A short form bill was recently introduced into the Vermont House of Representatives that ought to have photographers curious, if not worried. That’s because this particular bill seeks to “make it illegal to [photograph] a person without his or her consent … and distribute it,” essentially outlawing most forms of public photography. Read more…
New Hampshire House of Representatives member Neal Kurk (R) recently backed a bill that plans to ban almost all aerial photography in the state by classifying it as a class A misdemeanor. The bill, HB 619-FN, seems to be aimed at protecting people’s privacy; however, the fact that it specifically excludes government officials from the ban has raised concerns regarding just that. Read more…
Earlier this week we reported that it is now easier for photographers in the UK to pursue copyright infringement cases without having to shell out big money for a lawyer. While that law change is likely a big boon for photographers, there are other proposed law changes that have some photographers up in arms.
A big win for photographers in Canada: as of today, you now officially own the copyright to all your photographs regardless of whether they were commissioned. The development comes as a result of Canada major copyright reform bill (Bill C-11) taking effect this morning. One of the stated goals of the new copyright law is to, “give photographers the same rights as other creators.”
In the past year — and especially with the growth of the “occupy” movement — police interfering with photographers or pedestrians trying to snap a photo of them has been in the news quite a lot. Just yesterday we reported on the Olympics’ security guards who landed in hot water after harassing photogs shooting from public land. In the past, this was no problem, as police officers had little to fear in way of personal liability when they interfered; however, a new Connecticut bill — the first of its kind — may soon change that.
This looks like a screenshot of a satirical article by The Onion, but it’s actually an actual story over on the Salt Lake Tribune. Turns out Utah is the latest state to introduce Florida-esque legislation that would make it a crime to photograph or videotape agricultural operations without permission from owners. Like in Florida, the bill’s intent is to stop activist groups such as PETA from capturing covert imagery that allegedly show animal abuse.
Groups assail bill making it a crime to film farm animals (via The Click)
New Jersey is considering a new law that would make it a third-degree crime to photograph children without parental consent. More specifically, bill A3297 would prevent people from shooting photos or videos of children when “a reasonable parent or guardian would not expect his child to be the subject of such reproduction”. Apparently the bill was proposed after a 63-year-old pedophile was caught recording young children at a swimming pool last summer, but was released because he hadn’t committed any serious crime. In New Jersey, third-degree crimes carry potential punishments of 3-5 years in jail and a $15,000 fine.
It’s too bad bad a few bad apples always seem to ruin things for legitimate photographers.
(via nj.com via Reddit)
Image credit: NJ – Jersey City: Justice Brennan Courthouse by wallyg
A couple weeks ago we reported that a lawmaker in Florida was trying to make photographing farms a felony. Turns out the Florida Senate Committee on Agriculture actually approved the bill this week, but only after passing a couple amendments that make the bill a little more reasonable. The new version of the bill only concerns photographs taken by people who trespass onto the private farmland, and instead of a felony the crime will now be a misdemeanor. Whew.
By the way, some folks in Iowa are trying to pass a similar bill…
Florida Farm Bill Update (via dvafoto)
Image credit: Thai Farmland by marctonysmith
A bill recently introduced by Florida state senator Jim Norman would, if passed, making taking pictures of farms a felony unless permission is granted by the owner.
A person who photographs, video records or otherwise produces images or pictorial records, digital or otherwise, at or of a farm or other property where legitimate agriculture operations are being conducted without the written consent of the owner, or an authorized representative of the owner, commits a felony of the first degree. [#]
Apparently the bill is meant to deter animal rights activists from secretly posing as farmworkers to make hidden camera videos of animals being abused. Needless to say, a lot of photographers aren’t very pleased.
(via Boing Boing)
Image credit: Webpage Farms? by ASurroca
Photographers have been buzzing about the Digital Economy Bill, which is expected to shortly become law in the UK. The controversy revolves around the vague provisions for “orphaned works”, which many claim will give the government control of licensing for any photograph deemed “orphaned” after a reasonable search for the owner has been conducted. In the section “Licensing of Orphan Works”, the bill reads,
The Secretary of State may by regulations provide for authorising a licensing body or other person to do, or to grant licences to do, acts in relation to an orphan work which would otherwise require the consent of the copyright owner.
The bill proposes an “orphan works register”, to which anyone can submit photographs they find on the Internet after completing the following steps:
(a) to carry out a reasonable search to find or, if necessary, to identify and find, the owner of the interest,
(b) after the search, to publish notice of the proposal to enter the interest in an orphan works register, in a way designed to bring the proposal to the attention of the owner of that interest, and
(c) to keep a sufficient record of the steps taken under paragraphs (a) and (b) and of the results of those steps.
Once in the register, the photographs can be licensed by the government and used for commercial purposes. Essentially, this means that any photograph found on the Internet can be licensed by the UK if the person who wishes to use the work cannot find the owner after a “reasonable” search.
Here’s some further reading:
Let us know your thoughts on this in the comments!
Image credit: Police guards by italpasta