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

From: Jim Carlile (email suppressed)
Date: Fri Aug 03 2007 - 17:39:18 PDT

There's nothing wrong with reasonable permit rules for groups. Next time a
large group of "filmakers' is outside your flat making noise and blocking the
sidewalk, let me hear you scream about free speech.

I am just amazed at the lack of clear thinking on this issue. Witness:
>(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?
But there are pre-existing rules. There's no rules vacuum. Police were also
invoking other rules to justify their harassment. That can't happen any more.
It's a good deal in general.

>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?"
That's private property-- a stupid analogy.

>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?
There was no previous right to film anywhere, anytime. That's a myth.

>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.
Two people is a group. Localities have a right to require filming permits
for all sorts of reasons. It's that simple. It's not a wholesale restriction on

>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).
You have no idea what you are talking about. It's not a free speech issue.
It actually has nothing to do with "speech," it's the right of assembly, if
anything, because these rules only apply to GROUPS in public places. If you were
 correct, then why do courts uphold parade permit requirements? It's a
similar problem.

>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.
Not any more. The new rules allow free activity. And your analogy is
ridiculous. Unlike landlords, there's no qualification on these rules. And again,
there have ALWAYS been restrictions on filming in NYC. The problem was that the
rules were enforced arbitrarily and against the wrong parties.

> ---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).
Because they are groups that clog up the streets! And they can still do it
for limited times without restraint. That's a fabulous deal compared to
anywhere else I've even heard of!

>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.
No one's shutting anything down. I suggest as an artist you take some logic
classes. Inspiration isn't everything, obviously-- your analogies are
ridiculous. I feel like I'm watching FOX news.

The bottom line is that these new rules actually loosen many previous
requirements. Don't expect too much from this re-hearing, either-- most of you guys
won't be satisfied until there are NO rules regarding filming on public
property. That ain't gonna happen. They might drop the insurance requirement, or
extend the no-permit times, but that's about it.

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