$1500 to shoot in wilderness areas?!?!

I interpreted that it was for organized shoots (weddings, advertising for companies, corporate events) originally, but the comments about the iphone video etc.. that suggests otherwise.
 
This isn't any different than in National Parks. There are restrictions and regulations about the use of its scenery. Personal use is just fine. I would wonder about all the freelance photographers that sell their prints, how will this effect them? @IntrepidXJ probably has an opinion about this.
 
This would be an impossible law to regulate, and I don't see how it will become law IMO.

The second the image is made and recorded on your card it is YOURS, and no one can take the copyright away from you, unless you agree to forfeit your copyright in writing PRIOR to making the image. The federal Government would have to erase all of the existing copyright laws and rewrite them, or the Feds would have to require any person heading for Federal land with a camera to sign away in person their rights to the images BEFORE they enter the area. I suppose the Feds could try to say that by entering Federal land you automatically forfeit your copyright, but I can't see that happening here. It is not enforceable. How many millions of photos and videos are taken on federal land each day?

Again, I want to emphasize, if you release your copyright to an image it has to be IN WRITING, it cannot be implied, or verbal.
 
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I am sure it is mostly meant to be towards large commercial productions, film shoots, commercials, etc.... but it's an awfully gray area and there doesn't seem to be much clarification between a solo photographer shooting and a large film crew.
 
This would be an impossible law to regulate, and I don't see how it will become law IMO.

The second the image is made and recorded on your card it is YOURS, and no one can take the copyright away from you, unless you agree to forfeit your copyright in writing PRIOR to making the image. The federal Government would have to erase all of the existing copyright laws and rewrite them, or the Feds would have to require any person heading for Federal land with a camera to sign away in person their rights to the images BEFORE they enter the area. I suppose the Feds could try to say that by entering Federal land you automatically forfeit your copyright, but I can't see that happening here. It is not enforceable. How many millions of photos and videos are taken on federal land each day?

Again, I want to emphasize, if you release your copyright to an image it has to be IN WRITING, it cannot be implied, or verbal.

This law would have to do with professionals. Events, celebrations, etc. Not personal use. The common person, tourist, traveler, or adventurer can take as many pictures as they would like. They can also do whatever they would like to do with them. This law is similar to any sporting event. At any broadcast something to the effect of 'any reproduction, rebroadcast, or use of the game, unless expressly stated is illegal.' All that means is that if you record the show, or watch the show in real time, you cannot charge money for it without the express and written consent of the provider. With the wilderness shots it will get dicey with the freelancers that sell their prints online. If the government says that you need consent and you sell a print without documentation then you may be subject to a penalty.
 
This law would have to do with professionals. Events, celebrations, etc. Not personal use. The common person, tourist, traveler, or adventurer can take as many pictures as they would like. They can also do whatever they would like to do with them. This law is similar to any sporting event. At any broadcast something to the effect of 'any reproduction, rebroadcast, or use of the game, unless expressly stated is illegal.' All that means is that if you record the show, or watch the show in real time, you cannot charge money for it without the express and written consent of the provider. With the wilderness shots it will get dicey with the freelancers that sell their prints online. If the government says that you need consent and you sell a print without documentation then you may be subject to a penalty.


You missed my point. Professional or amateur (it matters not), if you are on public land (not in a stadium or private land), and you have your own camera and record that image on your card, no one can take the copyright away from you unless you sign it away first, in writing. Period.
The Feds can try, but they would need to re-write copyright laws, which is not going to happen.
 
Commercial sales of photos is just the same as selling outfitting services, guided activites, etc. If itmakes the person money, the feds (end game is the public ownership) should be compensated. Granted with the internet and the amount of commercial photogs it will be hard to enforce, but if there is a problem, say resource damage, there is a place to start.
 
Taken from someone else......

I have taken a little time to find the Forest Service Handbook that is proposed to be amended (its really not that hard to track this stuff down). The proposed amendment in the Federal Register refers to FSH 2709.11, Chapter 40, which regulates special use permits. The amendment would make permanent and interim directive that has been in place for 48 months, and would be place in the FSH as section 45.1c. The proposed language refers to sections 45.1a and 45.2a for the criteria of where a permit is required for still photography and commercial filming.

However, the current FSH doesn't have a section 45.1 or 45.2 (the numbering starts at 45.5), so it isn't clear what the context would be. However, section 45.5 does deal with "Arts", and section 45.51 covers still photography and 45.52 covers commercial filming. So it may be that section 45 will be restructure to move those current sections into section 45.1 and then amend them with the permit-issuance criteria in the proposal.

I'm currently in a conversation with a very nice and helpful Forest Service contact person who is trying to work with me to sort out this discrepancy. He believes that the Federal Register is in error (not the first time) and that the full proposal would also reorganize the section to place all the permit coverage into the main sections of section 45, Arts, which would make more sense. He is checking with the office that promulgated the proposed amendment and put it in the Federal Register, to confirm that.

If that turns out to be the case, here is the language pertaining to when a permit for still photography is needed:

Definitions:
f. Still Photography. The use of photographic equipment to capture still images on film, digital format, and other similar technologies on NFS lands that:
(1) Takes place at a location where members of the public are generally not allowed or where additional administrative costs are likely, or
(2) Uses models, sets, or props that are not a part of the site’s natural or cultural resources or administrative facilities.

45.51a - Permit Requirements

A special use permit is not required for still photography when that activity involves breaking news (sec. 45.5). A special use permit:

1. Is required for all still photography (sec. 45.5) activities on National Forest System (NFS) lands that involve the use of models, sets, or props that are not a part of the natural or cultural resources or administrative facilities of the site where the activity is taking place.
2. May be required for still photography activities not involving models, sets, or props when the Forest Service incurs additional administrative costs as a direct result of the still photography activity, or when the still photography activity takes place at a location where members of the public generally are not allowed.

When a special use permit is required for a still photography activity and the request is an acceptable use of NFS lands (sec. 45.52), issue a special use permit for still photography activities on Form FS-2700-25, Temporary Special Use Permit, or on Form FS-2700-4, Special Use Permit.
-------------

So, it appears that for any use not included in the above, still photography does not require a permit, and that would not be changed by the proposed regulations. Keep in mind that commercial activity in general is still regulated in other sections, and those are not proposed to be changed. So it is entirely likely that activity such a leading a commercially-guided photo workshop still requires a permit and always has; that's not affected one way or the other by the proposed change.

Regarding "gotchas": Sure, an overzealous or poorly-trained individual can always create an unjustified hassle for a photographer; that's happened to me at federal sites and with local police. But the actual policy, and the rules for implementing it, don't appear to unreasonable or incompatible with what most of us would agree are reasonable for the practice of photography or protection of our precious wilderness areas.

This is just an effort to have the discussion of the proposed rules take place on the basis of facts rather than empty conjecture or rampant paranoia, as is often the case on the internet. Hopefully, FM, and FMers, are above that.

Dave

Update:
I heard back from the Forest Service contact, and after talking with the folks who put out the Federal Register notice, he confirmed that it is their intent to restructure section 45 and move the current provides on still photography and commercial filming into a new section 45.1 and then add the amendment language that is more specific about the criteria for issuing a permit. He agreed that the Federal Resister is sadly remiss for not saying this and vowed to bring that up an a meeting later today. Incidentally, that meeting is regarding their plans to extend the comment period on the proposed changes, no doubt because of all the interest from Congress and on the internet. I pointed out to him that they will probably get a lot unnecessary comments decrying stuff the proposal doesn't propose to do, all because they didn't care enough to put out a complete and clear Federal Register notice. So we'll see if that has any effect on reissuing the notice!

DSJ
 
Commercial sales of photos is just the same as selling outfitting services, guided activites, etc.
I do not think this is correct.
Providing a "service" is not the same as making an image file and later selling it. You are not providing a commercial service, you are just selling an image file, that you own the copyright to. If you were hired before hand to photograph something on federal land then that would be a commercial service.

Taken from someone else......

If that turns out to be the case, here is the language pertaining to when a permit for still photography is needed:

Definitions:
f. Still Photography. The use of photographic equipment to capture still images on film, digital format, and other similar technologies on NFS lands that:
(1) Takes place at a location where members of the public are generally not allowed or where additional administrative costs are likely, or
(2) Uses models, sets, or props that are not a part of the site’s natural or cultural resources or administrative facilities.

45.51a - Permit Requirements

A special use permit is not required for still photography when that activity involves breaking news (sec. 45.5). A special use permit:

1. Is required for all still photography (sec. 45.5) activities on National Forest System (NFS) lands that involve the use of models, sets, or props that are not a part of the natural or cultural resources or administrative facilities of the site where the activity is taking place.
2. May be required for still photography activities not involving models, sets, or props when the Forest Service incurs additional administrative costs as a direct result of the still photography activity, or when the still photography activity takes place at a location where members of the public generally are not allowed.

Thanks Andy for digging this up, very informative.
 
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Services usually involve a greater impact on the land as well. Guiding involves bringing more people in such as clients and paid staff. Commercial shoots with staff, models and equipment make an impact. Grazing... well, don't get me started. And last I checked we basically PAY people to do that destructive activity on our public lands via subsidies. An individual who simply takes a photo and then sells it should absolutely not be subjected to fees and fines, IMO. There is just way to much grey area there. What happens when Joe Blow enters a snapshot he took in a photo contest and wins a prize. Now he essentially got paid for it. Should he pay the gov $1500 for the opportunity?
 
@gnwatts Thanks for clarifying. I don't think I missed your point but simply looked passed it. Sorry. You're right, and the handbook backs that up in that still photography, as long as it doesn't use anything that is not natural to the site, will belong to the photographer. That's good. That means you can stay in business without permit hassles and fees.
@andyjaggy where did you find that info?
 
Services usually involve a greater impact on the land as well. Guiding involves bringing more people in such as clients and paid staff. Commercial shoots with staff, models and equipment make an impact. Grazing... well, don't get me started. And last I checked we basically PAY people to do that destructive activity on our public lands via subsidies. An individual who simply takes a photo and then sells it should absolutely not be subjected to fees and fines, IMO. There is just way to much grey area there. What happens when Joe Blow enters a snapshot he took in a photo contest and wins a prize. Now he essentially got paid for it. Should he pay the gov $1500 for the opportunity?
With the definition from the handbook above, no Joe Blow will be charged for any image they take anywhere at anytime. @gnwatts had it right.
 
Someone else dug it up. There is a thread over on the Fred Miranda photography forum about it.
 
The forest service chief today tried to clarify some of the complaints/misunderstandings:

WASHINGTON, Sept. 25, 2014 – The U.S. Forest Service today released information to clarify the agency’s intentions regarding a proposed directive for commercial photography and filmmaking in congressionally designated wilderness areas.
“The US Forest Service remains committed to the First Amendment,” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “To be clear, provisions in the draft directive do not apply to news gathering or activities.”
The proposal does not apply to news coverage, gathering information for a news program or documentary. However, if a project falls outside of that scope and the filming is intended to be on wilderness land, additional criteria are applied to protect wilderness values. In that case, a permit must be applied for and granted before any photography is permitted.
The agency issued a Federal Register notice on Sept. 4 seeking public comment on a proposal to formally establish consistent criteria for evaluating requests for commercial filming in wilderness areas as it has on national forests and grasslands. The proposed directive on commercial filming in wilderness has been in place for more than four years and is a good faith effort to ensure the fullest protection of America’s wild places.
“The fact is, the directive pertains to commercial photography and filming only – if you’re there to gather news or take recreational photographs, no permit would be required. We take your First Amendment rights very seriously,” said Tidwell. “We’re looking forward to talking with journalists and concerned citizens to help allay some of the concerns we’ve been hearing and clarify what’s covered by this proposed directive.”
Congressionally designated wilderness areas are protected by the Wilderness Act of 1964 and must remain in their natural condition. This is achieved in part by prohibiting certain commercial enterprises, and the agency is responsible for ensuring its policies adhere to that standard.
The public originally had until Nov. 3, 2014, to comment on the proposal. Based on the high level of interest, the agency will extend the public comment period to Dec. 3, 2014.
The proposal does not change the rules for visitors or recreational photographers. Generally, professional and amateur photographers will not need a permit unless they use models, actors or props; work in areas where the public is generally not allowed; or cause additional administrative costs.
Currently, commercial filming permit fees range around $30 per day for a group up to three people. A large Hollywood production with 70 or more people might be as much as $800. The $1,500 commercial permit fee cited in many publications is erroneous, and refers to a different proposed directive.
The Forest Service has long required permits according to statute for various activities on agency lands, from cutting a Christmas tree to filming a major motion picture, such as the 2013 Johnny Depp movie “The Lone Ranger.” The Disney production obtained a permit to film part of the movie on the Santa Fe National Forest in New Mexico.
 
I can't stand the freakin' headlines like these!

Say What? U.S. Government Wants to Charge You $1,500 for Photographing in Wilderness Areas

No, the U.S. Government doesn't want to charge ME $1,500 to take a photograph. The U.S. Forest Service is trying to fix some of the loop-holes that COMMERCIAL entities are jumping through. And they should be trying to modernize their handbooks. Let's look at that recent Patagonia settlement (and I'm aware it isn't USFS, but it's the same ordeal they are trying to deal with). "We didn't know that photographer had set up bolts in a Wilderness Area of Capitol Reef. We just bought a photo from him." I call B.S. on Patagonia! That's besides the point. The photographer really could've been a Joe Blow who happened to take good photos, so they bought the photo from them.

I have no problem with them trying to close in the loop-holes of the system. My problem is when these other organizations take the info and try to 'shock and awe' people to drive traffic to their website. It was the same ridiculous antics that caused so many people to be scared of the spy-network Facebook was creating with the new Messenger App. No, Facebook is not trying to spy on you (well, further than the information you already give them by being a member).

UGH!
 
I think The Oregonian may be taking some serious journalistic hits over that headline and the article contents. However, it certainly raised my eyebrows and made me want clarification. Frankly, I think the uproar was ultimately a very good thing, as it did indeed force the USFS to take a hard look at their wishy-washy language and realize people had some very real concerns over their very gray areas in that Federal Register document.

Here's another good link from someone who did some good digging, for those still interested: http://www.modernhiker.com/2014/09/25/the-forest-service-wont-charge-you-1500-for-photos/
 
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