An Introduction to "The American Project"
I believe we are hardwired to share. We connect, we educate, we learn, we inspire, and now more than ever, connect to a world that knows fewer limitations. We share our experiences in nearly real-time and at no point in human history has the typical person's sphere of influence been greater. For better or worse, the world has become smaller, more accessible, and in many cases more distracting.
The story of the United States of America in particular, with all its complexities, celebrates a history that is unprecedented in its speed and scope. Each of us lives in an age with much yet to gain and much to lose.
"Let us remember that if we suffer tamely a lawless attack upon our liberty, we encourage it, and involve others in our doom." - Samuel Adams
Illustrate the beauty, accessibility, ease, and benefits of personally exploring United States National Parks, Forests, Wilderness, and other protected national treasures for everyone, especially younger generations.
I want to:
- Teach people how to create better images and video to capture their memories.
- Show how easily, readily available, affordable, and new consumer technologies can be used to have a great time while celebrating the grandeur of the natural world we live in.
- Share exciting images and video with the world.
- Promote tourism in our great outdoors, by illustrating the benefits and adventures that await the willing through social media / modern media (like the internet.)
- Advocate environmental conservation and appreciation.
- Petition for government regulation reform to legally allow the public to capture their memories beyond a still image.
20% of the entire United States of America falls under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Interior...
Did you know that if you capture a video (any kind of video or audio clip), with your phone, point-n-shoot Camera, GoPro, DSLR, or Full Fledged Hollywood Setup, pressing the record button could get you in trouble? If you don't:
- Apply for licenses before you touch the red button ($250 non-refundable)
- Wait for your application to be approved
- Pay a daily "location fee" ranging from $50 to $250
- Make arrangements with someone certified to physically monitor your activity
That video you just uploaded to YouTube, Facebook, or any other online tool you share your adventure on could earn you a court summons if it collects ad revenue...
When an advertisement shows up next to a video you uploaded for free, you just engaged in "Commercial Filming". You may have just shared it from your smartphone, or uploaded it from a computer... But currently the United States Department of Interior makes no exceptions for the type of equipment used. If you are personally making zero dollars to $6.5 million dollars, in the eyes of the law you are a commercial film maker. When drafting this policy the then President and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America helped ensure that only those with deep pockets will have the civil right to record a video and share it with the world.
Obtaining the licenses the Department of the Interior requires citizens to obtain to legally capture their vacations, adventures, or projects in any format beyond a still picture, or in any way technologically more advanced than a painting it could cost you thousands of dollars.
The policy is not fair. It’s not equitable. It's not sensible. It discriminates against our youth, technology adopters, artists, educators, small businesses, and everyone in between. It discourages digitally sharing the benefits of personally visiting Department of Interior governed land and from exercising the civil rights we expect to enjoy throughout The United States.
Department of Interior Policy regarding "Commercial Filming" needs a minor overhaul to keep up with the society it effects. I will not believe that achieving a sensible change of policy in Washington D.C. is beyond hope.
Below you'll find some of the research I've done, supporting documents, and we're all invited to do about it. This is not some ordinary petition, this is not a political soapbox. I'm going to ask Secretary Sally Jewell to allow and even encourage our youth, and citizens to find their own adventure in the American Great Outdoors and share their experiences freely.
Eventually I'm going to ask for your help doing that. But before I ask the Secretary of the United States Department of Interior to update her department's policy... I want to show you in close to real-time what is possible, easy, how much fun it is, why our parks are so important, and why you should care.
Below you will find many of the resources I've found, and their supporting documents. Most importantly, you will also find a link to a blog I've created to keep you "in the loop" as The American Project takes shape and gets underway.
Relevant Research & Documents
- Current Policy - April 19, 2013
- Current Law (Note that the type of equipment used can be considered by the Secretary of the Interior)
- Ledger that led to current policy (Including lobbying by The Motion Picture Association of America) - September 26, 200