Nevada State Parks Demands Fees from “Commercial” Photographers

Nevada State Parks will hold a public hearing on March 31, 2014, for amended regulations relating to entrance fees for photographers with commercial photography permits. 

Nevada State Parks

The good news is there will be no fee increase associated with the amendments. The bad news is that, while reviewing the proposed changes, we learned that Nevada defines commercial photography as “photography engaged in for financial gain, including, without limitation, the sale of a photographic image as a product or for use in advertising, motion pictures, television productions or portfolios and the archiving of an image by a person who uses photographic skills, equipment or resources to provide a photographic product for sale.” It’s disappointing that Nevada defines commercial photography by the purpose of the photography rather than by the activities that may affect the park and visitors, as is done with the National Park Service.

But it gets worse. Currently, the website for the Nevada Administrative Code (“NAC”) 407.050 states:

 4.  For each day or partial day that a person engages in commercial photography in a park, the Division will charge and collect the following fee according to the total number of vehicles or the total number of persons, whichever results in a higher fee:

     Number of Vehicles
     or Persons                                                                                                                Fee Per Day
 
     2 to 5 vehicles or 6 to 25 persons……………………………………………………………………….. $200
     6 to 10 vehicles or 26 to 50 persons……………………………………………………………………… 350
     11 to 15 vehicles or 51 to 75 persons……………………….,………………………………………….. 500
     16 to 20 vehicles or 76 to 100 persons………………………………………………………………….. 800
     21 to 50 vehicles or 101 to 400 persons………………………………………………………………. 2,100
     More than 50 vehicles or more than 400 persons……………………………………………………. 3,500

. . .

6.  The Division will not charge a fee pursuant to this section for:

(a) Commercial photography engaged in by one to five persons in a single vehicle . . . .

So when I took this photo at Sand Harbor State Park in 2009, I didn’t need a permit because I was shooting alone.
Lake Tahoe Shore - Copyright Carolyn E. Wright

2013 Revisions

But the NAC website is not up to date.  Last year, the NAC made changes to the code that have not been posted online but are  shown in this document available from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. And the changes aren’t good.

  1. The definition of commercial photography now includes portraits.
  2. The fees have been divided into classes. Class A is now: 1 to 3 vehicles or 2 to 15 persons and the fee is $50 a day.
  3. New provisions have been added that state:

7.  A person may request an annual class A commercial photography permit. Upon approval of such a request, the Division will charge and collect from the person a fee of $500. An annual class A commercial photography permit will be recognized at all parks for 12 months after the date of issuance. A person to whom is issued an annual class A commercial photography permit shall:

(a) Pay the entrance fee required pursuant to NAC 407.055 each time he or she enters a park to engage in commercial photography; 

(b) Maintain adequate insurance coverage for the entire period he or she holds such a permit and provide proof to the Division of such coverage; and

(c) Contact in advance the office of the park that he or she intends to use to confirm the availability of the areas where the person intends to engage in commercial photography.  

8.  A park supervisor or regional manager in charge of a region in which a park is located may determine the area of the park that can be used under a commercial photography permit.

Proposed Revision for 2014

So, the only substantive proposed change for 2014 relating to photographers is that the Code will be clarified so that:

The Division will waive the entrance fee for the park (referenced in paragraph 7 (a) above) upon payment of the fee for an Annual Class A photography permit. This permit does not authorize clients of Annual Class A photography permit holders to enter a park without paying the entry fee.

Which is, at least, a little good news.

Engagement Photo - Copyright Carolyn E. Wright

Therefore, a photographer is supposed to pay $50/day or $500/year to take photos in Nevada State Parks, which includes Sand Harbor Park in Lake Tahoe and Valley of Fire State Park near Las Vegas. But the photographer’s activity and impact on the park and other visitors likely is no different than that of a hobbyist photographer. Taking family vacation photos usually doesn’t affect the park or its visitors any more than taking portraits for seniors or engaged couples. Given the literal interpretation of the statute, I was not violating the law when I took my friends’ engagement photos (example shown above) last October because it was my gift to them. But if I had charged them for the shoot, as I have for other clients, then I should have paid the State Park fee.

State legislatures, please understand that photographers usually don’t use the park any differently than any one else. So we shouldn’t have to pay more than any one else.

Check Photo Attorney on Lynda.com, in the Lynda.com Article Center, and on Twitter!
Share
Carolyn E. Wright

*Notice*

Welcome to the website for the
Law Office of Carolyn E. Wright, LLC.
The information here is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

7-day free trial
Subscribe Get updates via your RSS reader!

Posts by Topic (incomplete)

The Photo Attorney Blog is hosted by BlueHost
Picade
We support the Embedded Metadata Manifesto
I support the Artist's Bill of Rights
Featured in Alltop

Blog Archives


This post originated from http://www.photoattorney.com/. Follow Photo Attorney on Twitter for quick updates on the law for photographers! Check Photo Attorney on Lynda.com and in the Article Center