New Bill Could Penalize Well Intentioned Photographers With Fines & Possible Jail Time

4684298835_2592497db6_bWyoming is unquestionably a gorgeous state and one that’s coveted by landscape and wildlife photographers around the world. With Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Tetons, or one of the other vast and countless parks, it’s one of the United State’s more untouched states, providing photographers a wide offering of natural backdrops to photograph. However, according to a report published by Slate, a new bill (SF0012) has gone into effect which may have some photographers facing up to five years jail time.

“photos are a type of data, and the new law makes it a crime to gather data about the condition of the environment across most of the state if you plan to share that data with the state or federal government.”

The law, titled ‘Trespassing to collect data’, states that any individual collecting data (photographs included) on open land without written or verbal permission to be collecting data is punishable by $1000 fine, up to one year jail time, or both. Repeat offenders would face a fine of up to $5000 and/or a jail sentence of up to 5 years[Read more…]

What Airlines Aren’t Telling You About Their Photography Policy–Until It’s Too Late

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As photographer’s rights continue to make their way to the headlines, the Washington Post chimed in on the subject with a public service announcement of sorts informing photographers of the restrictions in which many commercial airlines are beginning to enforce. While it may not come as a surprise to many of you that airline employees have the right to tell photographers to turn off their cameras, the lack of an actual policy may be slightly more unexpected. [Read more…]

The Ansel Adams Act Goes To Congress; Details Clear Laws Protecting 1st Amendment Rights Of Photographers

ansel adams actIn the United States, the work of photographers and photojournalists is protected under the 1st Amendment which states: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. And, in a perfect world, the constitutional rights granted by the amendment would never be violated. But, perfect the world is not and it seems like photographers are being unjustly accosted on a regular basis.

Think of all the news stories you’ve read that pretty much read the same: a photographer from Any City, USA was arrested, threatened with arrest, threatened with seizure of equipment, or otherwise harassed for exercising their First Amendment right of taking photos in a public place. A quick search on DIYP alone using the “Photography Is Not A Crime” keyword yields you a dizzying amount of such stories. Not to mention the motions made by the Federal Government, which restrict and sometimes prohibit photography in National Parks.

I’m willing to admit that not every single case of harassment towards a photographer is unjust. In reality, there’s always that one jackass who ruins it for everyone, but a good number of these types of cases violate the rights of photographers and, quite frankly, we’re fed up.

[Read more…]

A Guide To Photographer’s Rights (And What To Do If You Get Arrested)

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Hopefully, none of you will ever actually be in a situation where this would be useful, but Mickey Osterreicher, General Counsel for The National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), sat down to make a quick, but helpful, informational video regarding the legal rights of photojournalists. In the video, which is a 3 minute long gem of a sound bite, Osterreicher, explains several different scenarios photographers working in public places often find themselves in and what they can do to prevent interactions with the police from escalating.

Given recent situations regarding the possible violations of photographer’s rights in Ferguson, Missouri and other demonstrations around the country, the video is certainly worth taking a look at. [Read more…]

New York City Police Department Issued Memo On Photographers Rights…Finally

Photography Is Not A Crime. Right?

Photography Is Not A Crime. Right?

In a memo handed down to New York City Police precincts on Wednesday, the Chief of Department, Philip Banks, reminded his staff that photographers do indeed have the right to photograph on duty police officers. This comes two long years after the Washington DC police force issued a strikingly similar notice to its officers. It also follows the tragic death of a Staten Island man that was killed after being placed in a chokehold by a member of the NYPD. The memo instructs police officers to not interfere or interrupt photographers unless the are explicitly interfering with operations being performed by the officers.

“Members of the public are legally allowed to record police interactions. Intentional interference such as blocking or obstructing cameras or ordering the person to cease constitutes censorship and also violates the First Amendment.”

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Walmart’s Latest Classless Move: Suing a Photographer’s Widowed Wife

Picture taken from Walmart Corporate on Flickr.

Picture taken from Walmart Corporate on Flickr.

It’s amazing how perfect the narrative of this story is; Americans love suing, and who not better to be the plaintiff than one of our country’s biggest corporations? Walmart, a company that builds breeding grounds for American stereotypes (and supermarkets), is filing a lawsuit against the wife of a now-deceased photographer. What’s the dispute? They want the rights to photographs taken by the late husband and his father of the Walton family themselves.

[Read more…]