Michael Stipe & Others Respond to NYC Mayor's Plans to Limit Cameras -- Union Square Rally Today Friday, July 27 6:30pm


The most photographed city in the world is about to be shut down visually by proposed regulations which would basically make it illegal to film or tape in NYC without a permit and a million dollars of insurance.

An overnight, grassroots fight against these proposed regulations has sprung up under the name Picture New York. Fighting back with YouTube videos, petitions, handwritten letters (100% post-consumer recycled content please), a website, Flickr space and a rally and press conference this evening in Union Square, this ad-hoc group of working artists, photographers and filmmakers vow to stop the regulations going into effect as scheduled in September from the Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre, and Broadcasting (MOFTB).

Albert Maysles, Patti Smith, Michael Stipe and Amy Arbus are among the celebrated artists who have already signed on to demand the MOFTB extend the period of public comment, currently ending August 3, and eliminate the proposed regulations: 11 pages of single-spaced rules where none existed before.

A lot of what we do as TreeHuggers is pretty renegade. Whether it's pimping your zap while waiting for Toyota to deliver better batteries or making a video and submitting it to our Convenient Truths contest. In order to keep bringing the green goodness in every way possible here in NYC, we hope that adding any new hurdles to the mission at hand can be avoided.

Below the fold: more deets, press links and a video comment from Reverend Billy who was arrested on June 29th, 2007 for reciting the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution to the police monitoring the monthly NYC Critical Mass bike ride. Okay, we'll throw in the video of his arrest too.The organizers of Picture NY say the proposed regulations will affect every kind of filming and photography in the city, aside from artists. Industrials, fashion, wedding and architectural photographers will need a permit and insurance for anything that takes more than a half hour and two people to shoot. A film school graduate with a camcorder, four friends and a dream will now have to pay the same fee to New York City to shoot as HBO does – because the regs include anything that takes more than 10 minutes to shoot with a tripod. Even parents making home movies in public parks would fall under the new rules.

As the Daily News says the regulations

are, in a word, nuts. . . They were written as if small bands of rogue photographers were running amok. And they won't withstand court challenge unless the cops come down equally on everyone taking pictures, including mom and dad filming junior and pals at the playground.
The conservative New York Sun agrees:
It would be a sad day if New York became a place where a family has to get a permit before making a home video.

As promised, the art-stunt vid commentary of Reverend Billy. The mise en scène of barren concrete parking lot is apt for a city facing a legislation-driven image blackout. However know that this is where the Union Square Farmer's market takes place on Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday so this vid was shot on some other day of the week. I like how you can see the New York Film Academy banner in the background sort of underlining the tongue-in-cheek production values. I swear that bald guy with the glasses in the choir frock is Steven Soderbergh and yes, they will eventually sing.

Video of the arrest:

Related Content on Treehugger.com