaller productions as well as large studio movies, she said, “I think that the mayor’s office really prides itself on having free permits and lots of different concierge types of services, so this is a little bit of a black eye that they quickly sought to address.”

    A similar outcry resulted in 2004 when the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, concerned about the threat of terrorism, proposed banning unauthorized photography and filming in the subways. The authority, which is independent of the city government, eventually dropped the idea.

    Under the new proposal for city streets, the use of obtrusive equipment is what “triggers a permit,” said Mr. Dunn of the civil liberties union. Productions that block traffic or leave less than eight feet of open walkway would require permits and a minimum of $1 million in insurance, as would those using vehicles and equipment that is not hand-held. Officials can waive the insurance requirement if an applicant can show that it would create a financial hardship.

    Filmmakers and photographers who want the comfort of proof that they are entitled to shoot in a public location would be able to get an optional permit, which does not require insurance. Film officials said they were surprised to learn how frequently independent and casual filmmakers and photographers were drawn into confrontations with building owners and the police over their rights to record.

    Once they formally adopt the rules, film officials said, they plan to educate the public and government offices about the requirements. The rules are to appear in the journal City Record, as well as on the film office Web site,

    Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

  13. #58


    Film officials said they were surprised to learn how frequently independent and casual filmmakers and photographers were drawn into confrontations with building owners and the police over their rights to record.

    Once they formally adopt the rules, film officials said, they plan to educate the public and government offices about the requirements.
    This is the most important thing. Beligerent rent-a-cops and authoritarian police have adopted a "well... - since 9/11" attitude that is totally at odds with the law.

    My only reservations about the proposed regulations is that they may claim to regulate live-web-streaming handheld cameras.

    For many protesters, filming police intimidation and harassment is their only defense from such action, and it is rightly addressed:
    (2) The following activities do not require that a permit be obtained pursuant to this
    (ii) Filming or photography of a parade, rally, protest, or demonstration except
    when using vehicles or equipment.

    Equpment being defined thusly:
    (1) “Equipment” shall include, but is not limited to, television, photographic, film or videocameras or transmitting television equipment, including radio remotes, props, sets, lights, electric and grip equipment, dolly tracks, screens, or microphone devices, and any and all production related materials. "Equipment" shall not include (i) "hand-held devices," as defined in paragraph (3) of this subdivision, and (ii) vehicles, as defined in section one hundred fifty-nine of the New York vehicle and traffic law, that are used solely to transport a person or persons while engaged in the activity of filming or photography from within such vehicle.

    Protesters have begun live-web-streaming and remotely archiving video coverage to prevent authorities from confiscating and destroying damning evidence.

    Admittedly, there is a well accepted right to use a cell phone in public and uploading data-streams is unregulated in any other context, so this point may be moot, although I don't trust lawyers with any interpretive loophole like this:

    (3) “Hand-held devices” shall mean (i) film, still or television cameras, videocameras or other equipment which are held in the photographer's or filmmaker’s hand and carried at all times with the photographer or filmmaker during the course of filming, or (ii) tripods used to support film, still, television cameras or videocameras. Hand-held devices shall not include cables or any other item or equipment not carried by the photographer or filmmaker at all times during the course of photography, filming or transmission.

    And for the "crime" of uploading unpermitted live video, do my server and its hardrive become evidence? This is an important point that needs to be clarified.

  14. #59
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    If you store your photos / video on your hard drive with the intent to possibly use same as evidence (should the need arise) then the opposing party would absolutely be entitled to view what you store on your hard drive. And they will demand a copy of it in discovery.

    Police / Prosecutors are constantly grabbing computers when they do a search of property. No doubt this will only continue to a larger degree in the future.

    Of course a warrant signed by a judge is necessary. But that isn't too difficult to obtain (for whatever reason) in this day and age.

  15. #60


    So the next time you take a photo or 5 sec. video with your mobile phone camera and email it to yourself on the streets of NYC, you think it's reasonable for police/presecutor/judge to get access to your computer and email records because you didn't have the proper permit?

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