Re: protest nyc's proposed film and photo law Thurs Aug 2 Union Sq

From: flick harrison (email suppressed)
Date: Fri Aug 03 2007 - 08:11:24 PDT

(REPLYING TO JIM CARLILE. BTW Jim, I do sort of admire your lone
struggle on the frameworks list. You've given many of us the
opportunity to mouth off on this topic which might otherwise have died.)

The law does indeed say that certain activities (i.e. 2 people, sans
tripod, for 30 minutes) DO NOT require a permit, and is thus a clear
right-to-film rule, and maybe that's better than a rules vacuum in
which the police can harrass anyone.

A better solution would be to order the police to stop harrassing
people in a rules vacuum. Why do bullies get to make the rules?

If a guy came into your house and punched you, would you like a new
law that says, "no one may punch you unless they have been in your
house for 30 minutes?"

And again, why would police respect the "new" right to film under
certain conditions, when they didn't respect the previous right to
film anywhere, anytime?

I say, don't arrest anyone. It's unconstitutional.

And you, Jim, seem to be confusing "arbitrary" with "unpredictable."
30 minutes is arbitrary. 2 people is arbitrary. Just because it's
written down doesn't make it non-arbitrary.

> ---This doesn't give them legal power to do what they were
> doing. It gives
> people the right to film on public property without
> interference.

The first amendment doesn't set out permit regulations and limits for
free speech. The first amendment specifically limits government's
power to enact laws that restrict free speech. There's a big
difference. (And, I might add, the one trumps the other).

Crews get 30
> minutes. Solo artists are unlimited. Before these rules, cops
> made arbitrary
> decisions, like harassing people who were photographing the
> Triborough
> Bridge. Now they can't do that.

Again - your definition of "artist = solo" is baffling to me in the
context of filmmaking (not to mention arbitrary). Film art often
requires group activity.

To make it clearer: at one point, in Vancouver where I live, it
became almost impossible to rent an apartment if you had a cat. A
bunch of people (clearly otherwise idle) launched a class-action and
forced a court ruling that said that cat-owners, as a class, could
not be discriminated against.

The result? Landlords were forced to come up with actual REASONS to
keep out cat owners. One place I looked at, the landlord said "Cat
hair clogs up the vents."

In other words, when there's a legal decision or new rule, those who
have power can continue the same behaviour in new forms.

I.e., under these new rules, the police can still harrass any
filmmaker they want. If the filmmaker whips out the new law and
tries to defend themselves, the police could easily say, "Well,
you're blocking the sidewalk," or whatever BS they used to say
previously - when there was no restriction on filming.

I can't tell you how many times I've seen police threaten to charge
people with "public mischief" (a crime with no official definition)
if the citizen was well-versed in their rights.

BUT - those things that are specifically restricted in the new law,
are now entirely off the table for filmmakers. The things that are
specifically allowed in the new rules, there's no guarantee that
police will respect those rights any more than they respect the pre-
existing right to film anywhere, anytime.

> ---They are not unconstitutional. "Artists" can do whatever they
> want to,
> for unlimited times. That's a good break. Only crews need
> permits-- and only
> after 30 minutes. No one's dictating content.

Why shouldn't groups of artists have the same rights as solo
artists? Baffling. The constitution makes no such distinction. (Hey,
I'm Canadian and even I know that).

Camera + Actor + Director = 3 artists.

And dictating content is irrelevant - I think you would agree, for
example, that shutting down a newspaper would be just as repressive
as dictating its content.

> ---News crews are exempt from the new rules. Before you get
> hysterical about
> them, I suggest you read them.

Har har, it is to laugh. I have read the rules. News crews are
exempted only if they have a police-issued press pass.

> "In my experience, cops can push anyone around who isn't
> carrying a
> photocopy of the court decision relating to their rights being
> particularly infringed
> at that moment and / or talks like a lawyer."
> ---Not any more.


> "See what happens if you don't have a permit and some shopkeeper
> calls in a
> complaint the second you whip out a camera. I imagine the
> cops will arrive
> and find some reason to move you along, 30 minutes or no."
> ---Not any more. Can't happen with the new rules. That was the
> whole point
> of them.


> "Free if you qualify."
> ---Everyone qualifies.

If they have insurance. And apply in advance.

I do notice that permit waivers are possible under the proposed
rules. Wonder what kind of paperwork and time will be involved in
that process?!

> "What's commercial filmmaking? Youtube is commercial."
> ---No it's not. In fact, the NYC rules appear to allow even
> commercial
> interests to film without permits for a short period of time.
> That's a good deal.

Why the sarcastic quotes around "artists" but not around
"commercial?" Or "crew" for that matter?

> I don't know what's worse: the fact that some of you guys are
> getting
> hysterical over this, or that you don't have the slightest idea
> what you are
> talking about when it comes to the specifics.

Conservatives always call the opposition hysterical. I could say
you're hysterically supportive of the new rules, if 'hysterical'
wasn't such a problematic term.

Maybe I should say you are getting testostical about the rules.

>This is hardly
> repression. There are
> some valid objections to them, but not many. And I get a big
> laugh out of the
> "spontaneous" or "guerrilla" need to film in NYC-- for more than
> 30 minutes!!

You're right! How could anything spontaneous occur for longer than
30 minutes!

We now have some insight into your sex life.


Ouch! I admit that was uncalled for. Sorry.

For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.