” Last month, the Forest Service proposed a regulation that would require permits costing as much as $1500 to take photographs or film on Forest Service land. The public response has been overwhelmingly negative [I tried but couldn't make the sentence long enough for all the criticism...]. To put this simply enough that a Forest Service bureaucrat can understand it, the First Amendment doesn’t allow the government to forbid speech in public places, to regulate the content of that speech, to subject speech to an arbitrary preclearance process, or to condition a government benefit on waiving the right to free speech. Somehow the Forest Service managed to do all of this in a single proposal.
The proposal would require a permit for any “commercial” filming, which is broadly defined as any sound or video recording that could generate income and uses models, sets, or props. Say, for example, a nonprofit filmed a video in the forest that might generate donations [*cough* hint *cough*]:
This video would require Forest Service approval, even though the filming took place in a public place and had no adverse impact on the environment.
The regulation also prohibits unpermitted still photography if it uses models, sets, or props or causes any administrative inconvenience for the Forest Service (although it’s not clear why the permit regime isn’t itself an administrative inconvenience).”