Right to Photograph Blotter

July 26th, 2010 by Alicia Calzada and tagged , , , ,

The right to take pictures has been in the news so much lately that I feel I need to present it in the form of a police blotter. Please send tips to me at [email protected]

  • The Washington Post has an interesting piece on ten incidents where photographers were stopped for taking pictures, detained, or told that photography was not allowed in a public place. It accompanies a story talking about the problem that NPPA has been fighting for years- police interfering with the right to make photographs in public.

  • In other “Right to take pictures” news, a congressman from New York, U.S. Rep. Edolphus “Ed” Towns (NY-10) has submitted a resolution to the House of Representatives, “recognizing that the videotaping or photographing of police engaged in potentially abusive activity in a public place should not be prosecuted in State or Federal courts.” A “resolution” does not have the force of law that a statute does, but it will be nice if in fact Towns can get the House to support the concept that photography of police is protected constitutional activity.

  • File this under “save the best for last”: Earlier this month, a jury awarded camerawoman Patricia Ballaz $1.732 million in damages in her lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles after she was battered by members of the LAPD during an immigration rights rally in 2007. Her injuries were so severe that she was unable to return to her job.
  • Posted in Access, law, Legal, photographers, photojournalism | No Comments »

    PLUS Registry To Launch This Fall

    July 12th, 2010 by Alicia Calzada and tagged , , , , , , , ,

    The PLUS Coalition, which NPPA supports, including through a large grant earlier this year, reports that it will launch it’s “PLUS Registry” in the fall of this year. It is the funding by NPPA and other organizations that has enabled PLUS to move forward. PLUS is “an international non-profit initiative on a mission to simplify and facilitate the communication and management of image rights.”

    The registry will be a major step in combating the problems related to so-called orphan works. It will serve several other important purposes, including aiding photographers with copyright registration (the roll-out on this part depends on the timing of the copyright office).

    Get the full details at the PLUS website.

    You can also sign up for the Beta Testing of the PLUS registry.

    Posted in copyright, photographers, photojournalism, Uncategorized | No Comments »

    An Elegant Case for Cameras in the Supreme Court

    July 2nd, 2010 by Alicia Calzada and tagged , , , , ,

    The NPPA has long advocated for Cameras in the Supreme Court, as well as other federal courts. This week, the broadcast of the Elena Kagan confirmation hearings provided a stark contrast to the dramatic events actually inside the Court on Monday. What came of it is one of the most elegant arguments for cameras in the Supreme Court that I have ever read.

    Check out the article here.

    Posted in Access, law, photojournalism | No Comments »

    Miami Photographer Banned from Transit

    July 1st, 2010 by Alicia Calzada and tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

    Miami shooter Charles “Stretch” Ledford blogs about his efforts to sort out the photography policy of the Miami Metro-Dade Transit system.

    After contacting the chief of security to ensure that there were no regulations preventing photography in the metrorail, Ledford went to his local station, where his video footage shows the on-site officers attempting to stop him from photographing. Local police were called, he was blocked from entering the station (he had a ticket) and was told that he was not allowed to return.

    NPPA Attorney Mickey Osterreicher sent letters to the various agencies and police departments involved in the incident explaining why this was an unconstitutional action. Included in Osterreicher’s letter were the following:

    “Public photography/videography is a protected First Amendment right of expression limited by reasonable time, place and manner restrictions. The key word here (as in most cases) being “reasonable.”

    Additionally, any limitation on permitted photography should be governed by the amount of disruption such activity causes, such as blocking access to walkways for extended periods of time or interfering with MDT operations or personnel. It should not be based upon the personal opinions or prejudices of individuals or officers.”

    NPPA has been involved in working with multiple transportation agencies on similar issues and we continue to keep an eye out to protect photographers rights. If you have an incident we should be aware of, please let us know at advocacy @ or lawyer @

    Posted in Access, Legal, photojournalism | No Comments »

    Advocacy Notes

    July 1st, 2010 by Alicia Calzada and tagged , , , , ,

    iPhone Lawsuit

    Even though the iPhone 4 has just barely been released, there is already a lawsuit related to the device. A class action suit has been filed in Maryland over issues with the antenna.

    First Amendment Campaign and Competition

    I was surprised to find that Google today was promoting a campaign to raise awareness and support for the First Amendment. Called 1 For All, the campaign is sponsored by groups that include the First Amendment Center, the Knight Foundation, the McCormick Foundation, ASNE, and the Newseum. As a part of the campaign there is a competition for photos, videos and essays about the First Amendment (be sure to read the contest rules before entering).

    The Decline of the Full-Time Job and the Rise of the Contractor

    This article talks about what many in the photojournalism industry already know. More and more companies are relying on contract labor in lieu of staffers.

    Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »