browning.jpgNew York City abandoned its attempt to rein in street photographers, videographers, and independent filmmakers by scrapping regulations that would have tightly regulated capturing public images of the city. As part of a settlement of a lawsuit challenging the regulations, New York will allow photographers and filmmakers to operate without a permit as long as they don't prevent use of public spaces or obstruct more than half of pedestrian walkways. The original permit plan called for a required $1 million insurance bond for photographers who planned on using a tripod in a single spot for 30 minutes, or ten minutes if filming involved five people or more.

The new rules, which officials said reflect longstanding practice by the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting, are meant to distinguish between photographers and filmmakers who generally do not create congestion or unsafe conditions and those from major television, film and print productions that generally do. But instead of basing permit requirements on the number of people and the length of time involved in the shoot, the new proposal focuses on the level of sidewalk obstruction.

City officials changed their mind after citizens raised a hue and cry over a proposal they feared would give law enforcement the right to harass almost any person with a camera. The New York Times reports that the city will make an effort to inform the public, government offices, and law enforcement about the now-clarified rules on public photography. We'd like to thank all the people that loudly protested against the city's proposed rules against public photography.

(BROWNING, by smoothdude at flickr)