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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

Scary Stuff for Photojournalists?
Steven Ickes, Photographer
Mechanicsburg | PA | USA | Posted: 9:47 PM on 06.02.10
->> I had quite the "holy sh**!" moment when I read this..
http://gizmodo.com/5553765/are-cameras-the-new-guns
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James Broome, Photographer
Tampa | FL | US | Posted: 10:35 PM on 06.02.10
->> I read that as well, but I don't see where photojournalists are in any danger. The article is about video+audio recording of someone without their permission in states where it's already against the law.

Or am I missing something?
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Dave Prelosky, Photographer
Lower Burrell | Pa | US | Posted: 10:45 PM on 06.02.10
->> James, I believe you should give the article another read. The writer seems to believe a prohibition on video and/or still photography and/or audio when police are handy is the wave of the present.
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Erik Markov, Photographer
Kokomo | IN | | Posted: 11:33 PM on 06.02.10
->> it's pretty frightening I agree. I had also seen the article, I hesitated posting it because some of Gizmodo's articles I find it hard to separate what is opinion/hyperbole and fact. But if even half is verifiable, it's scary. Part of what is so concerning I think is that even in those states where it -hasn't- been outlawed, all it takes is one overzealous cop who thinks it has been outlawed to act foolishly and something stupid can happen to a bystander or journalist.
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James Broome, Photographer
Tampa | FL | US | Posted: 11:38 PM on 06.02.10
->> So the scary part is that current laws in states that prohibit audio recording unless both parties are aware of the recording might lead to photojournalists being prohibited from taking photographs of police?
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Jon L Hendricks, Photographer
Hobart | IN | USA | Posted: 11:39 PM on 06.02.10
->> This can't be right but they site many cases in specific states. How can recording in public be illegal anywhere in the US? Anyone ever hear of this? This contradicts with everything I've read by lawyers, professional organizations, and common sense. I think something is amiss here.
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Israel Shirk, Photographer, Assistant
Boise | ID | US | Posted: 11:46 PM on 06.02.10
->> Jon-
That's the point. There are police in a few places using distorted views of wiretapping laws to prevent themselves from being recorded, quite opposite of the intention of wiretapping laws.
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Jon L Hendricks, Photographer
Hobart | IN | USA | Posted: 10:08 AM on 06.03.10
->> How can these cases not be dismissed and the law rewritten or thrown out? Why has this slipped through the cracks for so long? This is amazing to me that a lawyer can't convince a judge to immediately dismiss the charge and that a law was written where on duty officers cannot be recorded. Is no one watching the state legislatures when they pass these laws?
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John Germ, Photographer
Wadsworth | Oh | USA | Posted: 11:24 AM on 06.03.10
->> "How can these cases not be dismissed and the law rewritten or thrown out?"

Welcome to the U.S. legal and legislative system. Laws are often written with good intentions. Then people find a way to twist those laws to fit their own needs. It is why this country has SOOOO many lawyers. And it's why there are so many levels of courts.

I'm guessing if you roster a list of all the laws that need refinement to prevent the misuse of the law you'd have a list so long it would tie up legislative debate for years.

Contact your congressman if you want action. Of course, it will help if you have a lobby with hundreds of millions of $$ in campaign money behind you. Otherwise, good luck getting them to give you the time of day.
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Damon Tarver, Photographer
San Jose | CA | USA | Posted: 11:39 AM on 06.03.10
->> A related video I think. I will keep my thoughts on it to myself...

http://www.petapixel.com/2010/06/02/confrontation-between-a-police-officer-.../
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Clark Brooks, Photo Editor, Photographer
Urbana | IL | USA | Posted: 1:30 PM on 06.03.10
->> As the article states, in Illinois it is illegal to record a conversation between individuals without consent all parties. That was tested here locally a few years back (I'm still searching for the articles) when a bystander, I believe, recorded the actions of a local law enforcement officer in an arrest. The tape came to light and the citizen, with no media affiliation was charged with the state's wiretap statute, after the footage was presented as evidence in the original defendant's case. Had the sound been disabled during the recording process, I believe the citizen would not had been charged.

I understand the concerns of citizens as well as those in law enforcement. I honestly can see an honest solution to the issue because there is both a need to monitor the behavior of those charged to serve and protect as well as a need for anonymity in order to perform law enforcement duties to battle more 'educated' criminals or criminal behavior.
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Clark Brooks, Photo Editor, Photographer
Urbana | IL | USA | Posted: 1:31 PM on 06.03.10
->> Whoops....

"I honestly can see an honest solution ..."

I meant to write, "I honestly can not see an honest solution ..."

Sorry for the error.
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Eric Canha, Photographer
Brockton | MA | United States | Posted: 1:56 PM on 06.03.10
->> "How can these cases not be dismissed and the law rewritten or thrown out?"

http://thephoenix.com/boston/news/56680-echoes-of-rodney-king/

Shows that the judges are looking at the cases in context. Audio is the sticking point as is whether the recording was done in the open or in secret.

I wonder what would happen if a person in an interrogation room were to say to the officer you can interview me but NO recording the conversation..... you can only take written notes. I do not want to be recorded. Just pondering.....
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Dan Megna, Photographer
Coronado | CA | USA | Posted: 2:17 PM on 06.03.10
->> Having spent nearly 30 years as a cop in So California, and being a STRONG supporter of the cops, I have to agree; IF this news is reported accurately, it's beyond outrageous. I'd like to think there is something more to this than in being reported.

I will also agree that, as a general rule, law enforcement lives in a gray area when it comes to understanding the laws as it relates to this sort of stuff. And yes, may times, when high emotions are involved, both sides, (yes, BOTH sides) can and do cross the line.

But I can't help but wonder a couple things: First, how do/will these laws view the trend of 'public safety" cameras that are becoming so common throughout every city in this country. Then, what about the dashboard cameras and audio recording police use when contacting motorists. I could also ask the same about airborne cameras, many HD, that are mounted on most every public safety aircraft. We see the footage every night on the news, tabloid shows, "shocking" and "funny" video television shows....

It seems to me these devices are doing (recording) exactly what these laws are seeking to control. While I can hear and agree with, the argument about being in place for public safety, but what about the media's rights?

Many choose to disagree with, ignore or rationalize what is going on in this country, but in my humble opinion, this is just another grand example of how our rights and freedoms are being reined in.
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James Broome, Photographer
Tampa | FL | US | Posted: 4:37 PM on 06.03.10
->> Dan - Most of the surveillance cameras we've seen footage from in news have no sound. That fact alone would place them clearly within the law.
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James Broome, Photographer
Tampa | FL | US | Posted: 4:38 PM on 06.03.10
->> With regard to police video cameras, you definitely raise an interesting point. I wonder if police video cameras have sound in the states where both parties must consent....
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Jon L Hendricks, Photographer
Hobart | IN | USA | Posted: 5:29 PM on 06.03.10
->> Can anyone site a specific example where recording audio directly hurt an officer (besides what the officer said to incriminate themselves)? Or am I missing something?
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Joe Cavaretta, Photographer
Ft Lauderdale | FL | USA | Posted: 8:27 PM on 06.03.10
->> the dumbest cops ever, now in the same jail where they used to bring people:
guess they forgot about the dash cams?
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/broward/hollywood/fl-hollywood-cops-201006...
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Matthew Sauk, Photographer
Sandy | UT | United States | Posted: 12:26 AM on 06.04.10
->> So let me get this straight, our gov't can illegally wiretap us, but we can't do the same to them (even though I do not consider filming an office wiretapping)
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Jeff Frings, Photographer
Milwaukee | WI | USA | Posted: 8:57 AM on 06.04.10
->> I've read the statutes in all 3 states mentioned in the article and Maryland and Massachusetts both have portions of the law that would seem to exempt the new media. In Massachusetts there is a element of the crime of wiretapping that the recording be secret, and in Maryland there is a requirement that the recording be of a private conversation. In either of those states I don't think a person with a visible camera on public property would be violating the law. Of course that hasn't stopped law enforcement from targeting folks with cameras and charging them with violations anyhow. The scariest statute is in Illinois. As far as I can tell from the statutes and case law, in Illinois ANY conversation is covered by the law, secretly recorded or not, public or not. I don't think there's any chance the law would survive a challenge before the US Supreme court, but as of right now that is the law in Illinois. So it appears that technically the cops in Illinois could bust any TV cameraman for recording audio of any interaction on any public street unless you had permission from everyone present on the street.
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James Broome, Photographer
Tampa | FL | US | Posted: 9:51 AM on 06.04.10
->> Not to sound like a broken record, but I still don't see how this affects photojournalists.
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Eric Canha, Photographer
Brockton | MA | United States | Posted: 12:18 PM on 06.04.10
->> Jim when you get arrested and spend hours in the back of a cruiser instead of shooting story because some misinformed officer believes that you can't shoot a video of him bashing in the head of a protester while calling him a pinko commie b#stard....... you'll see.




just sayin.
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James Broome, Photographer
Tampa | FL | US | Posted: 9:45 AM on 06.07.10
->> Eric - I guess I wasn't clear enough. When I said 'photojournalists' I was referring to people that take news photographs. Not videographers.

Not to mention, the article specifically states that news cameras are exempt from this law.

"The legal justification for arresting the "shooter" rests on existing wiretapping or eavesdropping laws, with statutes against obstructing law enforcement sometimes cited. Illinois, Massachusetts, and Maryland are among the 12 states in which all parties must consent for a recording to be legal unless, as with TV news crews, it is obvious to all that recording is underway."
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Jeff Frings, Photographer
Milwaukee | WI | USA | Posted: 11:34 AM on 06.07.10
->> James,
I've been a professional photojournalist for more than 20 years. I take my news photographs at 30 frames per second instead of 5, 6, or 8 frames per second as I would if I had a Nikon or Canon. Does that make me a photojournalist according to your definition?

Either way, the article may state that news cameras are exempt from the law(s), but the actual law(s) don't have any such exemptions.

In Illinois the law doesn't say that if the recording is obvious it's allowed, it says that unless all parties CONSENT to the recording it's illegal. So even if it's obvious that you're recording, if you don't have consent, you can't legally record.
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James Broome, Photographer
Tampa | FL | US | Posted: 12:11 PM on 06.07.10
->> Jeff - I meant no disrespect to anyone in the video news world at all. If my post suggest anything like that, I'm sorry.

I was trying to clarify my point made in both of my posts from June 2 in which I ask how people that take photographs of an officer might be in violation of a law that restricts audio recording.

I don't have detailed knowledge of the laws in question, only the information contained in the linked article. That led my statement that 'obvious' recording being done by video news crews would be exempt. If they are not truly exempt, then I'm sure the first news crew arrested and charged with a violation of this law will definitely cause some tremors in the industry. Tremors I'm certain will lead to a true exemption for news people.
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Brian Dowling, Photographer
Philadelphia | PA | USA | Posted: 12:20 PM on 06.07.10
->> You don't have to be a professional to be a photojournalist. Many amateurs/students have taken world changing photos. They just happened to be licensed by AP/Getty now. Also, most of the newer DSLRs shoot video. So, I'm sure modern cameras could be called either in court.

The article is talking mostly about normal citizens that capture news though, specifically police wrong doing. Just think if the Rodney King beating was in Chicago today, the amateur who shot the video could legally go to jail. Even if he comes out clean in court, how fun is five months in a jail cell? Or maybe the student who took the Kent State massacre photos could have lost his images when the police raided his college newsroom for "evidence".
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Sean D. Elliot, Photographer, Photo Editor
Norwich | CT | USA | Posted: 3:53 PM on 07.12.10
->> it happens again and again:

http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local-beat/Photographer-Detained-for-Taki...
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Thread Title: Scary Stuff for Photojournalists?
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