Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Good News Is: Your Butt is Famous!

I was watching Lost last night. During the commercial break one of those local news promos came on. You know the kind: "Tonight! Only on Eyewitness Stormtracker News You Can Use Channel Seven On-Your-Side at Eleven! Could there be a revolutionary new diet pill that will make weight loss easier than ever before?! Don't miss eyewitness Stormtracker News You Can Use Channel Seven On-Your-Side at Eleven to find out!"

It's the classic local news hyperbolic nonsense. Fair enough. But while they were asking their question (for which the answer always turns out to be "not really"), they were showing footage of people walking around the DC area--from the knees to the belly. Each shot was essentially of a heavy person's stomach, ass and thighs, and it got me to wondering: Do they have to get your permission to air footage of your bootage? I was trying to imagine being those poor people at home watching Lost and then going, "Oh my hell! That's my ass on TV! They were filming me?!!" Alternatively, if they do have to get your permission, how does that conversation go? "Hello Sir, we're from Eyewitness Stormtracker News You Can Use Channel Seven On-Your-Side at Eleven, and we're doing a feature on obesity and weightloss. Would you be so kind as to allow us to film your prodigious derriere for tonight's program?"

Either way, it's a pretty unpleasant situation for the person in question. You either get outed on TV, or you have the indignity of being asked if they can film your butt. With the further indignity that it's not even for Brian Williams or Katie Couric. It's for the permatanned and moronic "Chet Stackhouse" and his local non-news crew.

1 comment:

Raine said...

Quite simply, no. They don't have to ask permission, for two reasons.

1) They're not showing your face, which is actually the only way someone can definitively identify you on camera (basically you are the only one who knows it's you).

and

2) It's public property. They're not showing on TV anything that a normal person couldn't go out and see for themselves. Or something like that. Basically, if you're film/photographing from public property, you're protected from having to request permission (although it's still nice to ask).

Basically, private property and government-protected areas are the only places where media cannot go without permission. While that thought may cause paranoia, any news crew/journalist worth their salt will usually try to ask before recording.