New York street photographers and indie filmmakers say their First Amendment rights are still at risk under newly revised regulations put forth by the Mayor's Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting (MOFTB). Following a summer- long outcry from artists and activists over the first draft of rules published on May 25—which largely prohibited shooting in the city without a permit and $1 million insurance policy—the city redrew its guidelines and released a friendlier version on October 30. But the battle is far from over.
I Turn My Camera On
But as much as the decision rests with the MOFTB, it's the NYPD that continually arises as the biggest obstruction to artists' civil liberties. Says Dunn, "The real issue is the cops, which is always, frankly, the biggest issue. That's where most photographers and filmmakers encounter real-life problems."
"Do you think cops will measure the sidewalk to mark how eight feet must be clear?" asked video artist Juliana Luecking at the hearing. "Will they wear [measuring tapes] on their gun belt? Like the first proposal, these regulations give law-enforcement officials the power to prohibit my right to use a camera in public—and shield itself from lawsuits."