We don’t need no stinkin’ permits (or shouldn’t)!

The bloggers over at DCist are rightly concerned about proposed new rules for photography, filming and sound recording on federal lands that would require “commercial” photographers to get permits before shooting. A group of journalism organizations has complained to the Department of Interior complaining, among other things, about the definition of “commercial.”

In a release, Society of Professional Journalists President Clint Brewer said, “Public land should be safeguarded, but the rules the department is seeking to codify simply go too far.” Does he mean to say that prior restraint is OK, as long as it’s on federal land and the definition of journalism is narrow enough to ensnare commerical speech only?

Rather than trying to define what constitutes “commercial” speech vs. “journalism,” free speech would be far more secure if First Amendment protections were extended to the “commercial” speech as well.

Better yet, the less amount of land that is in federal hands, the less of a problem this would be. (Thanks to Megan McLaughlin for the DCist link.)