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“Judge: Commercial Filmmakers Don’t Need Permits In National Parks”

“A federal judge has struck down as unconstitutional the National Park Service's practice of charging commercial filmmakers who want to shoot in the National Park System, ruling it is a protected activity under the First Amendment.

The ruling (attached below) by U.S. District Judge Colleen Killar-Kotelly stated that the permitting practice, through which the Park Service charged commercial filmmakers for a permit and any costs relating to park personnel assigned to monitor the filming or other cost recovery, “is an unconstitutional restriction on speech protected by the First Amendment.”

“The statute imposes a chilling effect on the expressive activities of a wide swath of national park visitors,” wrote the judge in her ruling Friday. “Consequently, there is a significant equitable interest in avoiding the unconstitutional application and enforcement of (the requirement) and its implementing regulations.””

Kurt Repanshek reports for National Parks Traveler January 26, 2021.


“National Park Service Can't Require Permits and Fees for Commercial Filming, Judge Rules” (Hollywood Reporter)

“SEJ, J-Groups Urge Interior To Loosen Limits on Filming” (SEJ WatchDog: 10/31/2007)