New York City is one of the great photographic destinations of the world. But all the amateur photographers and pros shooting on city sidewalks might soon find their activities, and free-wheeling creativity, curtailed. The Mayor’s Office of Film, Theater, and Broadcasting is considering a new rule that would require photographers on city property to have an official permit as well as $1 million in liability insurance.
The rule would require a permit for two or more people who want to use a single camera in a public location for more than one-half hour. It would also apply to a group of five people or more who plan to use a tripod in a public location for more than 10 minutes.
This sounds a little crazy to me, mostly because I work close to Times Square and I see the thousands of people who share cameras and use tripods each day. I’ve got a lot of questions: How are the police going to enforce this? Is there a potential for discrimination in the handing out of the permits? (The New York Civil Liberties Union thinks so.) The streets of the city belong to photographers.