City sued over limits on photography (article from today's (NJ) Bergen Record)

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Bob, Jan 11, 2006.

  1. Bob

    Bob Guest

    http://www.bergen.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkyJmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2ODU1OTAw

    City sued over limits on photography

    Wednesday, January 11, 2006

    By LARRY NEUMEISTER
    ASSOCIATED PRESS

    NEW YORK - The New York Civil Liberties Union sued the city on
    Tuesday, challenging restrictions on people's right to photograph
    public places after an award-winning filmmaker from India was blocked
    from videotaping near the MetLife building.

    In its lawsuit, the civil rights group highlighted the plight of
    Rakesh Sharma, who said he was left feeling ashamed and humiliated
    when he was detained in May after police saw him use a hand-held video
    camera on a public street in midtown Manhattan.

    Sharma was taping background footage for a documentary examining
    changes in the lives of ordinary people such as taxi drivers after the
    Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

    He was told he needed a permit to film on city streets and then was
    denied one without explanation when he applied to the Mayor's Office
    of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting, the lawsuit said. It alleged his
    constitutional rights were violated.

    It said he would like to resume filming but fears further police
    detention and harassment.

    The lawsuit seeks a declaration letting Sharma film in public places
    and compensatory damages for his May encounter with police.

    Gabriel Taussig, chief of the city's administrative law division, said
    the city had not received the lawsuit but would evaluate it
    thoroughly.

    "Obviously, in this day and age, it's a high priority of New York City
    to ensure safety on its public streets," he said in a statement.

    The NYCLU has received other complaints about people being harassed
    for taking pictures in public places, Executive Director Donna
    Lieberman said.

    "The NYCLU is deeply concerned about what this says about the state of
    our democracy," she said. "
    Bob, Jan 11, 2006
    #1
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  2. Bob wrote:
    > http://www.bergen.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkyJmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2ODU1OTAw
    >
    > City sued over limits on photography
    >
    > Wednesday, January 11, 2006
    >
    > By LARRY NEUMEISTER
    > ASSOCIATED PRESS
    >
    > NEW YORK - The New York Civil Liberties Union sued the city on
    > Tuesday, challenging restrictions on people's right to photograph
    > public places after an award-winning filmmaker from India was blocked
    > from videotaping near the MetLife building.
    >
    > In its lawsuit, the civil rights group highlighted the plight of
    > Rakesh Sharma, who said he was left feeling ashamed and humiliated
    > when he was detained in May after police saw him use a hand-held video
    > camera on a public street in midtown Manhattan.
    >
    > Sharma was taping background footage for a documentary examining
    > changes in the lives of ordinary people such as taxi drivers after the
    > Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
    >
    > He was told he needed a permit to film on city streets and then was
    > denied one without explanation when he applied to the Mayor's Office
    > of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting, the lawsuit said. It alleged his
    > constitutional rights were violated.
    >
    > It said he would like to resume filming but fears further police
    > detention and harassment.
    >
    > The lawsuit seeks a declaration letting Sharma film in public places
    > and compensatory damages for his May encounter with police.
    >
    > Gabriel Taussig, chief of the city's administrative law division, said
    > the city had not received the lawsuit but would evaluate it
    > thoroughly.
    >
    > "Obviously, in this day and age, it's a high priority of New York City
    > to ensure safety on its public streets," he said in a statement.
    >
    > The NYCLU has received other complaints about people being harassed
    > for taking pictures in public places, Executive Director Donna
    > Lieberman said.
    >
    > "The NYCLU is deeply concerned about what this says about the state of
    > our democracy," she said. "


    Good, the outcome (hopefully pro civil liberties) should set a
    precedent for cities in democratic nations worldwide.

    - Siddhartha
    Siddhartha Jain, Jan 11, 2006
    #2
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  3. Bob

    Celcius Guest

    Bob,

    We live in an age that has become very complicated.
    I suppose that 9/11, didn't help either.
    We're increasingly not safe in the streets and at home.
    People can get jailed on suspicions only and not get a trial for years.
    Society is becoming more and more "rule-happy".

    It takes more of those NYCLU's. Governments at all levels are more
    preoccupied with getting re-elected than the common good.

    My .02

    Marcel
    Celcius, Jan 11, 2006
    #3
  4. Bob

    Crash Gordon Guest

    It would have been easier if he had gotten a permit to begin with, any
    "award-winning" filmmaker would know this.


    "Bob" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    |
    http://www.bergen.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkyJmZnYmVsN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2ODU1OTAw
    |
    | City sued over limits on photography
    |
    | Wednesday, January 11, 2006
    |
    | By LARRY NEUMEISTER
    | ASSOCIATED PRESS
    |
    | NEW YORK - The New York Civil Liberties Union sued the city on
    | Tuesday, challenging restrictions on people's right to photograph
    | public places after an award-winning filmmaker from India was blocked
    | from videotaping near the MetLife building.
    |
    | In its lawsuit, the civil rights group highlighted the plight of
    | Rakesh Sharma, who said he was left feeling ashamed and humiliated
    | when he was detained in May after police saw him use a hand-held video
    | camera on a public street in midtown Manhattan.
    |
    | Sharma was taping background footage for a documentary examining
    | changes in the lives of ordinary people such as taxi drivers after the
    | Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
    |
    | He was told he needed a permit to film on city streets and then was
    | denied one without explanation when he applied to the Mayor's Office
    | of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting, the lawsuit said. It alleged his
    | constitutional rights were violated.
    |
    | It said he would like to resume filming but fears further police
    | detention and harassment.
    |
    | The lawsuit seeks a declaration letting Sharma film in public places
    | and compensatory damages for his May encounter with police.
    |
    | Gabriel Taussig, chief of the city's administrative law division, said
    | the city had not received the lawsuit but would evaluate it
    | thoroughly.
    |
    | "Obviously, in this day and age, it's a high priority of New York City
    | to ensure safety on its public streets," he said in a statement.
    |
    | The NYCLU has received other complaints about people being harassed
    | for taking pictures in public places, Executive Director Donna
    | Lieberman said.
    |
    | "The NYCLU is deeply concerned about what this says about the state of
    | our democracy," she said. "
    Crash Gordon, Jan 11, 2006
    #4
  5. Bob

    Celcius Guest

    Crash,
    You have a point, but are you sure?
    Marcel
    Celcius, Jan 11, 2006
    #5
  6. On 11 Jan 2006 06:24:50 -0800, "Siddhartha Jain"
    <> wrote:

    snipped
    >
    >Good, the outcome (hopefully pro civil liberties) should set a
    >precedent for cities in democratic nations worldwide.


    You seem to have the delusion the U.S.A. is a democratic nation.


    *************************************************************

    "I believe that all government is evil,
    in that all government must necessarily make war upon liberty...

    From "Mencken's Creed"
    H.L. Mencken (1880 -1956)
    John A. Stovall, Jan 11, 2006
    #6
  7. Bob

    Steven Wandy Guest

    > In its lawsuit, the civil rights group highlighted the plight of
    > Rakesh Sharma, who said he was left feeling ashamed and humiliated
    > when he was detained in May after police saw him use a hand-held video
    > camera on a public street in midtown Manhattan.
    >

    Anyone have a link to the circumstances. I live in NYC and have only heard
    of problems with tripods on city streets, not hand held video or still
    cameras.
    (I admit I have not used a video/film camera in many years, but have spent
    many
    an afternoon wandering around the various boroughs with hand held still
    cameras and never had a problem.)
    Anyone know what he was actually filming at the time?
    Steven Wandy, Jan 11, 2006
    #7
  8. Bob

    Jeremy Nixon Guest

    Steven Wandy <> wrote:

    > Anyone have a link to the circumstances. I live in NYC and have only heard
    > of problems with tripods on city streets, not hand held video or still
    > cameras.
    > (I admit I have not used a video/film camera in many years, but have spent
    > many
    > an afternoon wandering around the various boroughs with hand held still
    > cameras and never had a problem.)


    Indeed, I do that quite a bit, even late at night, and have never once had
    any trouble with the NYPD. I've been harassed by cops a number of times
    for daring to hold a camera in my hand, but never by NYPD. The most I've
    had them do is offer to pose for pictures. (I sometimes wonder if there
    is a departmental policy to present themselves as the friendliest bunch
    of cops you've ever met, or if I've just been lucky.)

    Once or twice they've taken a second glance at my monopod, but that's
    about it. I haven't yet had one actually ask what it is; once they see
    the camera they figure it out.

    Naturally, now that I've posted this, I'll probably get unlucky next
    time around and get shot at or something.

    Or maybe I'll try to get some shots of 1PP and see how far I get with
    that. :)

    --
    Jeremy |
    Jeremy Nixon, Jan 11, 2006
    #8
  9. Bob

    timeOday Guest

    Re: City sued over limits on photography (article from today's (NJ)Bergen Record)

    Crash Gordon wrote:
    > It would have been easier if he had gotten a permit to begin with, any
    > "award-winning" filmmaker would know this.
    >


    Some govt. permit should be required simply to take pictures in the
    "land of the free?" No way.
    timeOday, Jan 11, 2006
    #9
  10. Bob

    timeOday Guest

    Re: City sued over limits on photography (article from today's (NJ)Bergen Record)

    Jeremy Nixon wrote:
    > Steven Wandy <> wrote:
    >
    >
    >>Anyone have a link to the circumstances. I live in NYC and have only heard
    >>of problems with tripods on city streets, not hand held video or still
    >>cameras.
    >>(I admit I have not used a video/film camera in many years, but have spent
    >>many
    >>an afternoon wandering around the various boroughs with hand held still
    >>cameras and never had a problem.)

    >
    >
    > Indeed, I do that quite a bit, even late at night, and have never once had
    > any trouble with the NYPD.


    Here are some circumstances: your name is "Jeremy" and his is "Rakesh
    Sharma."
    timeOday, Jan 11, 2006
    #10
  11. Bob

    Crash Gordon Guest

    Who knows.

    I do know that when I was in film school 30 years ago in NYC even we, as
    students had to get shooting permits...and they were definitely much harder
    to get after you got caught without one.


    "Celcius" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    | Crash,
    | You have a point, but are you sure?
    | Marcel
    |
    |
    Crash Gordon, Jan 11, 2006
    #11
  12. Bob

    Crash Gordon Guest

    And Union restrictions...in the "land of the free"...way dood.


    "timeOday" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    | Crash Gordon wrote:
    | > It would have been easier if he had gotten a permit to begin with, any
    | > "award-winning" filmmaker would know this.
    | >
    |
    | Some govt. permit should be required simply to take pictures in the
    | "land of the free?" No way.
    |
    Crash Gordon, Jan 11, 2006
    #12
  13. Bob

    Crash Gordon Guest

    I went to film school in NYC 30 years ago and even we had to get shooting
    permits. I doubt that it would apply to one person with one handheld though,
    unless you were getting in someone's way. But, it's always better to get the
    permit first...and a real pro would know this, as most cities require
    permits.


    "Steven Wandy" <> wrote in message
    news:OU9xf.227$-nyc.rr.com...
    |> In its lawsuit, the civil rights group highlighted the plight of
    | > Rakesh Sharma, who said he was left feeling ashamed and humiliated
    | > when he was detained in May after police saw him use a hand-held video
    | > camera on a public street in midtown Manhattan.
    | >
    | Anyone have a link to the circumstances. I live in NYC and have only heard
    | of problems with tripods on city streets, not hand held video or still
    | cameras.
    | (I admit I have not used a video/film camera in many years, but have spent
    | many
    | an afternoon wandering around the various boroughs with hand held still
    | cameras and never had a problem.)
    | Anyone know what he was actually filming at the time?
    |
    |
    |
    Crash Gordon, Jan 11, 2006
    #13
  14. Bob

    Stan Birch Guest

    >On Wed, 11 Jan 2006 Jeremy Nixon <> wrote:

    >Indeed, I do that quite a bit, even late at night, and have never once had
    >any trouble with the NYPD. I've been harassed by cops a number of times
    >for daring to hold a camera in my hand, but never by NYPD.


    We were challenged a few months ago by a security guard at St.
    Joseph's Hospital in Toronto for being on the premises in possession
    of a camera. We were allowed to continue after revealing that we were
    on our way to the maternity ward.

    >The most I've had them do is offer to pose for pictures.


    In July 2002, we waved in Nassau, Bahama's off by a BIG honkin'
    military type, with a nasty looking weapon hanging from his shoulder;
    after attempting to take a touristy snapshot of the US Embassy. It
    tended to be a rather good-natured, totally fun encounter from
    inception. The "BIG honkin' military-type" was most amiable and
    agreeable in posing for family pics. The pics turned out to be some of
    my favourite family travel photos; with my six-foot son, only
    approaching shoulder-level to the "BIG honkin' military-type" with a
    gun!!

    Notwithstanding, that ANYONE wanting to take strategic pics of the US
    Embassy in Nassau, could do so, entirely unchallenged with any kind of
    modest long-reach lens. The bad guys really don't do what we did. They
    don't approach a target Embassy with a mere touristy wide-angle lens
    like we did!! :)
    Stan Birch, Jan 11, 2006
    #14
  15. Bob

    Bill Funk Guest

    On Wed, 11 Jan 2006 09:39:34 -0700, timeOday
    <> wrote:

    >Crash Gordon wrote:
    >> It would have been easier if he had gotten a permit to begin with, any
    >> "award-winning" filmmaker would know this.
    >>

    >
    >Some govt. permit should be required simply to take pictures in the
    >"land of the free?" No way.


    He was doing a documentary, which probably means a commercial venture.
    So, yes.

    --
    Bill Funk
    Replace "g" with "a"
    funktionality.blogspot.com
    Bill Funk, Jan 11, 2006
    #15
  16. Bob

    Bill Funk Guest

    On Wed, 11 Jan 2006 15:56:30 GMT, "Steven Wandy" <>
    wrote:

    >> In its lawsuit, the civil rights group highlighted the plight of
    >> Rakesh Sharma, who said he was left feeling ashamed and humiliated
    >> when he was detained in May after police saw him use a hand-held video
    >> camera on a public street in midtown Manhattan.
    >>

    >Anyone have a link to the circumstances. I live in NYC and have only heard
    >of problems with tripods on city streets, not hand held video or still
    >cameras.
    >(I admit I have not used a video/film camera in many years, but have spent
    >many
    >an afternoon wandering around the various boroughs with hand held still
    >cameras and never had a problem.)
    >Anyone know what he was actually filming at the time?
    >

    It's in the OP:
    "Sharma was taping background footage for a documentary examining
    changes in the lives of ordinary people such as taxi drivers after the
    Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks."
    A documentary, on which he was probably going to make money. A
    commercial venture. For which a permit is needed. Probably. :)

    --
    Bill Funk
    Replace "g" with "a"
    funktionality.blogspot.com
    Bill Funk, Jan 11, 2006
    #16
  17. Bob

    Stan Birch Guest

    >On Wed, 11 Jan 2006 timeOday wrote:
    >Here are some circumstances: your name is "Jeremy" and his is "Rakesh
    >Sharma."


    I'm sure that any reasonably competent investigative-agency wouldn't
    waste a whole lot of time investigating a names like "Rakesh Sharma".
    Far better to focus upon names like "Mohammed" (Satan Incarnate)!
    Stan Birch, Jan 11, 2006
    #17
  18. Bob

    Stan Birch Guest

    >On Wed, 11 Jan 2006 Bill Funk <> wrote:

    >A documentary, on which he was probably going to make money.


    Sheesh . . . like how un-American can you get!?!??!
    Stan Birch, Jan 11, 2006
    #18
  19. Bob

    Jeremy Nixon Guest

    Re: City sued over limits on photography (article from today's (NJ)Bergen Record)

    timeOday <> wrote:

    > Here are some circumstances: your name is "Jeremy" and his is "Rakesh
    > Sharma."


    True.

    This story has the most details I was able to find:

    http://www.nynewsday.com/news/local/manhattan/nyc-film0111,0,6804363.story

    Evidently he was filming the underpass at the MetLife building at 39th and
    Park for half an hour, which might justify a conversation but probably not
    detention.

    But his story about having a police officer charge at him, shove him,
    and grab the camera seems somewhat unlikely, without a whole lot more
    circumstances.

    Some of the reports make a point of noting that his subsequent permit
    application for filming was denied, but no one mentioned whether he has
    the required liability insurance to get such a permit, so that doesn't
    have enough context to be meaningful.

    We also have no idea how he reacted to the police. He may well have
    escalated the situation himself. I'd like to see the police reports,
    for the other side of the story.

    --
    Jeremy |
    Jeremy Nixon, Jan 11, 2006
    #19
  20. Bob

    Jeremy Nixon Guest

    Stan Birch <> wrote:

    > We were challenged a few months ago by a security guard at St.
    > Joseph's Hospital in Toronto for being on the premises in possession
    > of a camera. We were allowed to continue after revealing that we were
    > on our way to the maternity ward.


    Private security guards are much worse than police. They are, after all,
    just doing what they're told, and have no interest in anything else.

    > Notwithstanding, that ANYONE wanting to take strategic pics of the US
    > Embassy in Nassau, could do so, entirely unchallenged with any kind of
    > modest long-reach lens. The bad guys really don't do what we did. They
    > don't approach a target Embassy with a mere touristy wide-angle lens
    > like we did!! :)


    If the US government is putting secret things out in the open and then
    relying on being able to convince people not to photograph them, then
    something is very wrong.

    It's utterly idiotic to put something out in public and then try and
    keep it a secret by telling people not to photograph it. No one who
    actually knows what they're doing could possibly ever believe that any
    degree of security is achieved by doing so. As I've said to security
    guards and police alike, if I wanted to clandestinely photograph this
    (whatever they were asking me about), you would never notice me doing
    it.

    --
    Jeremy |
    Jeremy Nixon, Jan 11, 2006
    #20
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