Update to Florida farm photography bill

M. Scott Brauer - A rancher bales hay for the Big Sky Montana Beef free-range black angus operation outside of Fairfield, Montana, USA.

The NPPA reports that there have been some changes to Florida farm bill SB 1246 (previously) that would make illegal photography or recordings of farm operations without the written permission of farm owners. The Florida Senate Committee on Agriculture approved the bill with two significant amendments: the crime has been changed from felony to misdemeanor, and the proposed bill no longer makes it a crime to photograph farm operations from public places, limiting the scope of the bill only to recordings made while trespassing. These are important and positive changes in the legislation, but the prospect of increasing limits on photography remains troubling.

Incidentally, our previous coverage of the bill was our most tweeted and shared post in the short history of dvafoto, racking up more than a thousand social media links, thanks in no small part to a tweet by Michael Pollan. I’m glad to see the issue get exposure outside of photography circles.

9 Responses to “Update to Florida farm photography bill”

  1. Barron Bixler

    For 3 years I photographed the big industrial ag operations of California’s San Joaquin Valley. Many of the photographs were taken with permission, but most were not (not from a lack of effort on my part, but from a lack of transparency on theirs). As an artist with an actual horse in this race, I can’t underscore how crucial this issue is not just for myself (a possible future felon) but for the public at large. It cuts to the very heart of our democracy.

  2. Marc Plouffe

    Any restrictions for photographers especially on public property is unacceptable.

    • Tom Peeper

      “Any restrictions for photo…..”

      Yeah tell me about it! How is a guy suppose to take pictures of my neighbor when shes taking a shower with these kind of CRAZY laws. Yo Marc, was hoping to get your home address and what time your WIFE be bathing??

      • Barron Bixler

        Tom…aside from the obvious point that a farming corporation doesn’t have the same rights to privacy as the neighbor you’ve been spying on (no matter how good she looks in the shower), this isn’t about what you personally think is right or wrong. It’s about what’s protected by law and the systematic efforts by corporations and our government to restrict those rights. Criminalizing the act of gathering and dissemination information with implications for the public well-being is dangerous and only serves to concentrate power in the hands of those that already have it.

  3. Doug Sahlin

    This is a minor victory for photographers, but I do agree the implications are troubling. I have been escorted from public places by security guards for taking artistic photos of architecture. That was a violation of my rights as a citizen and a photographer. As photographers and artists, we need to keep our ears to the ground and vehemently oppose any legislation that violates our rights to create artistic photographs.

  4. David

    The question I have is this: what problem was this bill written to address? I don’t understand the motivation behind the legislation.

    • davis

      because they are using prison workers and do not want to advertise it.

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