A production company producing a documentary in New York City has posted signs in Washington Square Park advising the public that bystanders can be recorded against their wishes, but bystanders have no right to record the film set.
Blade 33, which describes itself as a “creative hit squad,” also suggested that anybody who attempts to use a camera around the film set would be subject to physical assault and/or theft of property.
At least that’s how I am interpreting it.
And anybody who has attempted to use cameras around film sets and has dealt with thuggish security guards would agree with me.
Earlier this year, a San Diego photographer was attacked for attempting to take photos of a Discovery Channel reality show.
And last year, a journalist in Hawaii was assaulted by both a security guard and a cop for attempting to video record outside a Dog the Bounty Hunter film set.
And who can forget how Fort Lauderdale police, hired as private security guards, were threatening to arrest anybody taking photos outside the Rock of Ages film set last year?
In the Fort Lauderdale case, the film crew had erected signs stating it was a violation of a city ordinance to take pictures of the film set.
Blade 33 doesn’t go as far as stating it is a violation of a city ordinance but that it is “prohibited due to union and copyright regulations.”
As powerful as unions are in New York City, they have no bearing on citizens who are not affiliated with the film set.
And copyright law does not override the First Amendment, which allows us to use our cameras in public. If we can see it, we can shoot it. Simple as that.
Unfortunately, the words on those signs are enough to deter the average bystander from pulling out a camera.
But if enough citizens are educated about the law, then maybe they could create enough nuisance with their cameras to make the filmmakers think twice about posting such signs in the future.
Maybe then they would learn the real definition of a creative hit squad.
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I am immersed in a legal case where I not only want to clear my criminal charges stemming from my arrest in January, but I want to sue the Miami-Dade Police Department for deleting my footage, which I was able to recover.
My goal is to set some type of precedent to ensure this does not happen as often as it does today where cops simply get away with it.
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