Commercial Filming and Photography on Federal Lands [January 8, 2014]   [open pdf - 253KB]

"Federal lands such as national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, ranges, and other landscapes are popular locations for motion pictures and commercial photography. Historically, the major federal land management agencies--the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), National Park Service (NPS), and Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in the Department of the Interior (DOI), and the U.S. Forest Service (FS) in the Department of Agriculture (USDA)--did not share a consistent approach for regulating commercial filming and photography on their lands. […] A 2000 law, P.L. 106-206 (16 U.S.C. 460l-6d), directed the Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture to require permits and develop a consistent fee structure for commercial filming and some photography on federal lands. […] In its oversight role, Congress may review the 2013 regulations and proposed fee schedule. One issue is whether the fees are set appropriately for smaller-scale filmmakers and photographers. In the 113th Congress, H.R. 2798, H.R. 3197, H.R. 3590, S. 1335, and S. 1660 propose special rules for film crews of five or fewer that could in some cases result in lower fees than proposed by the agencies. Additionally, Congress may consider issues such as whether the fees provide a 'fair return' to the nation, as required by P.L. 106-206, and whether the regulations align with broader government goals to streamline procedures, reduce paperwork, and increase efficiency."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R43267
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