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Old 05-07-2008   #41
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Originally Posted by bmattock View Post
Celebrity, however one may wish the term be used, is not something one takes unto oneself by voluntary action, nor can one refuse its loving embrace. Celebrity is bestowed.
Dear Bill,

I apologize for the 'snottiness' of the earlier post, but would say in my defence (as we both know well) that trying to appear clever is hard to resist. Actually being clever is more demanding (again as we both know well).

I will however dispute the nature of consent to celebrity (and indeed notoriety). An adult can (or is presumed to be able to) judge the consequences of his or her actions, and is therefore able to choose celebrity/notoriety or not. If celebrity or notoriety is then bestowed, he or she can thereafter control access of the press to some extent. A child cannot.

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Old 05-07-2008   #42
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Dear Bill,

I apologize for the 'snottiness' of the earlier post, but would say in my defence (as we both know well) that trying to appear clever is hard to resist. Actually being clever is more demanding (again as we both know well).
Thank you for that. I agree with you in this as well.

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I will however dispute the nature of consent to celebrity (and indeed notoriety). An adult can (or is presumed to be able to) judge the consequences of his or her actions, and is therefore able to choose celebrity/notoriety or not. If celebrity or notoriety is then bestowed, he or she can thereafter control access of the press to some extent. A child cannot.
That would be the role of a parent. Parents stand to protect their children, not the government, from the legal gathering and reporting of news.

I would once again dare to argue that if JK Rowling did not want a photograph of her child published, she should not have appeared in public with the child. Anyone who witnessed the appearance knows who the child is, certainly. The news simply acted as a multiplier to the number of witnesses.

Access was granted when she hove into public view.
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Old 05-07-2008   #43
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That would be the role of a parent. Parents stand to protect their children, not the government, from the legal gathering and reporting of news.
Dear Bill,

Another slippery slope argument where you stake your position close to absolutism.

Parents do not always behave in ways that will benefit their children; the state acts as a backup, here as alsewhere.

I am not inclined to argue this one strongly. Both views -- yours and mine -- are defensible; and our opinions differ on matters of degree, not fact.

Cheers,

Roger
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Old 05-07-2008   #44
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I can't see what all the fuss is about here.
I'm not sure there is a 'fuss'. I've posted a news story, and I feel that it does represent a concern for all photographers, but I have not (hopefully) made a 'fuss' over it.

Quote:
"The court ruled that a child has a 'reasonable expectation that he or she will not be targeted in order to obtain photographs in a public place for publication, which the person who took the photographs knew would be objected to on behalf of the child".


Tis true, and I disagree with the conclusion. I don't think a child has any such expectation. In the US, certainly not. I'm sorry to hear it is now the case in the UK.

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Don't photograph minors, for publication, if you think that the parents would object.
That's called common courtesy.
One should refrain from breaking wind in church. Shall we make it a law now? The point being that 'common courtesy' is just that - voluntary behavior. If restrained by law, it is no longer voluntary, and thus no longer 'courtesy'.

I have read this argument here before. Whilst I agree with being courteous, I won't voluntarily give up my rights to avoid giving offense to others in many cases, and to demand that I do so, backed by force of law, is simply unacceptable.

Quote:
"However, the court stressed that the 'focus should not be on the taking of the photograph in the street but in its publication' and rejected the view that the claimant has a legal 'image right".

No rights taken away here, no "thin end of the wedge".
The court held that there was no legal right to publication. This was not the case before the ruling. Thus, the thin edge. A right - or at least a practice that had previously been considered legal - is no more.

What newspapers could once do - they no longer can.

If that is not a reduction in rights, I do not know what is.

But I fully understand why we find ourselves on different sides of this issue.

As I stated previously, in time, you will regret the gleeful giving away of our rights as photographers - even the demand that we be restricted to avoid being discourteous to others. There is an end to all this, and none of us will like it when it comes. I'll at least have raised the issue for discussion. Please remember that when you're required to have your camera registered as a weapon might be, and a license granted to take photographs - or revoked - at a gendarme's discretion, with your photographs subject to approval and tax by the local magistrate.

Am I exaggerating? Today - yes, today - in New York City, there is a public debate regarding the city's proposal that wedding photographers must be licensed, pass a test, pay a $5,000 fee to the city, and fill out lengthy questionnaires before they are allowed to practice their trade in NYC.

http://webdocs.nyccouncil.info/textf...00633-2007.htm

And if you think that's reasonable - wait until the $5,000 fee is on you for taking shots of flowers at the local park.

That's where we are headed. But so many of you don't choose to see it. I am very downhearted.
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Old 05-07-2008   #45
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What we're talking here is paparazzi and gutter press, REAL NEWSpapers have nothing to fear.
"First they came for the communists...."
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Old 05-07-2008   #46
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Am I exaggerating? Today - yes, today - in New York City, there is a public debate regarding the city's proposal that wedding photographers must be licensed, ppay a $5,000 fee to the city, and fill out lengthy questionnaires before they are allowed to practice their trade.
Well, yes, you ARE exaggerating. The fee is, I think, around $125. THe $5,000 is a bond, against non-delivery of photos that have been paid for etc. Ludicrous, yes, but again not as draconian as you describe.

UK newspapers did not previoulsy have a right to photograph identified celebrities' children; it has been forbidden by the Press Commission, their trade organisation, for many years. SO, again, this is NOT a serious issue for photographers. Saying it represents a dangerous precedent, a silppery slope, a thin end of the wedge, is like saying that banning ownership of anti-aircraft missiles infringes your right to bear arms.
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Old 05-07-2008   #47
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I'd just like to settle the matter here by saying that Bill is right.

Thanks much.
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Old 05-07-2008   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pitxu View Post
" What newspapers could once do - they no longer can."

What we're talking here is paparazzi and gutter press, REAL NEWSpapers have nothing to fear.
At the risk of once again seeming to be on the side of the much-hated paparazzi, they serve two purposes that I can discern.

First, and most importantly, they fill the demand that the public has for photos of these sorts. As always, we blame the purveyors of filth for the demand our societies have for filth. Supply does not exist in a vacuum. People want this sort of thing, or there would be no paparazzi. Like lawyers - if people would quit suing the bejabbers our of each other, maybe we wouldn't hate them so much.

Second, like it or not, it is the edges that define the boundaries. Existing in the middle, one cannot see either side. It is the extremes that define what rights are and what they are not. This is a necessary role in a free society. The paparazzi's role in society in this capacity is no different than that of pornographers, or devoutly religious, or militant demonstrators for or against this or that. Larry Flynt, reviled though he was, helped in a very concise way to define the boundaries of free speech in the USA - and not by being meek.

The paparazzi are not only producing services that the public desires, they perform a secondary and extremely useful function in defining the edges of legal photographic behaviour.
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Old 05-07-2008   #49
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Well, yes, you ARE exaggerating. The fee is, I think, around $125. THe $5,000 is a bond, against non-delivery of photos that have been paid for etc. Ludicrous, yes, but again not as draconian as you describe.
I stand corrected - I conflated the required $5,000 'bond' with the $125 'fee'. Nevertheless, that's $5,125 out of a photographer's pocket before he can shoot a wedding in the city of New York, right? That a good thing?

Quote:
UK newspapers did not previoulsy have a right to photograph identified celebrities' children; it has been forbidden by the Press Commission, their trade organisation, for many years.
That has not the force of law. That is agreed-upon 'polite behavior' as you seem to wish to see codified as law.

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SO, again, this is NOT a serious issue for photographers. Saying it represents a dangerous precedent, a silppery slope, a thin end of the wedge, is like saying that banning ownership of anti-aircraft missiles infringes your right to bear arms.
Rights are not generally infringed upon all at once in a functioning society, they are taken little by little. Do you disagree?

And rights, once taken, are almost never returned voluntarily. I can think of only a few cases in the US where that has ever been the case.

Freedoms, once surrendered, are seldom regained without violence.

That is, after all, the very definition of a slippery slope.

We can call it something else, since that seems to fash you.

I have been accused several times in this thread of being an 'absolutist'. I've been thinking about it, and perhaps that is true. I hope that there is a place in society for an absolutist, which I do indeed see as preferable to one who has no strong opinions about anything.
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Old 05-07-2008   #50
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I have been accused several times in this thread of being an 'absolutist'. I've been thinking about it, and perhaps that is true. I hope that there is a place in society for an absolutist, which I do indeed see as preferable to one who has no strong opinions about anything.

Not that there is anything wrong with that...
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Old 05-07-2008   #51
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Celebrities have been suing the asses off the paparazzi for decades, and winning. This is not affecting the rights of honest street photographers.

I've told you what I'm doing to protect the rights of street photogs. What are you doing apart from playing the Gadfly?

In your public profile you state you are a "Professional Gadfly".
For those who don't know, here what wiki says:
"Gadfly" is a term for people who upset the status quo by posing upsetting or novel questions, or attempt to stimulate innovation by proving an irritant."

You are hardly "stimulating innovation", but I do find you an "irritant".

This is quite interesting. I find some of those arguing with Bill to be the irritants. From my point of view, Bill "gets it", and the others do not.

Of course, YMMV...
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Old 05-07-2008   #52
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I get the impression that Ms. Rowling is quite a prima donna who uses her $$ to sue and bully anyone who displeases her. I've never read her books, but I tried to watch one of her movies based on her first book and found it insufferable -- I can't understand the adoration for her in the media.
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Old 05-07-2008   #53
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Tell me what I don't get Al, I'm all ears.
I wan't exactly referring to you, but I think Bill explained the various issues much better than i can. If we allow the rights of those on the edges of our profession or hobby to be infringed, ours may follow shortly thereafter. Since I'm over 50, maybe I should just let it go and hope I'm dead before things turn to sh*t...

And most of the paprazzi who have been sued were the ones that deserved it.

It's one thing to stand outside a club to catch Paris Hilton or some famous person, it's another to chase them at high speeds until they crash. A case involving Lindsey Lohan comes to mind, not to mention Princess Diana.
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Old 05-07-2008   #54
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Celebrities have been suing the asses off the paparazzi for decades, and winning. This is not affecting the rights of honest street photographers.
I am willing to believe you, but I do not know of any such lawsuits. Indeed, I know of many lawsuits paparazzi have filed against celebrities when they have been assaulted, had their equipment stolen and/or damaged, etc. These seem to generally result in a settlement for a 'confidential amount'.

Could you give me the names of one or two notable lawsuits where paparazzi were sued by celebrities and lost?

Quote:
I've told you what I'm doing to protect the rights of street photogs. What are you doing apart from playing the Gadfly?
You say that as though playing the gadfly was not enough. I also agitate, posture, belittle, dazzle, and once I even defenestrated.

Oh, I also engage in civil disobedience on occasion. Seems more direct and more fun that writing letters to stuffed shirts and wonks.

Quote:
In your public profile you state you are a "Professional Gadfly".
For those who don't know, here what wiki says:
"Gadfly" is a term for people who upset the status quo by posing upsetting or novel questions, or attempt to stimulate innovation by proving an irritant."

You are hardly "stimulating innovation", but I do find you an "irritant".
Then my work here is nearly complete. In such ways, pearls are made.
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Old 05-07-2008   #55
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It's one thing to stand outside a club to catch Paris Hilton or some famous person, it's another to chase them at high speeds until they crash. A case involving Lindsey Lohan comes to mind, not to mention Princess Diana.
In each of those cases, it was not the photography that got them into trouble, but their criminal behavior. Being a photographer does not give one license to break the law.

It only gives one license to engage in lawful behaviour - even that behaviour which decent people like our friends here find disrespectful of others.
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Old 05-07-2008   #56
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Zidane il a baisé, Zidane il a baisé, Zidane il a baiséééééé (singing).

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Old 05-07-2008   #57
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Right.

There are two types of law in the UK, as in many other countries. Torts and malfeasances, or in other words, civil and criminal law. This case was brought under the rules of tort. Rowling has - in this case successfully - used the law of the land to protect her child - which is unable to protect itself - from unreasonable intrusion.

Please note the word "unreasonable". Again, in UK law, there is the "concept of reasonableness". Since the late 19th Century and Lord Bowen, this has been illustrated by the example of "the man on the Clapham omnibus" - in other words, an ordinary chap.

What a judge does in cases such as this is rules what he thinks would be deemed to be reasonable by our man on the bus. (There is a whole separate argument as to whether a highly paid and privilaged legal expert in the latter part of their life is truly representative of the views of such hoi polloi but that is not for this thread.) That is what the judge has done.

This truly is a non-issue and much of the spiralling and cyclic debate on this thread is simply ill-informed. Like Pitxu I am strongly in favour of the protection of photographers' rights, and am actively involved in the campaign to do so, but this is a distraction from the main issues.

Again, I urge any UK resident who feels strongly about this to write to your MP and get them to support the Early Day Motion initiated by Austin Mitchell, or in other words, a little less conversation, a little more action.

Finally, I freely confess as a non-US citizen what I know about US law has been gleaned from old episodes of LA Law, Law and Order and Perry Mason, etc, typically watched with half a brain while doing something else.

For that reason I wouldn't presume to equate my training in and experience of UK law into sweeping generalisations about the laws of the US, or indeed any other nation.

Regards,

Bill
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Old 05-07-2008   #58
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It seems a lot of people agree that children shouldn't be appearing in any editorial without some sort of parental consent? And it seems to be the UK's new stance too. It kind of surprises and worries me that people feel this way; children are part of what is going on in the world. \

Should I have not taken this photo and should I also not be considering putting it in a larger series about Thailand a year after the coupe, during the constitutional referendum and subsequent election? Even though it fits well, and does apply (in my opinion). I hesitate to post it now, and will probably take it down again soon...

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Old 05-08-2008   #59
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It seems a lot of people agree that children shouldn't be appearing in any editorial without some sort of parental consent?
Well, I certainly don't agree with that, but (like the judge) I think identification is the issue. If I take a picture of Mehitabel Bloggs, aged 8, and publish it without permission as Mehitabel Bloggs, aged 8, of 123 Surrey Gardens, that's a bit different from a generic picture of a little girl watching a dragon dance in Ramsgate at the Chinese New Year.

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Old 05-08-2008   #60
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It seems a lot of people agree that children shouldn't be appearing in any editorial without some sort of parental consent? And it seems to be the UK's new stance too.
Should I have not taken this photo and should I also not be considering putting it in a larger series about Thailand?
Oh no! We've fallen down Bill's slippery slope! I can guarantee you would be OK with this photo, morally and legally, in the UK at least, as long as you don't caption it "millionaire food mogul takes his son Bernie for a walk outside their luxurious home, 49 Worachek, Bangkok"

I applaud Bill's zeal in upholding photographers' rights, btw, but I think his zeal is misdirected in this instance. The weather was turning sunny in Detroit when I left last Friday, hope your spring's holding up as well as ours is...

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Old 05-08-2008   #61
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I can guarantee you would be OK with this photo, morally and legally, in the UK at least, as long as you don't caption it "millionaire food mogul takes his son Bernie for a walk outside their luxurious home, 49 Worachek, Bangkok"

My thinking was that it was legal (depending on the country) to use a photo with an identifiable subject in editorial work, even if that subject was under-age. However, it seems to be a pretty vague line between using a photo of a celebrity and their child and a photo of any other citizen and their child. How long before someone could be in court for a photo such as this?

It also seems that the UK judge is suggesting that the average person has the right to not have their child appear in an editorial photo, and some people here seem to agree.

Tough thing is I think many paps do go too far, and the situation heads down the stalking direction; a pity it can't be seen as that.

Anyway, as you can see, this kid was armed and so if he had objected I probably wouldn't be talking about it .
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Old 05-08-2008   #62
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Originally Posted by Pitxu View Post
The magazine "Voici" ordered to pay 50,000euros to footballer Zidane,
http://zinedine-zidane.over-blog.net...4978547-6.html




Same magazine, same sum to swimmer Laure Manadou
http://www.infos-des-medias.net/2007...0000-euros.php


Magazine "VSD" ordered to pay 35,000 euros to singer Bertrand Cantat

http://www.lexpansion.com/economie/a...on_127420.html

Here's three examples, you can google if you want more.
I just woke up and read this - looked at the first one, had to use Babelfish to translate it from French (I can only read French myself when I am drunk).

It appears that the gist of the lawsuit was not the photographs, but the way that they were used. Two people entered a building at separate times and were photographed doing so - but the paper published both together as if they entered at the same time, and made an insinuation about their romantic relationship with each other. I can easily see how that would lead to a lawsuit and damages. But that has little to do with the paparazzi in question or the photographs, per se, but rather in how they are used.

I did some research last night and found a case where Jennifer Anniston sued a paparazzi and won, but in her case, he climbed a wall to get onto private property to take a topless photo of her. Well again - if the paparazzi do something illegal, they're not protected - they have no special rights that allow them to break the law.

So far, I have found no cases of paparazzi sued successfully for taking a photo under the public circumstances where they can generally be taken and published (in public). I will keep looking and I will look at your other links.

I think it is possible that you are seeing paparazzi and their publications sued successfully because of OTHER things they do, things that are violations of civil laws. But not for the photos themselves if they were taken in public.

Still checking...
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Old 05-08-2008   #63
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OK, I read another of your links, Pixtu, and it's a hoot. Celebrity sues and wins because of pictures of him taken while he was serving a prison sentence - taken from inside the prison.

I get it. Yes, you are technically correct - celebs are routinely suing paparazzi and winning. I capitulate! I should have been more precise. The lawsuits are happening because the paparazzi are breaking laws to get photos. I'm glad they get sued and lose under those circumstances! And their publications get sued and lose because the tell outrageous lies about the photographs, or place innocent photographs next to each other to make it appear that something happened which did not. Right! Good! Sue the *******s!

But I'm not seeing any successful lawsuits of paparazzi or their publications for taking or publishing photos of celebrities or their kids taken in public and used without lying about what they are or what they represent. N'est ce pas?

I don't defend paparazzi who break the law or publications that lie about what photographs mean. That is well-defined criminal and civil law territory. When they tread that ground, it is good that they get whacked.
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Old 05-08-2008   #64
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Can't find much on google and I'm not going to waste time just to convince you Bill. But here's one good example:


"A paparazzi shot of Vanessa Paradis and Johnny Depp is unsaleable to the French press, apart from Voici," says a paparazzi agency. "Because they systematically sue."
I hear you, and I'm not trying to nit-pick everything you send my way. You are right - the way I originally asked the question - and I'm wrong. Celebrities DO routinely sue and win paparazzi and their publishers.

But even this one - without clicking - would appear to be that the paparazzi now fear this couple because they litigate. That's a reasonable response - use your wealth to break the press-arazzi of harassing you. But it doesn't really go to the heart of what we've been discussing - that paparazzi can't take or publishers can't publish, photos taken of celebrities and their brats taken in public places under otherwise legal situations. They may sue, and in this most recent example, they may win by intimidation - but that's not the same as them winning because they have some imagined legal right to prevent publication of photos of their kids.

I do concede your point - but it is a different point than the one I think I've been arguing.

I'm willing to drop it too - we could go around and around on this, and clearly we disagree with each other. I'm perfectly willing to walk away from this thread.

Best Regards,

Bill
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Old 05-08-2008   #65
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I've been reading this thread with interest - I haven't contributed so far because I hadn't really decided what I think, and I think both sides have made valid points.

In this particular case, I think I've come down on the side of the Rowling sprog (even though I don't think I like JK very much). I think children should be afforded protection from having their photographs published in the press in a way that identifies them when the only interest is their identity itself. And that's got nothing to do with the parents' wishes - I think children should have rights that are independent of what their parents want.

But at the same time, I'm grateful to Bill for bringing this to our attention - I'd read the story on the BBC news, but I hadn't really thought about it until this thread made me do so. I think behooves us to be very attentive to any attempts to restrict our rights to freely practice our art, and even if we end up agreeing with any specific restrictions, we should first examine them critically and only accept them if we think they genuinely have merit. (For example, it would be so easy to lazily read a headline that said "NY wedding photographers to pay bond against possible non-delivery of agreed services" and think "Yeah, they shouldn't get away with it if they cheat", when in reality the photographic profession is being singled out in a way that does not apply to other professions, and honest photographers are being punished along with the dishonest - and that goes wholly against the ideals upon which the laws of Western democracies are based.)

Oh, and I also thank Bill for his usual brand of elegant and entertaining prose
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