If George Holliday, a 31-year-old plumbing contractor living in Lake View Terrace, Los Angeles, had not taken his camera outside to capture one footage, the beating of Rodney King, one of the most remembered human-rights atrocities of the 20th century may have gone completely unnoticed except by King himself and the man who brutally and repeatedly beat him as he lay defenseless on the ground.
As an animal rights activist Michael Sizer can't even begin to estimate how many hours of footage he's captured of people in public, people working, shopping, or just doing whatever it is people do outside. He has also been approached by pedestrians, police officers and security guards telling him that he's not allowed to take pictures there or take pictures of them or their faces, or that he can't take pictures of businesses or buildings.
And it used to be that he had no idea whether they were right, wrong or whether they really had any clue themselves. He didn't know whether he was allowed to take pictures of them, he didn't know whether he was allowed to share them on Facebook or YouTube. So, in this film Michael is going to explore the challenges activists encounter when using their cameras in public and get to the bottom of what we can and cannot do under the law.
In 1991 Kodak released the first digital consumer camera, in the year 2000 the first consumer camera phone hit the market in Japan, but today with their full resolution sensors and Internet connectivity smartphones have enabled regular people like you and me to become citizen journalists. And thanks to blogs and photo and video sharing sites we even have our own easily accessible publishing options some of which allow us to publish in real time as the events are happening.