Photography and videotaping

As recording police officers draws more attention, Dallas police policy tries to 'water down' the right

Jacob Donnelly | Newsgathering | News | June 3, 2015
June 3, 2015

When the Dallas Police Department released its policy in May on the right of the press and public to records its officers, the media were left scrambling to figure out what had changed between when the policy was drafted and circulated and when it was released officially.

Forest Service says it never intended permit policy to regulate photojournalists

Amelia Rufer | Newsgathering | News | October 8, 2014
October 8, 2014

A controversial proposal to restrict wilderness photography and regulate commercial filming was never intended to require newsgatherers to obtain permits, according to the U.S. Forest Service. But the wording of the regulation will need to be changed to satisfy the concerns of a media coalition that has protested the policy.

The agency's director and spokesperson both said the service intends to allow for a wide interpretation of newsgathering, which is exempt from the permit process, that extends far beyond the narrow definition of "breaking news" that appears in the directive.

10th Circuit reverses dismissal of 'Dateline' defamation case

Bradleigh Chance | Libel | News | July 14, 2014
July 14, 2014

Last week the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals determined that while NBCUniversal reporters did not violate anyone’s Fourth Amendment rights creating the 2008 Dateline segment titled “Tricks of the Trade,” a lower court will have to review the originally dismissed defamation claims made by an insurance broker featured in the piece.

Tyrone M. Clark and his company, Brokers’ Choice of America, initially sued NBC over video clips recorded with a hidden camera by Dateline crew members during an insurance brokers’ seminar in Colorado located on BCA property.

The reporters worked with Alabama law enforcement to gain access to the event since it was only open to licensed insurance agents, which Clark and BCA claimed to be a Fourth Amendment violation of the company’s right against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Police department agrees to implement recording rights guidelines in settlement with videographer

Danielle Keeton-Olsen | Newsgathering | News | June 19, 2014
June 19, 2014

New York’s Suffolk County Police Department agreed to take new measures to instruct police on citizens’ recording rights in a settlement following the arrest of a freelance videographer.

Phillip Datz, a videographer and member of the National Press Photographers Association, filed a complaint against Suffolk County Police in 2012 after an officer arrested him for obstruction of governmental administration because Datz filmed police activity while on a public street.

Before the case made it to trial in the U.S. District Court of New York, Datz and Suffolk County reached a settlement. Suffolk County agreed to develop resources on citizens’ recording rights and to pay Datz $200,000 to cover attorney’s fees and costs.

Media rights advocates object to Utah court rule revision on video-recording of cases

Bradleigh Chance | Secret Courts | News | June 17, 2014
June 17, 2014

Utah’s court system began allowing TV cameras, smartphones and laptops into public court proceedings last year, but officials revised that rule after repeatedly denying one man’s requests to record family law proceedings.

The revision reverses the presumption that video cameras are allowed in family court proceedings, and, instead, lets the judge weigh a number of factors to decide when taping is allowed. Though judges made the rule effective immediately, Utah’s Judicial Council is considering comments from the public on the proposal until June 24 and plans to permanently vote on the rule change in August.

In January, family law attorney Eric Johnson began making dozens of recording requests for hundreds of divorce cases. Only one request was granted.

Recent settlement in suit over arrest for recording police follows growing trend

Danielle Keeton-Olsen | Newsgathering | News | June 16, 2014
June 16, 2014

The town of Weare, New Hampshire, settled a lawsuit last week for $57,500 with a woman arrested for videotaping a police officer, adding to the growing list of settlements stemming from police officers’ restriction of video and audio recordings in public places.

In Gericke v. Begin, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Boston (1st Cir.) upheld a lower court opinion that Carla Gericke was within her First Amendment rights to record a police officer at a traffic stop.

Following that opinion, instead of choosing to continue with the trial, Weare settled the case with Gericke.

Mickey Osterreicher, general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association, said most of the cases in which citizens sue police for unlawfully arresting them or confiscating their cameras reach a settlement, although this settlement was low in comparison to others he has noticed.

Georgia court remands decision on recording trial, citing trouble with defining 'news media'

Danielle Keeton-Olsen | Secret Courts | News | June 12, 2014
June 12, 2014

In a decision on whether a student could record court proceedings, the Court of Appeals of Georgia stated this week that courts risk harming key constitutional rights by attempting to distinguish who is “legitimate ‘news media.’”

Joshua McLaurin, a student at Yale Law School, asked to record criminal proceedings in two different counties in July 2013 for a project examining the experiences of impoverished defendants in the Georgia criminal justice system.

McLaurin cited two different Georgia laws in his application: Uniform Superior Court Rule 22 and a section of the Georgia code regarding general standards for requesting permission to record court proceedings. The trial court held that Rule 22 only applies to news media, so it applied the Georgia code instead.

Newspaper files suit after reporters detained outside Defense contractor plant in Ohio

Michael Rooney | Newsgathering | News | April 7, 2014
April 7, 2014

The Toledo Blade filed a lawsuit Friday against various military officials after reporter Tyrel Linkhorn and photographer Jetta Fraser were detained March 28 outside a contractor-operated Department of Defense facility in Lima, Ohio.

According to the complaint, filed in a U.S. district court in Ohio, the journalists intended to take "file" photos for the newspaper's future use with stories related to the plant. They parked on a public road in front of the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center and took photographs of the outside of the facility, according to the complaint.

They began to leave but were stopped by military police and detained for an hour, according to the complaint. Their equipment was confiscated, and their photos were deleted.

Law criminalizing photography of celebrities' children passed in California

Latara Appleby | Newsgathering | News | September 26, 2013
September 26, 2013

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill into law Tuesday that restricts photographers' right to photograph the children of celebrities. The bill goes into effect Jan. 1.

Court orders BBC to hand over unaired documentary footage

Cindy Gierhart | Reporter's Privilege | News | September 23, 2013
September 23, 2013

A federal district court on Thursday ordered the BBC to turn over unseen footage from a 2003 documentary on Yasser Arafat. The U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., said the importance of protecting journalists’ newsgathering function is “weaker” when the sources are not confidential.