Know your rights as a photographer
If you're standing in a public place, you can photograph everything you can see. True or false?
You need a permit to photograph in a national park. True or false?
Perhaps a visit here will help you understand your rights:
The "Ansel Adams Act" was introduced in Congress about 18 months ago to make explicitly clear what your rights are.
(You can follow it, currently stuck in committee, here: https://www.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-bill/5893/text
Here is the text of the bill:
[Congressional Bills 113th Congress] [From the U.S. Government Printing Office] [H.R. 5893 Introduced in House (IH)] 113th CONGRESS 2d Session H. R. 5893 To restore the First Amendment Rights of Photographers. _______________________________________________________________________ IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES January 2, 2015 Mr. Stockman introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and in addition to the Committees on Natural Resources, Agriculture, and the Judiciary, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned _______________________________________________________________________ A BILL To restore the First Amendment Rights of Photographers. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. This Act may be cited as the ``Ansel Adams Act''. SEC. 2. FINDINGS. Congress finds as follows: (1) In recent years, the Federal Government has enacted regulations to prohibit or restrict photography in National Parks, public spaces, and of government buildings, law enforcement officers, and other government personnel carrying out their duties. (2) In recent years, photographers on Federal lands and spaces have been threatened with seizure and forfeiture of photographic equipment and memory cards, and have been arrested or threatened with arrest for merely recording what the eye can see from public spaces. (3) Even in the absence of laws or regulations, Federal law enforcement officers, other government personnel, and private contractors have been instructed to prohibit photography from public spaces, and threatened photographers with arrest or seizure of photographic equipment. (4) Arresting photographers, seizing photographic equipment, and requirements to obtain permits, pay fees, or buy insurance policies are abridgments of freedom of speech and of the press. (5) The First Amendment of the United States Constitution states, ``Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.''. (6) Still and motion photographs are speech. (7) The photography by Ansel Adams and other famous photographers helped bring home to Americans the beauty and fragility of our natural resources. (8) Ansel Adams' photographs helped build public support to make Yosemite into a National Park. (9) Future ``Ansel Adams'' must not have their paths blocked, regulated and made more expensive with fees and fines, or be threatened with arrest and seizure of their equipment. SEC. 3. RESTORATION OF FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS TO PHOTOGRAPHERS. (a) In General.--It is contrary to the public policy of the United States to prohibit or restrict photography in public spaces, whether for private, news media, or commercial use. (b) Should a Federal agency seek to restrict photography of its installations or personnel, it shall obtain a court order that outlines the national security or other reasons for the restriction. Such court order shall allow restrictions of photography when such photography may lead to the endangerment of public safety or national security. Nothing in this Act shall restrict Federal agencies from taking lawful steps to ascertain whether or not photography may consist of reconnaissance for the purpose of endangerment of public safety or national security or for other unlawful activity. Nothing in this Act shall be construed to repeal, invalidate, or supersede section 795 of title 18, United States Code. (c) Prohibition on Fees, Permits, or Insurance.--No Federal Government agency shall require fees, permits or insurance as a condition to take still or moving images on Federal lands, National Parks and Forests, and public spaces, whether for private, media, or commercial use. (d) Prohibition on the Seizure and Forfeiture of Photographic Equipment.--Federal law enforcement officers or private contractors shall not seize any photographic equipment or their contents or memory cards or film, and shall not order a photographer to erase the contents of a camera or memory card or film. SEC. 4. DEFINITION. ``Photography'' means any form or method of capturing and recording or transmitting still or moving images.