Monday, October 29, 2007

Revised Public Photography Rules (UPDATED)

Remember this summer's controversial proposed regulations concerning public photography in New York (which, among other criticisms, earned a city official a World's Worst Person designation from Keith Olbermann)? Well, the city is set to unveil a new set of proposed rules which should meet with much less resistance:

"Amateur photographers and independent filmmakers ... 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 ... was revised after a passionate outcry over the summer .... 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."

Under the new proposed rules, shoots "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."

The New York Civil Liberties Union is pleased.

UPDATE: So is Jim Johnson: "This is a resoundingly sensible decision even if the initally proposed regulations ... were stunningly idiotic. ... I guess my view is that the new regulations are a good move but that it would've been much more positive if the process of drafting them had been open rather than taking place behind closed doors in the Mayor's Office."

The proposed rules are now available here. Comments are due Dec. 13.