The New York City Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting (MOFTB) has proposed new rules governing the shooting of film or still photography in New York that are downright fascist in nature. In a move that has drawn massive protests, including over 16,000 signatures to an online petition set up by Picture New York, the MOFTB has proposed a set of rules changes that do nothing but serve to punish New York’s still and moving picture photographers. Not only that, but the rules changes are confusing as hell, leaving the cops open to harass the hell out of photographers, left and right. The MOFTB site summarizes the changes thusly:
1) Film or still photography activity involving a tripod and a crew of 5 or more persons (at one site for 10 or more minutes) would require a permit, or the same activity among two people at a single site for more than 30 minutes. However, note that this situation is RARE for recreational photographers.
Nice of them to tell us, the actual people it affects, how RARE this situation it is.
2) Applicants unable to meet the insurance requirement may be eligible for a waiver of insurance.
3) Still photographers engaged in “permitted” activity (activity where you need a permit) would require insurance. “Permitted” activity can include (emph. mine) those where vehicles or equipment other than hand-held cameras are used.
“Can include?” Can you be MORE vague, please?
The confusion has already started, since the MOFTB neglects to mention “including all set-up and breakdown time in connection with such activities” in their summary, but does include it in the actual text of the regulations, found elsewhere on their site.
One of the big problems is, the new (and existing) rules seem to imply that whatever is not SPECIFICALLY named as being permit-free, DOES need one, which is a ridiculous way of looking at things. It should the other way around, i.e. “Activities A-F require permits, everything else is fair game.” The former leaves the rules widely open to interpretation by the police. Never a good thing.
I am a born and bred New Yorker and I have seen the city that I love slowly turn from one of the most vibrant, exciting and culturally relevant places on Earth into just another big city. This proposed crackdown on the personal liberties of the city’s artistic community is yet another offense against the memory of what New York was (and still can be). Please, contact the mayor’s office and let them know how you feel. Also, my fellow blogger Eugene Hernandez is collecting comments on his website and he will forwarding them on to the Mayor’s office.