The New York City Mayor’s Office of Theater, Film, and Broadcasting has recently proposed regulations that would hinder the ability of even casual photographers and filmmakers to operate in New York City. According to the proposal, groups of two or more would have just 30 minutes—including setup and breakdown time—to photograph or film any single location in the city; if you wanted to be at a site for any longer than 30 minutes, a city permit and $1 million in liability insurance are required.
This is clearly not good for independent artists and anyone interested in maintaining New York’s standing as one of the world’s creative capitals. If these rules were in place, The West Side as you know it would certainly not exist, nor would countless other works of photography and film.
According to Donna Lieberman (no relation), Executive Director of The New York Civil Liberties Union, “This requirement makes no sense, violates the First Amendment right to photograph in public places, and opens the door to selective and discriminatory enforcement.”
While the city undoubtedly needs new, written guidelines on public filming, it must be clear and thoughtful policy that promotes independent art and artists. This most recent proposal is not the best solution.
If you’re reading this in time (and you’re in New York City) come speak out at the Rally for the 1st Amendment in Union Square on Friday July 27th, 2007 at 6:30 pm.