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-   -   City May Seek Permit, Insurance for Public Photography (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/digital-video-industry-news/97801-city-may-seek-permit-insurance-public-photography.html)

Marco Leavitt June 29th, 2007 07:58 AM

City May Seek Permit, Insurance for Public Photography

Chris Hurd June 29th, 2007 08:50 AM

Thread title changed to reflect the topic of the link.

Please avoid using reactionary or inflammatory descriptions in the thread title field. If you have an issue with that particular topic, please follow up and explain how you feel about it and why.

We tend to remove one-line outbursts... we're interested instead in calm, polite, civil, rational discourse on a professional level (that's directed at everyone reading this, not just the original poster). Thanks in advance,

Marco Leavitt June 29th, 2007 08:53 AM

Sorry! I figured the article would pretty much speak for itself.

Shawn McCalip June 29th, 2007 11:58 AM

Wow... What a depressing and outrageous article. And people wonder why film makers are going outside the USA to make their films. By the time you're done cutting through all the red tape, you won't have a budget left to produce your film. Is it just me, or do permits like this exist for the sole purpose of deterring and frustrating law-abiding, legitimate photographers? Seems to me that something like this wouldn't stop someone with a more sinister plan, but then again, most people just roll their eyes at me and tell me that I don't get "the big picture"...

Thanks for posting the link. Now I'll be sure to never go to NYC!

Bill Mecca June 29th, 2007 12:11 PM

I jsut love (sarcasm intended) how the film office keeps repeating the mantra that it will not be applied to the tourist, casual or amatuer filmmaker. But the way the law is worded any beat cop could apply it to any 12 year old kid with a camcorder. Then they can go broke proving their innocence.

in-credible. Don't write specific laws, rather write them generic so the lawyers and courts can sort it out on the accused's dime.

Marco Leavitt June 29th, 2007 12:32 PM

The permit issue doesn't seem like a big deal, but requiring insurance? That's a big hurdle for the vast majority of people. I don't know what it has to do with security, which I presume is the reason for this.

Craig Seeman June 29th, 2007 02:14 PM

Another story (New York 1 News - Cable) on the issue.


Craig Seeman June 30th, 2007 07:50 AM

This will seriously hurt my business. I shoot Reporter Demo Reels. Many of my clients are now on the air, even though they had no previous on air experience.

Shooting such demo news stories requires access to the public sidewalks, use of a tripod, being in a location more than 10 minutes.

On permits - I wouldn't mind if I were required an "open ended" permit with a press like badge to shoot in the city but requiring a permit per shoot when locations are often decided on short notice is simply not viable.

The need for insurance would drive up my rates such that my clients, ranging from communications majors out of college to those in page programs or PAs, would simply not be able to afford to do this.

Adam Palomer July 2nd, 2007 05:14 PM


Originally Posted by Bill Mecca (Post 704774)

in-credible. Don't write specific laws, rather write them generic so the lawyers and courts can sort it out on the accused's dime.

Sometimes I wonder if it's not intentional. Could the city be using this as a cash cow?

Kurt Copeland July 3rd, 2007 09:28 PM

"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 single public location for more than a half hour to get a city permit and insurance."

This means any news team covering a major news story (i.e. a large building fire) would have to obtain a permit before going to the site...if this were interpreted strictly.

Either they are an exception to the rule somewhere in the bill or permits would be made for an available period of time say a month, or a quarter, or a year.

Anyone know? Did I miss something?

Alessandro Machi July 4th, 2007 06:35 AM


Originally Posted by Craig Seeman (Post 705057)
On permits - I wouldn't mind if I were required an "open ended" permit with a press like badge to shoot in the city but requiring a permit per shoot when locations are often decided on short notice is simply not viable.

This is exactly right. Advance disclosure of locations a production would be shooting via email would help as well. A cop could look at your "open ended" badge number, see that you have advance notified the system of where you will be shooting and for what time duration, lol, and then leave you alone.

That actually could be very helpful in the event your location shoot noticed odd activity but didn't bother to report it. The police could backtrack a crime and if they notice a production was in the area at the time they might actually pick up some clues for their own investigation.

Becomes a win win at that point. As for insurance, all production companies should carry at least a 1 million dollar liability insurance policy.

Brian Drysdale July 4th, 2007 07:50 AM

In the UK. many freelance technicians carry third party insurance. One of the best deals here is the cheap third party insurance policy that BECTU, the film & TV union can provide. Also, if you employ people you also need employers insurance.

Given the litigious society in the US, professionals would be crazy not to have third party insurance. You can get a policy for a year and spread the costs and $1m is pretty minimal coverage.

Kurt Copeland July 4th, 2007 09:34 AM

Concerning the one million in insurance, this was years ago, but, I used to have one million dollars mandatory liability insurance as a PADI certified diving instructor and it only cost $99 per year!

I'm sure that price has come and gone, but, it shouldn't be TOO expensive.

John Rakis July 4th, 2007 03:16 PM

Not to long ago, I had a shoot scheduled for Central Park and needed to obtain permission from the Parks Department along with the Mayor's Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting. The Parks Department gave me immediate permission via an exchange of e-mails and then directed me to get a permit from the Mayor's Office. Although I have videographer's insurance from the Traveler's which provided a certificate of liability to the Mayor's Office, my application was rejected because the certificate did not contain the language required by the City. My broker said the language required by the City was unreasonable and implied that they were a party to the contract. I wrote to the Mayor's Office asking for a review of the matter, but never received a written reply. After making a follow-up request to the Public Advocate's office, I received a polite call from Corporation Counsel (the City's attorneys) and was referred back to a person in the Mayor's Office of Film, but never received a reply from him. Even though I have liability insurance from a major insurance company, I cannot legally film with a tripod in New York City.

It was interesting to note that the public hearing was only attended by one person who spoke in opposition to the new regulations. I would have given testimony, but did not know about the hearing even though the lawyer who contacted me had informed me that she was drafting new regulations. It would appear that the City made a minimal effort to apprise interested parties about the process.

While I can understand the need to regulate productions that might impede pedestrian or auto traffic or present public safety issues, the city's proposed policies go far beyond that and would have a chilling effect on videographers. It makes no sense to allow photographers to use a tripod without a permit and impose a different standard for videographers. Most video cameras can take "photographs" and many digital cameras can create videos. Why should one be treated any differently than the other?

My sense is that if you are operating a small production company, don't expect to get much, if any support from New York City government.

Alessandro Machi July 4th, 2007 04:09 PM

Actually, there is a difference between taking a photo and a video. A Videographer is taking 30 images AND 30 sound samples per second, this inevitably leads to a more landlocked situation.

A photographer can be more portable in several ways, lol, as long as the photographer has not set up strobes on stands!

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