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Permits required for filming in the wilderness ??
  • Next they'll want a permit for filming yourself on the toilet in your own home !

    The U.S. Forest Service is proposing permanent new rules that would require media organizations to obtain a permit to film and shoot photographs in more than 100 million acres of the nation's wilderness.

    The US government is unbelievable ! Will US citizens ever wake up ?

  • 32 Replies sorted by
  • As noted above, the Idaho Public Broadcasting (wholly state government owned) service has been battling the US Forest Service (who administer some of the massive US Federal Government lands in Idaho) who not only want IPB to obtain permits ... note from the rules, the EXPECT to essentially have prior-to-shooting editorial control also. That's actually been the biggest sticking point in the IPB administration ... as USFS official demanding to see the scripts and program plan before even considering the permit, and ... bluntly giving his "directions" to changes he would have to see in the "direction" of their project before he'd even consider giving the permit.

    In Oregon here, the Feds control something like 52% of the state through ownership of either the USFS, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) or a couple other Federal "entities". We have a very active state-owned Oregon Public Broadcasting service who films a program, "The Oregon Field Guide", which covers the state on both public and private lands showing the wonders of the "natural" habitat, and some of the interesting spots especially in desert-dry & high eastern Oregon where buildings of a hundred years ago still stand all by their lonesome in some failed ranch.

    OPB has made it clear they will completely refuse to submit ANY programming to anyone for editorial review ... period. The Fed administrators here in Oregon published this one day (notably saying they didn't expect much controversy over it) and stated they were now going to enforce it ... but when the state OPB and the large (and very liberal politically) newspaper of Portland took after the story ... and all the TV media in Portland, Eugene, Medford, Bend et al ... the next day the USFS administrators said they'd been terribly misunderstood.

    OPB directly and publicly called them out on their "misunderstood" statement, noting that unless one was a complete idiot as far as understanding common English words, the statement of the rules they were going to fully implement REQUIRED them to pre-approve ALL editorial approaches, commercial or news in scope. Well ... it seems there are now senators & congressional types who want hearings on this ... so maybe it will get held off for now.

  • How are readers benefitting from this pointless argument over interpretations of photo copyrights and the like? Look at the title of this thread. Here's what's of interest to those likely to hang out here: in practice what does this mean? We're all familiar with 'stealing locations', which happens when you shoot somewhere without a permit. The downside to this is that in some situations, if your footage shows copyrighted or trademarked objects or settings, you can get sued. For example, the Hollywood Sign is trademarked, and if you shoot it for footage that then gets commercial exploitation, and you never bought a permit or licence, you'll get sued by the Hollywood chamber of commerce. But what if you shoot where there is no such issue? Well, the distributor, may still demand that you have releases from all your locations.

    What is interesting here is what happens when you shoot somewhere in the wilderness that's not recognizable like the Grand Canyon or some such place. How is the Park Services going to sue you? Can they prove it was shot at some specific place? If they can't, are you home free to steal locations there? What about the distributor who wants a release of that location wherever that may be? Can you at that point claim that it was outside of some jurisdiction or another, and therefore no release was legally available or necessary? THOSE are the questions of relevance to people reading here. Nobody wants to read your arguments that have no relevance to the readership that frequents film/video oriented sites.

    So, the question is: can we defend ourselves here, or are we screwed unless we have tons and tons and tons of $$$? That's what I'd like to see discussed and I'm kicking off such a discussion with the above questions... so let's dig into it! Thank you!

  • man just go in circles ! I'm not certain but it makes no difference. He lost the ability to copyright a photo that was obviously of his making ! Next they'll award copyrights to the camera manufacturers, because w/o the camera , no photo could have been taken. The photographer did so little. Just push a button here...and a button there....even less than that little monkey ...and the camera does by far the lions share, so let's give copyrights to camera makers next...and let the poor monkey rest ! It will be so much easier ! All photography and video copyrights will be owned by about 12 corps.

  • The photographer did not lose enforcement of his copyright on the photo. The court found he did not HAVE a copyright on the photo. There is a difference. You cannot win a judgment of theft if the court finds you didn't own the thing to begin with.

  • more time...the monkey...obviously is being used as a pretext by wikipedia so they can violate the photographers right to copyright. You...just like that photographer won't win a copyright battle in court against the system. They simply have too many resources. So...if a creator of such and such think that by "being copyrighted" they are protected , they are naive. As I said to bring a copyright case to court cost 10k, if you're the plantiff, out of your pocket ! If you're the defendant , and your contrary is a large corporation, considering it doesn't cost them anything to bring the suit, since they already have lawyers on hand for this sort of thing, and you're most likely floating your own legal expenses....most "cease and desist". the monkey selfie story was odd because this photographer fought the case for like 4 years....and still lost !

  • Copyrights and patents are 2 completely different things. And though many patents are laughable, I highly doubt Apple has received a patent on the rectangle.

  • Copywrite is used to protect large corporations not artists anymore. Who is buying up mass amounts of patents & rights? Big corporations. Those who try and fight the takedowns on youtube find themselves with the choice of spending hundreds of thousands in legal fees or to give up their rights to their content.

    The fact that we are in a society where some members get preferential rights when it comes to copy right claims is why the system is broken.

    Google patented shooting on a white background. Apple has patented a rectangle. Universal Music has takendown/sued original artists in order to use their work as samples unpaid. Urban outfitters copied an artists entire etsy jewellery line. unless you have $$ nothing you can do.

    Its about $$ and more and more content rights ownership is all about $$.

    I do feel copywrite is needed and it used to protect the artist but the cost of protecting your work is too expensive for 99% of the population.

  • who said that ?

    I did.

    ...the monkey selfie story ....

    I'm not sure I get your argument. Are you saying that authoritarian cartel should protect the monkey's copyright, or that the monkey is not entitled to a copyright?

    Since you said this earlier...

    ...actually copyrights violations are one of the principle tools the elites use to control their resources. sounds as if you'd describe the monkey as an Elite (in this case, presumably a bad thing), so I'm guessing you'd be pleased that the monkey hasn't been admitted as a member to the authoritarian cartel.

  • After a few days of scathing news reports and commentaries, the U.S. Forest Service made it clear that a new policy on wilderness photography and filming won’t apply to journalists or visitors taking snapshots for their own use.

    How they will know? Wrong Thoughts Police?

  • Well, I'm glad the authoritarian cartel protects my intellectual property.

    ...who said that ? They create the conditions whereby the protection of intellectual property is done on an unlevel playing field. Read my former post.

    ...the monkey selfie story ....

  • We already are charged for filming in National Parks here in Victoria, Australia. For major film projects it is $3417 ($3200 USD) for the first day and $2910 ($2750 USD) for each subsequent day. Other general filming charges range from $759 to $2088 per day. On top of that there are vehicle access charges of $139 per vehicle per day and staff supervision fees of between $96 to $130 per hour as deemed necessary by the park management. So if you were shooting a feature you would need to budget for up to $5000 per day just to operate within a national park!

  • If you can turn everyone into a law breaker when it comes time to selectively enforce laws you're covered. This is how they roll.

  • Well, I'm glad the authoritarian cartel protects my intellectual property.

    Are you sure that "authoritarian cartel protects my intellectual property"? May be it just happened that in order to get their big money they made the rules that just make you small favor?

  • Well, I'm glad the authoritarian cartel protects my intellectual property.

  • The laws they "cease and desist" are written by the cartel to protect it's interests. Laws are not written by a universal god defining ultimate good ! It's an artificial line in the sand to all but authoritarian zombies. Copyright laws are authoritarian's top toolkit.

  • Many acquiesce because they're guilty of a violation and choose to quickly cease and desist.

  • Copyright has no limits :-) I am sure with such progress you'll need special professional license to film skies and birds in the city soon. People just want money without need to work.

    ...actually copyrights violations are one of the principle tools the elites use to control their resources. Few have the legal access to combate them in "their" arena, where even it appears the highest judges can be "touched" ! To even begin judicious action on a copyright issue will set you back 10k. Most when they're hounded acquiesce uncontested.

  • People have always wanted something for nothing.

    Only way to fight these type of Draconian laws is to ignore them....if we all kowtow to this type of legislation we deserve what we get. If everyone just said "no" the legal system would grind to a halt.

  • How can any one group of individuals own copyright of a naturally occurring landscape?

    Copyright has no limits :-) I am sure with such progress you'll need special professional license to film skies and birds in the city soon. People just want money without need to work.

  • This has been happening in Australia since 2005.

    I was all for aborignal land rights and facilitating their management of National Parks until these discriminatory laws were introduced...if this is how are national parks and natural assets are going to be managed by indigenous people I no longer support this ideal.

    How can any one group of individuals own copyright of a naturally occurring landscape?

  • @sammy

    Call your local medical department, I am sure if you are shooting your own face you need one also.

  • Once I called my local city hall about filming in the city .I'm in southern California..long story short he told me even if I'm filming in my house and even if it's for just youtube he said I need to get a permit from them .

  • Here is a link to the actual US Forest Service "Interim Directive" (ID). The USFS is proposing that this ID be made permanent. Please read the actual text for yourself:

    In summary, it says that: - you do not need a permit for any still photography including commercial still photography as long as you do not use actors, models and props, or locations normally unavailable to the public. If you use actors, models or props or need special access, you must apply to the USFS for a permit describing your content. Your proposed content must be approved by a USFS censor to ensure that it meets the specific objectives of the agency (see the ID, above). - you do not need a permit for recreational photography or video - you are required to have a permit for any motion picture, video recording or audio recording ... if it is used to generate an income regardless of whether you have actors, models or props involved. If you post your video clip on Youtube with an ad, you need a permit.

    Still photographers can press the silver button, take still photos and sell them.

    However, if they press the red button on the exact same camera, while standing at the exact same location, and post that video on Youtube with an ad running alongside the video, then you are required to obtain a permit, your permit must be approved by a USFS censor, and may be required to have liability insurance and to pay for a USFS ranger to monitor your activities while you press the red button.

    The media got excited about this ID when they noticed the USFS has been enforcing part of the rule that says the news media is exempt only for "breaking news". All other media use would require a permit and approval of the USFS censors. In actual fact, twice in the past month, a local public broadcasting TV show in Idaho was told by the USFS they must have a permit. In one case, they wanted to film students digging for garnets on USFS land (not wilderness land).

    Yesterday, the head of the USFS backpedaled and says they never intended this to apply to the news media. That is not true. The Oregonian newspaper, 3 days ago, specifically asked a USFS official for permission to take photos in the Mt Hood Wilderness and was told they needed a permit. The next day, they drove up to Mt Hood, and without permits, took photos and posted them in their newspaper. A day later, the USFS backed off.

    However, the rules still remain as I have summarized. The USFS is attempting to select the means of expression (still versus film, video or audio recording), and to approve the content of the latter 3. In the US we have the First Amendment, which is as close to a sacred document as we come here. This Amendment prohibits the government from controlling our speech or our desired method of expression. Citizens and the media are both protected. A professor of communications (journalism) is quoted in an area newspaper as saying he is astonished that this obviously unconstitutional issues were not recognized by the USFS staff when putting this rule together.

    In the end, there are 3 main issues: 1. The USFS is selecting the means of expression (still given favorable treatment versus everything else) 2. The USFS defines "commercial filming" overly broadly and absurdly. The guy with his tripod, huge camera and 2 foot long lens taking still photos and selling them does not need a permit. The lady next to him shooting video with an iPhone that she posts on youtube with an ad alongside, must apply for a permit and be approved by the USFS censors. 3. First Amendment issues galore. The USFS is not only controlling the means of expression, but also states (states in plain language in the ID - this is not some wild assertion) that the content must meet their content requirements and be approved by the USFS (literally a censor, which is why I use that term).

    The rule should be written to focus on the impact on the land and the USFS resources - and not be focused on the means of expression or the content.

    Because the USFS has backed off the media requirements, the media may fade away from this issue. And because they exclude most still photography, I've seen still photographers posting on social media that this is just an old rule, nothing to worry about. Because it does not impact them.

    Big production companies know they need permits and plan for it.

    That leaves individuals that wanted to press the red button under threat as most do not have the legal resources to fight this absurd rule to the Supreme Court. Literally, press the silver button and drive to the bank; press the red button and pay a fine. It's absurd.

    I encourage all still and video photographers, including hobbyists, to read the full Interim Directive above and then to file comments at this web site:

  • @Vitaliy ....good sources. thanx