OK, do amateurs now need a permit to shoot in NYC? NO!!!!

Ah, the Big Apple, one of the most electric cities in the world, melting pot extraordinaire, home of a visual smorgasbord made for a photographer.
It’s all here whether it’s the architecture, the humanity, the iconic physicality for the streets.

The only concern an amateur shooter would have so far is making sure it was a solid image.

But there was possible trouble afoot.
© James Isreal.

“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.”

The main issue here is interpretation.

The way it is worded, an officer of the law can enact the strictness of the rules and stop anyone from shooting. The tipping point could be the professional looking camera to a pro quality tripod.

Check this article from the New York Times. Or this one.

This is the official government doc,if you’d like to go through it.


Here are the results as of Aug. 3rd, 2007.

A huge round of applause to everyone at Picture NY, ACLU, National Press Photographers Association, and everyone who participated in leading the charge.

You may ask what this means to you now? Well we’ll see what the new proposal brings. But this is a major rights issue on both sides. With things like Google Earth having vans cruising the streets to give you the awesome perspective while catching people in places they may not want to be seen. And street shooting has its rights issues as always. Public places for sure, but what if YOU were photographed doing something, perhaps not illegal, but not showing you in the best light?

Comments? We’ll start a thread on the Forum.


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