So there is a thread that has spun out into la la land with someone who is very mis-informed spouting about what is legally right and wrong. I spent some time and looked around to find some basic and helpful info that some folks may find useful.
Its not a complete guide to what you can and can not do. I do not have a clue as to what the very most current laws are, and I do not claim to be a lawyer at a big NYC firm. I simply want to have a better clue as to whats cool and how to handle being stopped by the authorities.
There is too much talk about the bill of rights, and how people see it. So here is the first amendment.
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
That is the exact wording of it as it was drafted by the hands of the founders of this country. There is no mention in any of the annotations on photography or of art for that matter. This has been said time and time again. The reason that there are no clear cut laws pertaining to photography is because it is not covered by the Bill of Rights.
Oh and a nifty little thing I found about cops and what they can and cant do with photographers here in NYC. Its in the patrol guide section 212-21 and states clearly that it is not against the law on the MTA to take photos unless using a tripod.
Also you can find a pretty clear idea of where you can and can not shoot on most transit systems nation wide. Some of the info is a few years old, but it should still stand.
The only people that have been arrested for photography related events have been the morons that are not willing to move on and do as instructed by the authorities. Seems that if you respect the laws that are in place you do not end up getting arrested for trespassing.
Here is a clear and concise outline of the basic rights of a photographer that was compiled by a REAL attorney at law. He does not just play on on the internet like some people. It is a simple and basic guide to whats okay.
Also here is a link to the rights of photographers by the ACLU
My favorite here "Note that the right to photograph does not give you a right to break any other laws. For example, if you are trespassing to take photographs, you may still be charged with trespass."
Seems the only people having issues are the ones breaking the law. Which they should have issues.
Easy way to avoid getting harassed is simple to most of the photographers in the world.
Do not place a tripod in the way of moving traffic flow in a public space.
Do not use lights and other stand mounted gear in a place that would make it difficult. for people to pass.
Do not be rude or stubborn to the authorities if asked to move along.
Do not act like a know it all and start a drama filled scene like an upset school girl.
If you are respectful to other people and understand that you are not untouchable by the law you will be fine.
"If once you forfeit the confidence of your fellow-citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem."
So with all this said, I hope someone can find this useful. It would be great to not have to have ranting and tons of BS thrown around about laws and rights which are not in question. Go out shoot photos and show them to the world (if you want).
Hope you all have a great day.