Authorities Halt the Ban on Commercial Portraits Following a Photographer’s Lawsuit

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Back in February we reported that Josephine Havlak, a commercial photographer from St. Louis, sued the village of Twin Oaks over its decision to ban commercial photography in the local park.

Following her lawsuit, the village’s board of trustees has decided to refrain from enforcing the ban for at least 45 days, while the village negotiates with Havlak’s attorney.

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Spying Photographer Beats Privacy Claims Thanks to a 113-Year-Old Law

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Many of you may remember Arne Svenson, the New York artist who photographed his neighbors in their homes using a telephoto lens and used them in an exhibition.

Svenson began the project after watching Alfred Hitchcocks’ “Rear Window” and being advised by a lawyer that the presumption of privacy is minimal in such a jam-packed city.

The “Neighbors” exhibition was obviously very controversial and led to some of the subjects suing Svenson, though the NY Country Supreme Court dismissed the case in 2013.

A Manhattan appeals court agreed with the previous court ruling, citing the photographer was in the clear due to a law from 1902, and urged legislators to consider a reform to the privacy laws.

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Colorado Introduces “Right to Record” Bill Punishing Police Officers Interfering With Photographers

Colorado Police

In a pleasantly surprising yet most welcome turn of events legislators have proposed a bill that will protect photographers’ rights and increase police oversight, rather than limit them suggested by several recent bills.

Unlike the bill proposed in the nearby state of Texas, banning photography within 25 feet of police, Colorado’s bill seeks to punish officers who interfere with lawful recordings of police activity by imposing significant penalties on violators.

The bill, titled “Concerning Prohibiting A Peace Officer From Interfering With A Person Lawfully Recording A Peace Officer-Involved Incident”, is just one of the steps being considered in order to increase police oversight in Colorado and hopefully it will lead to similar legislation in other states.

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Indiana Amends Law Allowing Photographers to Refuse Same-Sex Clients After Being Blasted By the White House

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The state of Indiana recently approved a law allowing businesses to decline same-sex clients. Bill supporters promoted it stating that “Christian bakers, florists and photographers should not be punished for refusing to participate in a homosexual marriage!”.

Prior to signing the amendment Indiana governor Mike Pence continued to protect the law claiming it is identical to the 1993 federal religious freedom law.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Pence and other state officials are in “damage control mode”, and debunked the governor’s lies about the similarity between the two laws.

The following day an amendment was approved by Indiana’s House, Senate and governor, though not without resistance.

While this law did not refer solely to photographers, the only court case of a business being sued due to a state-level religious freedom act was against a photographer.

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Arkansas Governor Vetoes Bill Threatening to Criminalize Photographers Worldwide

 

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We recently reported Senate Bill 79 which intended to protect people from unauthorized commercial use without the person’s written consent, but in reality threatened to end street photography and criminalize photographers worldwide.

The huge outcry regarding the proposed law worked and Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson has just announced that he had vetoed the bill.

Bill supporters may attempt to override the veto, but the National Press Photographers Association states this is a clear win for photographers’ rights.

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AP Photographer’s Afghan Killer Sentenced To 20 Years in Prison

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Former Afghan police unit commander Naqibullah, who received a death sentence following the murder of Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus and wounding AP correspondent Kathy Gannon, will not be executed after all.

Afghanistan’s Supreme Court overturned the Primary Court’s decision from last July and decided to sentence Naqibullah to 20 years in prison instead.

According to AP lawyer, Zahid Safi, that is the maximum jail sentence in the country.

Niedringhaus and Gannon were in the country covering the presidential elections of 2014 when they were attacked.

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Arkansas Wants Every Person in Your Photos To Sign a Model Release. EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON.

Every. Single. One.

Every. Single. One.

The next case in a seemingly never ending list of bills aimed at limiting photographers’ rights is SB-79 which was passed by the Arkansas Senate on Tuesday.

The bill aims to “Enact the Personal Rights Protection Act: and to Protect the Property Rights of an Individual to the Use of the Individual’s Name, Voice, Signature, and Likeness”, and according to the American Society of Media Photographers it “expands the individual’s Right of Publicity to an unprecedented extreme”.

The bill would require explicit written consent for photographers or videographers to include an individual’s likeness in a photograph that is used for practically any purpose within the state of Arkansas. Several Fair Use exemptions have been made, but they’re far from being ideal.

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‘Police Buffer Zone’ Bill Attacked By Law Enforcement Groups and Legal Experts

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The bill proposing to ban recording police within 25-feet of them faced strong opposition from concerned citizens and civil right activists, and was said to be changed to 15-feet after its author received death threats.

What might be the bill’s death strike has now come from legal experts as well as the very same people the bill claims to be assisting.

Refusing to get out of the headlines, Jason Villalba is now spearheading another controversial bill.

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