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in Filmmaking
on Aug 29, 2011

In an important ruling today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston ruled in favor of a man suing the police for arresting him when he used his cell phone to record their actions in a drug arrest. The police claimed the arrest was proper due to a state law barring audio recordings without the consent of both parties. The court, however, disagreed… and video blogging played a part. Although some have argued that First Amendment protections in cases like this one should be restricted to professional journalists, the court felt differently.

Here’s an excerpt from the ruling, taken from an article at Universal Hub:

Moreover, changes in technology and society have made the lines between private citizen and journalist exceedingly difficult to draw. The proliferation of electronic devices with video-recording capability means that many of our images of current events come from bystanders with a ready cell phone or digital camera rather than a traditional film crew, and news stories are now just as likely to be broken by a blogger at her computer as a reporter at a major newspaper. Such developments make clear why the news-gathering protections of the First Amendment cannot turn on professional credentials or status.

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