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Your Insurance, Please, or No Photos


NY Times: New York City May Seek Permit and Insurance for Many Kinds of Public Photography. Some tourists, amateur photographers, even would-be filmmakers hoping to make it big on YouTube could soon be forced to obtain a city permit and $1 million in liability insurance before taking pictures or filming on city property, including sidewalks.

Combine money-grubbing officials with paranoia, and you get this absurd situation…

Update: Jon Garfunkel, in the comments and in an email, persuades me that I was unfair in this posting by assuming only one side. Nonetheless, the ACLU’s concerns (in the article) strike me as more believable than the city’s assurances.

1 Comment on “Your Insurance, Please, or No Photos”

  1. #1 Jon Garfunkel
    on Jul 1st, 2007 at 6:45 am

    Sigh. A worrisome lede, sure. But the motivation as explained in the article is far less paranoid (David Ardia noted this). Basically, much of this stems from an Indian documentary fillmmaker getting harassed in 2005 for using a handheld camera; he asked to see the rules, and there were no written guidelines at all.

    Incidentally, the new indie Irish film Once was shot without permits in Dublin. It’s made $3.4m domestically on a $150K production.

    I would recommend that the citmedia movement, if they want to challenge any subset of the rules, should come up with some detailed cases, actual or hypothetical, and test how they would fly against the rules. It’s clear from the rules that the police are not going to ticket every tourist.

    Also, there’s various municipal laws already on the books regarding taking photos in transit facilities, NYC and elsewhere: