An Open Letter Regarding NYC's Proposed Changes To Permit Requirements for Photography

 
Sean Reiser

An Open Letter Regarding NYC's Proposed Changes To Permit Requirements for Photography

Edit4 8/1/2007 - There is a protest in Union square tomorrow 8/2/2007 from 11:30 AM til 2PM. Look here for more info.

Edit3: Followup article here (http://seanreiser.com/node/112)

Edit2: 7/30/2007 Obviously I cut and paste my rough draft in here (I know I corrected the affect / effect thing before sending the final draft). When I get home I'll replace it with the final draft (there were some other changes in there I want to include).

Edit: 7/30/2007 I have made this sticky for the rest of the week to bring attention to the issue.

Recently, the Mayor's Office of Film and Broadcasting proposed new rules regarding photographers. The proposed rules would require a permit for "activity involving a tripod and a crew of 5 or more people at one site for 10 minutes or more" (the 10 minutes include the time to set up the tripod) or or the same activity among two people at a single site for more than 30 minutes. The permit process also requires the photographer to carry 1 million dollars in liability insurance. Although the city believes that this is rare for "recreational" photographers, most amateurs I know would require a permit a good percentage of the time.

Sources:
http://www.nyc.gov/html/film/html/news/080107_proposed_permit_rules.sht… http://gothamist.com/2007/06/29/city_proposes_l.php
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/29/nyregion/29camera.html?ex=1185336000&…

I know this has been floating around for a while. I have intentionally held back on this, knowing that the cutoff for feed back was August 3, 2007. If you know about this and was planning on writing, this is a friendly reminder. If you are new to this, get involved. Write Katherine Oliver, Commissioner, Mayor's Office of Film and Broadcasting here: http://www.nyc.gov/html/mail/html/mailfilmcom.html tell her your personal stories where this will effect you. Here is the letter that I am posting on this subject.

An Open Letter To Katherine Oliver, Commissioner, Mayor's Office of Film and Broadcasting, Regarding The Proposed Changes To Permit Requirements for Photography

Ms. Oliver:

I am writing in reference to the proposed changes to permit requirements for photography on public property. The proposed rules, as I understand them, would require a permit for "activity involving a tripod and a crew of 5 or more people at one site for 10 minutes or more" (the 10 minutes include the time to set up the tripod) or or the same activity among two people at a single site for more than 30 minutes. The permit process also requires the photographer to carry 1 million dollars in liability insurance.

I understand that it is important for the city to draw a line between amateur and professional photographers. I have often been mistaken for a "professional" solely because I use a low-end SLR camera. However this rule does little to make that separation and effects a good number of New Yorkers (as well as tourists). Let me tell you some of the ways this will affect me.

About once or twice a month, myself and a few friends will get together, walk through the Central Park and photograph the sights. We often wind up taking photos of some of the musicians and sporting events that one runs across in the park, sometimes spending up to an hour shooting these spontaneous events.

I am involved with a number of groups through the photography / social networking website flickr (http://www.flickr.com). Often we'll get together to shoot areas and events in the city. Now these informal gatherings will require permits and insurance, something that will probably limit participation.

My family has a tradition. Sometime in the fall, near my mother's birthday, we go out to a city park and take an annual family photo. As the family has grown, this has become more of a production (each of my brother's has a family of his own, the grandchildren all get individual pictures taken, etc). Of course, as I want to be in some of the photos there is a tripod involved.

I understand that none of this is what you intended when this rule was proposed; however the rule as written effects each of these activities. Even if you do not intend to enforce this rule this way, there's no guarantee that future administrations won't enforce it this way. I implore you to take another look at this rule and find a way so that it doesn't affect the amateur photographers.

I will be posting a copy of this letter on my website, http://www.seanreiser.com

Thank You for Your Time,

Sean P Reiser

8/1/2007 - There is a protest in Union square tomorrow 8/2/2007 from 11:30 AM til 2PM. Look here for more info.

Sean Reiser

Hi I'm Sean Reiser

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I'm a 51 year old Flushing, Queens based technologist who specializes in developing, supporting and maintaining websites built in Drupal.  I am an avid photographer and all around geek.  Feel free to look at my blog, or head to my home page to learn more about me.