Will you or I be arrested if we visit Fort Lauderdale? This is no joke, I am very serious.
The city of Fort Lauderdale has a policy banning all photography within hundreds of yards of a Hollywood movie set.
It doesn't matter if you are paparazzi, a professional photographer or just an amateur -- you are not allowed to take any photos even with your cell phone.
I am disgusted to think that the city of Fort Lauderdale is taking away our constitutional rights. If I was in Fort Lauderdale, I would be taking photos of the downtown area and restaurants to post on ActiveRain. Downtown Fort Lauderdale is a public area and I feel my constitutional rights are as important as those of a movie studio.
Norm Kent, a Florida attorney, commented “Freedom of expression, which includes photography, cannot be controlled by movie studios from Hollywood, even if Tom Cruise is in the film.”
Kent along with the South Florida chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has filed a lawsuit against Fort Lauderdale.
SPJ South Florida president Michael Koretzky is also inviting everyone to a “lunch-in” (this is not a formal event). “We’re simply going downtown to have lunch with 100 of our closest friends and First Amendment allies,” says Koretzky, a freelance journalist. “We’re going to buy lots of food and take lots of pictures – of each other, of police, of buildings, of everything. We plan to be well-fed criminals.”
I wish I could be in Fort Lauderdale for the lunch, but I can't. If you live anywhere close to Fort Lauderdale and can attend, I hope you will go and support your Constitutional rights.
UPDATE: 6/16/2011 from SPJ South Florida Pro President Michael Koretzky:
This is a casual affair. We don’t have to sit together if you’re feeling antisocial. As long as we eat and/or drink outside and take pictures – with an SLR, point-and-shoot, or smartphone – we’re sticking up for the First Amendment.
Take pictures of each other taking pictures. If the police tell you to stop taking pictures, you have two choices…
1. You can indeed stop. Others will document it. Mission accomplished.
2. You can keep going until you’re arrested. If that happens, I will personally bail you out of the Broward County jail.
Most likely, nothing will happen. This will probably be low-key and anticlimactic. Please bring your friends. Best bet for parking is down the side streets or in the parking garage catty-corner to Tarpon Bend
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