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Public’s Right to Photograph Federal Buildings Upheld by Settlement


On November 9th, 2009, Software programmer Antonio Musumeci was filming the arrest of a protestor outside a federal courthouse in NYC when he himself was arrested. His main camera was confiscated, but he recorded the entire encounter on a second camera (the resulting video is above). In April 2010, the New York Civil Liberties Union sued the government on Musumeci’s behalf, and yesterday it was was announced that a settlement had been reached, with the government recognizing the public’s right to photograph and film in public spaces outside federal buildings.

Under the terms of the settlement, the Federal Protective Service agreed to inform its officers and employees in writing of the “public’s general right to photograph the exterior of federal courthouses from publicly accessible spaces”. They also agreed to pay $1,500 in addition to $3,350 for legal fees.

Here’s the full text of the settlement:

Needless to say, this is a pretty big win for the right of photographers to photograph in public.

(via NYTimes Lens Blog)