Representative Betty Nuovo, of the Vermont State House, recently introduced a bill that if passed would "make it illegal to take a photograph of a person without his or her consent, or to modify a photograph of a person without his or her consent, and to distribute it." This could have some ugly consequences for photographers in Vermont and if it passes there I would not be surprised to see other states try to follow suit. Let's examine this more...
The bill which was introduced is currently only available in short form from which I have copied and pasted below. But in short what Representative Nuovo seems to be proposing would eliminate the ability for photographers to take photos of virtually anyone and use those photos in their portfolio or distribute without their written consent. This could ultimately be quite detrimental to photographers in that area. Sadly things like this can be discussed in legislative branches of our government and passed without anyone ever noticing unless our industry gets involved.
Here is a
link to the email address, and phone number of all the representatives including the sponsor Betty Nuovo. It might be in our best interest to educate ourselves about this bill and if you have any complaints about it contact her office directly. Before contacting a representative please read the important update below.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: Here is some further clarification on the bill from one of our readers. It turns out it was a constituent bill filed on behalf of one of her constituents. Small state democracy allows bills like this to enter the process, but they rarely go anyplace. In this case, the Judiciary Committee isn't going to do anything with it. Representative Nuovo is a terrific legislator with an excellent record of supporting openness and citizen interests. This constituent bill contrasts sharply with that record, but, at least individuals have a mechanism to have their voices heard in Vermont.
Here's her response:.
"This bill, H-233, is BY REQUEST it states it right on the bill, look it up under the Vermont Legislature. What that means is that it is not my bill, it is a bill REQUESTED by a constituent who really wanted it so it is a constituents bill, every Vermont legislator knows this. I do not believe in it but legislators do put in bills that are REQUESTED. This bill is not going to be taken up by the Legislature. Rep. Betty Nuovo" - [Thanks Tom for the additional information.]