After receiving complaints about a proposal to require photographers to have a permit to shoot on federal wild lands, the U.S. Forest Service says it will make some changes to ensure it doesn’t violate First Amendment rights.
“Based on the feedback we’ve made so far, we’ll make changes to make sure this doesn’t apply to news gathering,” Tom Tidwell, chief of the Forest Service, told The Washington Post.
Permits have been required for four years, but only as a temporary “directive” for commercial filming for things like movies and truck commercials. The Forest Service is now seeking to make the policy permanent, Tidwell said.
“If you’re news media, it has no effect at all,” he said. “If you’re a private individual, this doesn’t apply.”
Individuals who want to shoot on wild lands won’t need a permit, even if they plan to sell their photographs, except if it involves props. Fees for permits vary by size. Groups of up to three will pay $10 a day, while crews of 80 shooting movies usually pay around $800 a day, Tidwell said.
The deadline for public comment has been extended for the measure, from Nov. 3 to Dec. 3.