Court Affirms Your Right to Take Crappy Photos of Federal Buildings

There is no law that says you can't take pictures of buildings owned by the government. Does that sound like the kind of common sense that shouldn't require a federal court's affirmation? You're damn right it does. But as the Weekly learned last June, some things bear repeating.

It was then that attorney Larry Hildes and a Weekly photographer got into a verbal skirmish with security guards outside of the FBI's downtown field office. Hildes was posing for a cover shoot when a guard asked the photographer not to include the building in his pictures.

When Hildes balked, as was his right, the guard called in for reinforcements in the form of a camo-shirted agent. No arrests were made. No punches thrown. But as a recent court ruling in New York proves, it was the kind of low-level verbal harassment familiar to many a photog trying to snap a shot of a government building.

In that case, the state's ACLU argued on behalf of a man arrested for filming a protester outside of a Manhattan courthouse last November. The government just settled the case and relented that, yes, its got no right to prevent anyone -- whether they be a pro with a Canon or an amateur with a crappy point-and-shoot -- from popping off a picture of an edifice built with their tax dollars.

Happy shooting.

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