YNN Rochester reports:
Amid the filming process for “The Amazing Spiderman 2” in Rochester, film crews and police, have been walking a fine line with media and civilians over public photography rights.
The question is: if police and production crews tell you not to photograph or videotape their public work, are they violating your civil rights? …
YNN’s own cameraman was told by police and film crews that he couldn’t shoot video from designated public viewing areas. Civilians who spoke with YNN were given similar instructions. [The mayor, the police chief, and the spokesman for the production company, however, later stated that such photography is permitted. -EV]
Given courts’ recognition of the general right to photograph in public places, I can’t see how photographing film shoots would be any different, so long as the photographer is standing where the public is allowed, and not blocking traffic or some such. In some situation, some commercial distribution of some of the photographs might be copyright infringement or infringement of the right of publicity, but often it won’t capture copyrighted expression, or will be fair use; mere taking of the photographs, and most noncommercial distribution of those photographs, would not be infringing, and in any event the possibility of such infringement strikes me as hardly a matter for the local police. And it appears from the story that the official views of the mayor and police chief are that such photography is indeed permitted.