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IPFS News Link • National Monuments/National Parks

Warning: Your iPhone video of Mt. Rushmore 'could land you in jail'

•, By Bob Unruh

The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression has released a statement warning that a new court ruling from the D.C. Circuit Court poses a massive threat to the First Amendment.

And you.

"Visiting D.C.? Planning to take video at the Lincoln Memorial for your YouTube channel? Not so fast. Thanks to the National Park Service and the D.C. Circuit Court, that video on your iPhone could land you in jail if your YouTube viewership generates any revenue," the FIRE statement warns.

The problem comes from a decision in Price v. Garland that affirmed the NPS scheme for requiring people to pay fees and obtain permits if any of their video actually generates revenue, such as on YouTube.

"The court drew a bewildering distinction between the act of filming and other steps in ultimately communicating through film, holding that recording video 'involves merely a noncommunicative step in the production of speech,'" the FIRE reported.

"The court's conclusion runs counter to decades of case law finding that the process of filmmaking is expressive, and that the First Amendment equally protects the creation and dissemination of speech, both of which are essential for communication."

Warned the FIRE report: "The downstream implications of such a distinction are staggering: Ansel Adams would enjoy full First Amendment protection to exhibit his famous National Park photos, but not in taking them. A budding poet (the next Henry David Thoreau, perhaps?) heading off to the woods to write a book of poetry would be fully protected by the First Amendment in selling the book, but not in actually writing it."