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Comment Deadline For NYC Photography Permits 238

DrNibbler writes "August 3, 2007 is the deadline for submitting comments on the proposed permit requirements for photographers in New York. Here is a sample submission."
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Comment Deadline For NYC Photography Permits

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  • Great (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ta bu shi da yu ( 687699 ) on Monday July 30, 2007 @02:58AM (#20039397) Homepage
    If this takes off in the States, how long before the nimrods in Australian government decide to follow suit?

    It's amazing: first "free speech zones", then forbidding photographers from taking photos? Has the U.S. gone nuts?
  • Remember when... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Actually, I do RTFA ( 1058596 ) on Monday July 30, 2007 @02:59AM (#20039403)

    NYC was a liberal enclave?

    Why don't they just make a law against breathing so that the growth of police power via selective enforcement is complete.

  • by Whuffo ( 1043790 ) on Monday July 30, 2007 @03:11AM (#20039449) Homepage Journal
    There's been many instances of police officers harassing photographers in the last few years. This little bit of foolishness will provide the police with something they can use to justify that harassment.

    I know I won't be visiting New York anytime in the forseeable future; sightseeing there is getting too risky...

  • by Gordonjcp ( 186804 ) on Monday July 30, 2007 @03:22AM (#20039505) Homepage
    That's fine, what we'll do to help you is stop sending tourists over. No problem. Hope it works out for you.

    Yours sincerely,
        ABTA []
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 30, 2007 @03:24AM (#20039517)
    The road to hell is paved with good intentions
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 30, 2007 @03:25AM (#20039525)
    As a former New Yorker (and hoping to be one again soon) who lived in an area that rapidly went from "ghetto" to "hip" I saw the disruption a photo or film shoot could cause. Blocking a sidewalk or part of a street, barring entry to buildings and businesses and holding up traffic both vehicle or pedestrian can cause a nightmare. This isn't an occasional thing, either; in some areas for whatever reasons (often the most trendy or fashionable) this is a daily occurance.

    I am honestly not sure why a small crew with substantial equiptment who set up camp should not get permission to do so. These rules do not seem unreasonable by any means, and in fact a smart professional photographer could easily work within the limits without the permit if they travelled light and worked quickly. They aren't outlawing amateurs or even pros with handheld cameras from taking film or video (so, say, independant journalists would not be hampered as long as they were able to be mobile), this isn't based on the quality of the camera and all that as some suggest but rather whether they block off real estate with tripods, mics and lights... And and I fail to see a "terrorist" angle at all outside of knee-jerk Slashdot comments (unless I'm missing something?) To me it just seems to be about keeping fashion shoots, Indie films and whatever else from taking over public space in an extremely congested city.
  • Re:Great (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Swampash ( 1131503 ) on Monday July 30, 2007 @03:35AM (#20039577)
    Has the U.S. gone nuts? Have you been living in a cave for the past six years or something? Of COURSE it has gone nuts.
  • by jrumney ( 197329 ) on Monday July 30, 2007 @04:00AM (#20039661)

    Blocking a sidewalk or part of a street, barring entry to buildings and businesses and holding up traffic both vehicle or pedestrian can cause a nightmare.

    These all seem like sensible criteria for requiring a permit. They also make the case that getting a permit for such activities should not just be a case of filling in some form, residents and business owners that will be affected should be informed as well and have a chance to object or suggest changes to timetables to fit better with their lives. But two people using a tripod do not cause such disruption, and should not have to seek permission to take photos.

  • by GizmoToy ( 450886 ) on Monday July 30, 2007 @04:10AM (#20039699) Homepage
    While they claim it's not targeted at amateurs and tourists, it clearly applies directly to them. For example, a tour group of 5 or more people where at least one is holding a camera cannot stay in a single area for more than 10 minutes. The way it's written no one even has to be taking photographs for it to apply. One member of the group merely having a camera visible is enough to trigger these new rules.

    How about if you're sitting on a bench reviewing the day's photos? If you're by yourself and have been there for 30 minutes, you better have a permit and $1 million insurance coverage. Add in the fact that they're saying the permits may take as many as 30 days to acquire plus proof of insurance and what you've done is effectively outlawed amateur and tourist photography.

    Blocking sidewalks and streets is a serious issue, but commercial photography that impedes traffic already requires permits. No changes are required for that. Chances are good that the people you're complaining about have secured all the necessary permits. I rarely if ever see an amateur causing traffic problems. Tourists often do, but they can cause problems whether they're taking pictures or not.

    Despite their stated intentions, this appears squarely aimed at either deterring amateur photography or providing a reason to question and detain anyone with a camera.
  • by tekrat ( 242117 ) on Monday July 30, 2007 @04:17AM (#20039741) Homepage Journal
    For those of you who do not remember the Tompkins Square Park Police Riot, here's the Wikipedia link []. Police clubbed people on the head, regardless of who they were (even the press were beaten, there only to report on the incident).

    Were it not for amateur videographers, it would have been the victims word alone versus the cops, and everyone knows the judge will side with the cops.

    They will twist this law to confiscate any cell-phone, video camera, ipod, or other device that might bear witness to the over-reaching authority of the police-state of NY. Cops will have the ability to harass, beat, or otherwise abuse anyone they please, and no one will be able to bring in their evidence, because the shooting of such incident did not have a "permit".

    I'm moving to Canada.
  • by bky1701 ( 979071 ) on Monday July 30, 2007 @04:18AM (#20039749) Homepage
    You probably would be. Until you lost your job because the economy died there. Removing a large part of any economy is a bad idea in most cases, regardless of how much you dislike it.
  • by whereiswaldo ( 459052 ) on Monday July 30, 2007 @05:54AM (#20040157) Journal

    Blocking a sidewalk or part of a street, barring entry to buildings and businesses and holding up traffic both vehicle or pedestrian can cause a nightmare.

    Then make a law that bans those things! What does this have to do with photography, other than some photographers do these things?
  • by Archtech ( 159117 ) on Monday July 30, 2007 @06:15AM (#20040249)
    Depends how you look at it. The way I see things, Americans as a people have never been particularly liberal. There have been many outstanding liberal Americans, but mostly they were swimming against the tide.

    240 years ago a bunch of (mostly) propertied, upper-class, far-liberal Americans got together and wrote the Constitution of the United States of America. Ever since, the majority of Americans have been simultaneously proud of this document (which allows them to feel better than everyone else), and dismissive of its actual ideas. Now, at last, a majority of them has elected a President who is prepared to put an end to quarter of a millennium of pretence. At last, Americans can relax and enjoy the authoritarian government that so many of them clearly prefer.

    That's great news for Americans (except for the minority of troublemaking liberals), but rather queasy for the rest of the world.
  • by Jafafa Hots ( 580169 ) on Monday July 30, 2007 @07:07AM (#20040525) Homepage Journal
    "oh, and a big fuck you to whomever modded me as flamebait. The ACLU has defended the worst scum on the earth under the guise of 'civil rights' for decades."

    Look, I don't like Rush Limbaugh any more than you do, but he deserves his rights just as much as anyone else.

  • by Angostura ( 703910 ) on Monday July 30, 2007 @07:09AM (#20040535)
    That's right. Only nice people have civil rights. We all know that. And what's with these lawyers defending people in court who are clearly guilty. Eh?

  • by iBod ( 534920 ) on Monday July 30, 2007 @07:39AM (#20040703)
    >>Perhaps you don't realize the extent of liberalism in the way the American people embraced rushing to save the rest of the world in the 1940's.

    The US would probably never have joined WWII had it not been for the Pearl Harbor attack. The US populace were on the whole quite indifferent to the war in Europe and would have been quite happy for Hitler to have taken over.

    As for "rushing to save the rest of the world", the Russians did far more to defeat Hitler, at huge cost to themselves.
  • Re:Great (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 30, 2007 @07:40AM (#20040709)
    If you think Bush is entirely to blame for the near-exponential growth of the US federal government over the past century -- or if you think his administration is the sole beneficiary of this rapid consolidation of power -- you'd better have another look.

    A very hard look.

    There's a reason why the US government of today (not only federal, but state and local) dwarfs the US government of only 100 years ago -- both in revenue and power over the people -- and it's not because making government bigger is unprofitable for those in the business of government.
  • by Archtech ( 159117 ) on Monday July 30, 2007 @07:41AM (#20040719)
    "Perhaps you don't realize the extent of liberalism in the way the American people embraced rushing to save the rest of the world in the 1940's. I'm not talking about the decisions made by our government or corporations, I'm talking about the way regular Americans rose to the challenge. That was a completely liberal act".

    I never indulge in vulgar personal abuse, but those remarks strongly tempt me. Perhaps *you* don't realize that:

    1. The USA did not lift a finger to help Britain (or Poland, or France, or Denmark, or Holland, or Belgium, or Norway, or Yugoslavia, or Greece, or the USSR) when they were attacked by Nazi Germany. The USA assiduously sat on its hands while France was conquered and Britain went through the near-death experiences of the Battle of Britain and the Blitz. It did nothing to stop Hitler conquering all of Europe, and it was only by chance that it finally entered the war shortly after the Soviets decisively turned back the Wehrmacht at the very gates of Moscow. During all of this - the first 2 years, 3 months, and 10 days of the war (very nearly the first half) - the USA remained neutral.

    2. While neutral, the USA supplied food, weapons, and other goods to Britain. But every single item was paid for in full, then or later. (As a British taxpayer I know this only too well - we made the last repayment a year or two back). Many of the USA's far-flung military bases around the world were handed over by Britain in part payment for the supplies we needed to continue fighting.

    3. The USA entered the war only when Japan and, a week later, Germany, declared war on it. At that point, it became impossible to stay neutral. Congress even declared war on Germany, a redundant act since a state of war already existed after the German declaration. No doubt the Congresscritters already saw the value in future of being able to talk about "the day the USA declared war on Germany". All that "regular Americans" rose to was the challenge of defending their country against two Fascist dictatorships that had declared war on it - the very least they could do, if they didn't want to end up speaking German and being ruled from Berlin. They took the war to Europe because they had to - the Nazis already had detailed plans for nuclear weapons, and intercontinental delivery systems to hit American cities.

    My father fought in WW2 (all of it) and my mother was ready to do her bit with a rifle in case of invasion, so I have a very personal interest in the facts. It is ironic that, the one time the USA had the chance to take down a really vicious, murderous dictator, it chose to remain neutral until he declared war on it. Moreover, directly contrary to what you say about "the people", historians agree that FDR would have liked to join the war against Hitler earlier - but he found it politically impossible, because the people were dead set against it.

    So please, let's not have any more garbage about how America rushed to save the rest of the world in the 1940s, or any other time.
  • by Dhalka226 ( 559740 ) on Monday July 30, 2007 @08:04AM (#20040863)

    Perhaps you don't realize the extent of liberalism in the way the American people embraced rushing to save the rest of the world in the 1940's.

    Likely because we did no such thing. The vast majority of Americans wanted nothing to do with the war. We were, we thought, safely cocooned in our isolationism, and after the hundreds of thousands of sons we lost too few years ago to a European war we were largely content to let the rest of the world handle its own affairs. That is why we permitted the war to rage on for several years before we had anything to do with it. It's true that our president realized we had to get involved, and was steering public opinion in that way, but he was having a tough time of it. He had to invent programs such as the Lend-Lease act just so he could offer what aid he could.

    We got involved when we were attacked. What you really saw was a groundswell of indignation and patriotism, rather than a concern for others. We got involved, we did a good job and turned the tide of the war. As we found out more and more about what was going on we were probably very happy that we did, but to imply Americans were just rising up to save the world is demonstrably false.

    But when pushed, even those of us that are fat and comfortable will fight to stay free. It just takes a while to wake us up.

    I disagree, or else we are very slow to wake up. We can hardly be bothered--to the tune of some 62% turnout--to vote when the elections have important implications on our freedom. Even last election, after the Patriot Act, and Guantanamo Bay, and domestic spying, and Valerie Plame, and even the Iraq War itself, retention for our Congressmen was nearly 90%. At least in my estimation we are already given up too much freedom with too little fight.

    As far as the Founders go, I think they tended on the liberal side of things for their time. Many of their ideas were certainly revolutionary. It was, for example, the first time in history that, enshrined in a document (constitution), was the idea that a government's power came from the people it governs. Today that gets a resounding "duh," but it was liberal back then.

    The problem is really our complacency. We are so very proud of our Constitution and our Founders and the ideas we introduced to the world--and rightly so, I think--that we focus on it and lose sight of the fact that other countries have made progress and we really haven't. It reminds me of the quote, "it only takes 20 years for a liberal to become a conservative without changing a single idea."

    America has become a conservative nation, and I think that is a travesty.

    The price of freedom is eternal vigilance, wrote Thomas Jefferson. We've done it a great disservice by providing only complacency and living in our past successes.

  • by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Monday July 30, 2007 @08:41AM (#20041115) Homepage
    You mention professional photographers using low-end SLR cameras. With the advancement of Digital cameras, it's not uncommon to see amateurs, like families on vacation, using what appears to be a very professional camera. Also, it's not uncommon to see professionals using what looks like the camera an amateur would use. Also, I've seen a lot of professionals not using tripods. Does getting rid of the tripod immediately mean that you don't require a permit? The lines here seem very blurred here. Just because someone is using a tripod and a nice camera doesn't mean they are a professional, just as someone using a cheap camera with no tripod can be a professional.
  • Fuck NYC (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 30, 2007 @09:27AM (#20041641)
    Dear Authorities, re. "photo pass" in NYC,

    I was planning to travel to NYC, since it used to represent me the American Dream, the freedom of the New World.
    The Statue of Liberty became bigger than life - it represented freedom, probably more than it could have anywhere in the whole world.
    With your photo pass requirement you are turning "Miss Liberty" to this ugly woman, standing lonely in the sea.
    You are also turning NYC into something else than it used to be... a nothing special, big, dirty, noisy city... just like the other similar ones around the world.

    Dear Authorities, if that's your new dream about America, that's fine. You can have it - but I am not interested in it.
    I will visit other parts of the world, in which authorities can fight whatever enemies they need to fight without photo pass.
    Best wishes, but you will have to fight your deamons all by yourself - without the rest of the world.

    While you do that, we will travel around trying to explore where in the world emerges the New New York City - where the Statue of Liberty is bigger than life, not just a sad lonely woman.
  • a good propagandizer never lies. he just presents facts out of context, outside of the larger whole


    "john punched sally who then punched john back"

    bad propaganda from a friend of john:

    "sally is evil"

    good propaganda from a friend of john:

    "sally punched john"

    good propaganda tells the truth 100%, but it doesn't actually represent what happened, because it omits the facts of the whole story, and only presents those facts which, when considered in a vacuum, leads one to an invalid opinion

    same with the facts the guy i responded to writes about the usa's contribution to world war ii. i do not dispute their factuality in any way. what i do dispute is that those facts alone represent the truth of history

    another word for propaganda is half-truths. that's eactly what facts without context are: half of the truth. the stuff of pointless partisan bickering
  • by Archtech ( 159117 ) on Monday July 30, 2007 @10:39AM (#20042591)
    "Looks like anti-Americanism is still in fashion at slashdot".

    And yet I'm not anti-American. On the contrary, I'm very much pro-American - you have no idea how much. I just won't let you get away with saying things that are downright untrue about the historical record. And the fact that A criticizes B does not mean that A hates B, or even dislikes them. One of the toughest tests of friendship is willingness to offer honest criticism, even if it is resented.

    "Apparently US history classes AREN'T the worst in the world after all".

    I have no opinion on that, although I do recall Ambrose Bierce's comment that, "War is God's way of teaching Americans geography". I have a degree in history from Cambridge University, and I have read a lot about this subject. Fear of Nazi nukes was of course not the only reason for US involvement in Africa and Europe: if you don't win a war, you will eventually lose it, so it was essential to attack Germany. By the time the US forces arrived, though, the Soviets had already strategically won the European war.

    As another poster pointed out, you will not find any of my facts to be wrong. Ask any competent historian, or (if you prefer) consult a reliable history book.
  • by Archtech ( 159117 ) on Monday July 30, 2007 @11:05AM (#20042897)
    'Like "The USA did not lift a finger to help Britain (or Poland, or France, or Denmark, or Holland, or Belgium, or Norway, or Yugoslavia, or Greece, or the USSR) when they were attacked by Nazi Germany. "?

    That's downright untrue'.

    Now please say what is untrue about it. Facts, please.

    'The first part is also untrue -- war can end in a stalemate, with no clear winners or losers. The second is speculation; IMO, without the western front, the Nazis could have held against the Soviets and partitioned Europe between them'.

    A very few wars may have petered out through mutual exhaustion or lack of will - like the Korean War, for instance. No war involving Nazis was ever likely to peter out, any more than a fight against a shark in an enclosed space.

    Your opinion may be that the Nazis could have held out against the Soviets if no second front had been established. It's part of the charm of history that we can't do repeatable experiments. But I don't think anyone who knows the facts would agree with you. Immediately after D-Day, the Soviets launched Operation Bagration which, although unknown to most Westerners, was bigger and more successful in every way. Even if every single German soldier, tank, and aircraft deployed in the West had been on the Eastern front instead, nothing could have stopped immense attacks like Bagration and those that followed.
  • by snowwrestler ( 896305 ) on Monday July 30, 2007 @11:39AM (#20043341)
    The language of the rule (posted above in this thread) does not specify a "crew" of 5. It simply specifies any "interaction among five or more people" that involves a tripod and takes longer than 10 minutes total. I have four siblings and two parents, so according to the language I can't take longer than 10 minutes to take a family portrait in Central Park. According to the language I couldn't even bring my tripod to a family picnic.

    I agree with you that the intended effect of this rule is entirely reasonable. The crucial point you are missing is that the actual language of the rule is so poorly worded that it would also allow all sorts of terrible, unintended side effects. The protest is simply that the law is terribly written--dangerously so. Think of it as a request for a technical correction if that helps.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 30, 2007 @12:36PM (#20044207)
    Now really. You need a permit for a gun and does THAT effectively stop criminals?

    Do you really think that requiring a permit is going to stop terrorists? I mean, my cell phone, blackberry, palm pilot, treo all have cameras. I can buy a 5-10MP digital camera that's half the size of a pack of cigarettes. So small you can palm it and no one would know you're carrying it.

    Seriously, what is with the paranoia about people taking pictures of buildings, bridges or tunnels? It's utterly INSANE. Does anyone think Al'Queda needed diagrams of the WTC site to say 'hmm, let's fly a plane into each of those big square things that people work in'????

    I'm astounded, disappointed, and scared about where our society is going. Does anyone realize we've killed more people shooting guns around iraq (mind you, the terrorists were from afghanistan!) than died in every terrorist attack in the US and EU in the past 20 years? How is this effective? They've killed more solders post-9/11 than they people ON 9/11. How, preciscely are we "WINNING" anything? You have to figure, a trained soldier is a more 'valuable' target for a terrorist than an ordinary citizen (training, costs, ability to retailiate) so if we kill them 10:1 - THEY'RE STILL WINNING IN THEIR MINDS. And bush wonders why we haven't killed them all yet.

    Back to the point: The government has no realistic reason to create a law such as this. Make permits available for large gatherings - movies, demonstrations, etc. - that way an Citizen has the ability to inform the Government if something he's doing might require extra care or precautions. It's practical to want police available if you're gathering 10,000 people for a county fair. It's sensible to want the local government to know if you're going to stage a brutal shooting for a movie so someone doesn't shoot you by accident (for real) not knowing it was all fake. It's a courtesy...well it should be considered one.

    For no reason what-so-ever should a law enforcement official have the duty, right, ability, or power to prevent you from doing anything peacable in a public space. Run around shooting people, yes - they should probably get involved. Take pictures of every crack in the sidewalk on Broadway from 110th to 1st street in NYC? Well, you're an idiot but you should be left alone. You pay taxes, taxes fund such areas, therefore you're paying for them and should have access to anywhere designated PUBLIC. Even tourists pay taxes - hotel tax, sales tax, airline extortion (erm, i mean tax).

    Meh. I'd pack up and leave but there's no where substantially better to go. Yet. Things are getting worse.
  • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Monday July 30, 2007 @01:00PM (#20044557) Homepage Journal

    Another open letter

    Ms. Oliver:

    My friend, I regret that I will not be able to use my camcorder to record your wedding in Central Park this weekend, as the City of New York has deemed it necessary to have a permit because more than two people are involved and I'd like to use a tripod. I'm sorry your precious memories will not be able to be captured without requiring you to hire a professional videographer, but you simply can't expect your friends and family to carry a million dollars in liability insurance.

    Of course, we could shoot without a tripod and get around this if you are willing to shorten your wedding to no more than thirty minutes. I'm sure your guests would not object. Let me know what you decide.

    Your brother, Steve

"An organization dries up if you don't challenge it with growth." -- Mark Shepherd, former President and CEO of Texas Instruments