That’s what this proposed South Carolina bill (S.B. 878) (sponsored by Sen. Sheheen — who is running for governor — and now before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary) would provide:
(A) It is [a felony punishable by up to five years in prison] for a person to produce or create, or conspire to produce or create, a video or audio recording, digital electronic file, or other visual depiction or representation of a violent crime, as defined in Section 16-1-60, during its commission … [except for]
(1) viewing, photographing, videotaping, or filming by personnel of the Department of Corrections or of a county, municipal, or local jail or detention center or correctional facility for security purposes or during investigation of alleged misconduct by a person in the custody of the Department of Corrections or a county, municipal, or local jail or detention center or correctional facility;
(2) security surveillance in bona fide business establishments;
(3) accidental or incidental recordings;
(4) any official law enforcement activities;
(5) private detectives and investigators conducting surveillance in the ordinary course of business; or
(6) any bona fide news gathering activities.
So you see a robbery occurring, or the police illegally beating a citizen, and you videorecord it — you’ve now committed a felony, unless you can persuade a court it’s a “bona fide news gathering activit[y].” (The recording isn’t “accidental or incidental,” since you’re making it deliberately.) Or say your friend is being attacked, and you record the video to give to the police or to use in a civil suit; perhaps you even expected an attack, for instance if you’re going to a potentially violent demonstration or going past a place where thugs have routinely attacked people of some race, religion, or sexual orientation. That too is a felony.
And while one could [...]