By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
U.S. Sen. John Barrasso introduced a bill this week that would allow people to share videos recorded on public lands on social media, something they’re not technically allowed to do at this point.
The legislation, the Federal Interior Land Media Act, is intended to modernize film permitting on public lands in order to keep pace with changing technology and social media, Barrasso said. It also eliminates burdensome and unnecessary regulations.
“Wyoming is home to some of the most beautiful national parks and public lands in the country. Americans should be able to fully enjoy them and share their experiences,” said Barrasso, who introduced the legislation Thursday. “The FILM Act will streamline the permitting process for filming on public lands. It gives outdoorsmen and women the ability to share their adventures without having to deal with burdensome red tape. The FILM Act allows Americans across the nation to experience all that Wyoming has to offer.”
Commercial film and photographic activities on federal public lands now requires specific permits and fees and technically, by sharing photos on social media, the people who record videos on public land without obtaining a permit can be subject to punishment.
Barrasso’s bill would exempt certain video, digital and audio recording activities from fees and permitting, put uniform rules for such activities in place across all federal lands and streamline permit processing, when permits are considered necessary.
It would specifies that fees are not be required for commercial or non-commercial content creation, regardless of the distribution platform, as long as the filming takes place at a location where the public is allowed, complies with rules and laws, is conducted in a manner that doesn’t disturb wildlife or other visitors and involves groups of fewer than 10.
Diane Shober, executive director of the Wyoming Office of Tourism, praised Barrasso’s work in introducing the act.
“We live in an age when people from all walks of life can share their adventure stories in a virtual environment,” she said. “The FILM Act will guarantee that the people who visit Wyoming’s parks and public lands can record and share their stories online and through social media without asking the government for permission. I feel like this is a really good bill and will bring us forward to the 21st century.”