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.

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

photographers-rights-(1)
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.

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