Sunday, July 29, 2007

On the "New Rules" and Changing Them

As pointed out by CFoA (Certified Friend of Actualities) Ryan Gallagher there is an e-petition relating to proposed new regulations on photography and filming in New York located here.

In general, I resist online petitions. They are less effective than letter writing. Often, they are written in a way that is overly rhetorical. As well, they make us feel we have taken a stand on an issue when we've taken minimal action.

Nonetheless, since I agree with the spirit of this protest -- that we should resist the erosion of our freedoms in general, and that the First Amendment protects photography and filmmaking both in public and in private -- I have signed the petition.

The New York Times article on this states:

The new rules, which were proposed by the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting, would require any group of two or more people who want to use a camera in a public place for more than 30 minutes to get a city permit and $1 million in liability insurance. The same requirements would apply to any group of five or more people who plan to use a tripod in a public location for more than 10 minutes, including the time it takes to set up the equipment. The permits would be free.
I encourage you to research the issue, of course. When you have, or if the above is scary enough for you, WRITE a letter -- on paper, signed and with your return address on it, using enough postage -- and send it to:
The Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre & Broadcasting
1697 Broadway Suite 602, New York, New York 10019
I assure you that -- as sexy as Web petitioning is -- written letters are weighted much, much, much more heavily by those in public office. They require time to deal with, and are much harder to ignore.

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