"I already have a permit for my camera, its called the First Amendment," Picture New York's Beka Economopoulos told WNBC-TV at a Union Square rally in Manhattan on Friday night (as seen in a YouTube clip of news footage). Her statement was in response to a proposal by the NYC Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting (MOFTB) to change rules requiring permits to photograph in public places in the City of New York.
The move, which was also explored in today's New York Times, is being criticized as particularly harmful to New York's independent filmmakers. "We've lived for 40 years without these regulations, there's no reason to introduce them now," Economopoulos continued in the TV interview. Included in the proposed law are restrictions that include requiring a permit and insurance for those filming or photographing with a trippd and a crew of 5 or more people at one site for 10 or more minutes or 2 people at a single site for more than 30 minutes.
Contacted by indieWIRE, Juliane Cho, Associate Commissioner of NYC MOFTB, referred to information about the change posted on the division's website and noted that one of the proposed rules would give her organization "the ability to provide a waiver of the insurance requirement for those who cannot afford it." Feedback on the proposed rules are being accepted through August 3, 2007 and protest efforts are being lead by Picture New York and more information is available on their website.