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

From: flick harrison (email suppressed)
Date: Sat Aug 04 2007 - 14:28:25 PDT

On 3-Aug-07, at 5:39 PM, Jim Carlile wrote:

> 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.

What if a small group of filmmakers was outside your flat, making
little noise and not blocking the sidewalk? Let me hear you sleep
furiously about permits?

Heh. If a large group of filmmakers are outside my house with a
permit and insurance, I can scream all I want apparently. You
support their right to make noise and block the sidewalk as long as
the city "permits" them.

> I am just amazed at the lack of clear thinking on this issue. Witness:

You had me all worked up to defend my clear thinking, then instead
you accused me of mistaken facts. Witness:

> But there are pre-existing rules. There's no rules vacuum.

Where's YOUR clear thinking?

> Police were also invoking other rules to justify their harassment.
> That can't happen any more. It's a good deal in general.

And now, police will miraculously stop invoking those "other rules to
justify their harassment." Because more rules = less rules, in a
clear-thinking world.

Come on, logic! Why would police stop being arbitrary, if they are
now being arbitrary?

Honestly answer this question: if someone with a tripod is blocking
the sidewalk, do you really think the police will leave them be,
simply because they are alone or have not been there for ten minutes?
And can you seriously believe that no arbitrary judgement on the
officer's part will come into play?

> >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.

Um. You seriously consider that a rebuttal?

*SIGH* Okay, on the sidewalk. A guy punches you on the sidewalk. As
a law-abiding citizen, do you go to city hall and demand that no one
can punch you for more than 30 minutes? No, that's nonsense.

The point is, infringing on first amendment rights is wrong in one
minute or in thirty.

Or, conversely, interfering with people's use of public space, if
it's wrong in thirty minutes, it's wrong in one minute.

Why bring cameras into it?

> >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.

Alright, Socrates, if you ignore the First Amendment's right to film
anywhere, anytime (not block public space: I said film)

What was the previous rule, and why were police enforcing it unevenly
and unfairly? What is there in the new rules that will stop arbitrary
enforcement? (Hint: you can't compare apples to oranges, i.e. point
to the new clear rules and say they are not arbitrary enforcement.).

> >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.

Excellent, finally: a direct rebuttal. 1 is indeed not 2. You have
me there.

Two people having a picnic in the park is a group.

If one of them has a cellphone camera they need a permit. Think about

Thanks a million, New Rules!

  (Hint again: if you suggest the police won't bust anyone with a
cellphone camera at a picnic, you are suggesting arbitrary and uneven
enforcement as a defence of the new rules).

> >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.

And you support infringements on the rights of assembly, apparently.

Seriously, parades take up the whole street. We're talking parks and
sidewalks here.

It's bloody hard to "block" central park.

> 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.

The landlords didn't have qualifications on the rules. They made up
reasons to exclude cats, and since they were no longer explicitly
excluding cat owners as a class, they got away with it.

Try to pay attention:

The police can still enforce "arbitrarily and against the wrong
parties." Of course the new law doesn't say "the city will not
enforce the new rules arbitrarily and against the wrong parties."

Do the old rules say that??!

The problem is: there is now a vast swath of activity which is
entirely off the table, because it IS illegal, and no one can argue
with them. In cases where filming is explicitly permitted by law,
they can continue to be arbitrary. Then you must argue with them
that your activity is permitted, while they resort to "other rules"
you mentioned (which in their minds at the time, will be more
important than your 'so-called rights').

If you, some guy on an email list, so openly scoff at the rights of
filmmakers to be in public space (interfering with others is assumed
automatically, for you), why would the police, with guns and badges
and the power of arbitrary enforcement, think any differently?

> >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!

It's hard to clog up the streets by sitting on a park bench with a
cellphone camera, waving at passers-by (interaction among 2 or more
people, verbal or otherwise).

It's the most terrible deal ever.

> >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.

Um, yes they are - it's an example I posited. In my example, they
are indeed shutting down a newspaper, and the other newspaper in my
example is having content dictated. In my example, you and I are
agreeing that dictating content is NOT the only way to control speech.

Unfortunately, you are confusing real life with my example.

Is that an example of trained logic?

Plus, "No one's shutting anything down" is an assertion that is
logically contradicted by the new rules - they are indeed "shutting
down" non-permitted filming activity of the kinds newly defined.

> 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.

You haven't pointed towards (let alone conclusively demonstrated) any
faulty logic or weak thinking. You've disputed some facts, and the
definition of First Amendment-protected activities, and suggested
that groups of artists clog more space than groups of tourists (hey!
tourists have cameras! they need permits too).

BTW, we could start a whole other thread to discuss whether or not
logic is essential to the artistic process.

> 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.

Of course not. Why should there be rules about filming on public

Blocking the sidewalk, of course, should be negotiated.

> That ain't gonna happen. They might drop the insurance requirement,
> or extend the no-permit times, but that's about it.

Is it logical to predict the future?

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