Posts Tagged ‘jailtime’

NPPA Asks Washington DC to Repeal Its “5 Minute Photography Limit” Law

Last week we wrote about an obscure law in Washington DC that can land a person in jail for doing photography for “more than 5 minutes at location”. The Washington Post published a clarification stating that the law is targeted at people who make a living taking a portrait for strangers on city sidewalks. However, the National Press Photographers Association isn’t satisfied with the explanation, and has written a letter to the city requesting that the “vague” law be repealed:

[...] these three vague and incrementally overly broad sections taken together could be interpreted to mean that any photographer taking a photograph of anything, be it a building, person or inanimate object for longer than five (5) minutes would be in violation of the regulations and subject to fine or arrest [...] We contend that this licensing scheme, based upon regulations that are facially inconsistent with the protections provided under the First Amendment, is unconstitutional.

[...] these facially defective regulations will only further contribute to the erroneous belief by law enforcement that public photography may be arbitrarily limited or curtailed.

The NPPA also writes that they’re concerned that the law could be used against photographers covering events such as “Occupy Wall Street”.

NPPA Seeks Repeal of D.C. Regulations Limiting Street Photography [NPPA]


Image credit: 2011 09 11 – 6780 – Washington DC – Police by thisisbossi

UK Teen Sentenced to Two Months in Jail for Snapping Courtroom Photo

A 19-year-old man in the UK has been sentenced to two months in prison for snapping a courtroom photo. Paul Thompson was sitting in a public gallery last week — the defendant was a friend who was on trial for robbery — when another friend texted him to ask where he was. Thompson decided to snap a picture with his Blackberry to explain why he couldn’t talk, but was quickly arrested by officers who noticed what he was doing. He was then sentenced to two months in prison for “contempt of court” by Judge Barbara Mensah, who wanted to send out a strong message:

There are notices all around the court building about not taking photographs in court. This is a serious offence and the message must go out that people cannot take photos.

Although two months in jail seems harsh, it could have been worse: CBS News notes that the law gives the courts the right to jail someone for up to two years for photography.

(via The Guardian via Small Aperture)


Update: Apparently the teen was being a lot more disruptive than most news sources are reporting. Thanks Tom.


Image credit: Courtroom by ☺ Lee J Haywood