Good News from Mass. On videotaping of public officials

Discussion in 'Photography, Law & Travel' started by lindabarlow, Aug 31, 2011.

  1. lindabarlow

    lindabarlow Original Member

    Mass. United States District Court of Appeals rules on First Amendment grounds that it is indeed legal to videotape and document the actions of police and other public officials in public places without violating the old law on secret wiretapping (i.e. requiring their permission to tape). For more, see this story in today's Boston Globe:

    This should make me feel a lot more comfortable should I venture to use a video camera at Logan.

    [coached by Mike to note that the decision was from the United States Court of Appeals]
  2. Cartoon Peril

    Cartoon Peril Original Member

    I read that case. This happened on Boston Common. I think the court was careful to limit its ruling to public areas of that nature. I would continue to be cautious about the airport checkpoint situation.
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  3. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    This is very good news. I believe this leaves Illinois as the only significant ogre left in this area.

    Also note that this decision was from the United States Court of Appeals, not a Massachusetts court. It's out of Massachusetts hands at this point.

    Not at all, they were very clear in their intent and no such limitation was expressed. The Boston Common was simply cited as an exceptional example -- I am not familiar w/ Boston but I'm guessing it is an area historically known for free speech?
    Lisa Simeone and Cartoon Peril like this.
  4. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    I've uploaded a copy of the decision here:

    Attached Files:

  5. Cartoon Peril

    Cartoon Peril Original Member

    It is good news for New England, which is the part of the country in the 1st Circuit. But it was definitely not at an airport, and I can see arguments made (not that I would agree with them) that the ruling shouldn't apply to checkpoint photography. The relevant language is on pages 13 and 14 of the opinion:

  6. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    You're wasting more time & space raising red flags than it would actually take to present & discuss Smith, 212 F.3d at 1333:

    It was the denial of an appeal. The plaintiffs prevailed on the first amendment issue but otherwise failed to prove their case.

    It contributes little or nothing to the Massachusetts decision.
  7. INK

    INK Original Member

    From the Examiner:

    This article by Glenn Reynolds of the Washington Examiner does not specifically address airport and travel photography, but is a commentary on the current state of affairs. There is mention of a recent court case, that may be a good sign.

    My favorite quote:

  8. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Moving this down a level to the proper sub-forum -- Harassment of Photographers (Non-Travel) -- where the discussion is already underway.

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