On February 16, the Alliance joined a brief, filed in the Supreme Court of the United States challenging the constitutionality under the First Amendment of a national park’s permit-and-fee requirements for commercial filmmakers. In Price v. Garland, an independent filmmaker filmed in a national park without obtaining a filming permit. The government charged him with a misdemeanor, but later dismissed the charge. The filmmaker sued, arguing that the permit requirements are unconstitutional under the First Amendment. The District Court agreed, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit reversed, holding that filmmaking is “merely a non communicative step in the production of speech”. The brief, filed by NPPA, argues that the Circuit Court improperly separated the act of filming from the definition of speech in determining that the act of filming is not protected speech. The Alliance supports protecting the creation of speech, by journalists, filmmakers and photographers alike, at every step of the process under the First Amendment.
Charlotte McBirney is Senior Counsel and Director, Public Policy for the News/Media Alliance.