Gordon Price, an independent film maker, was prosecuted for filming on public lands without a permit and is now counter suing the U.S. Government. The premise of Price's suit is that it is unconstitutional for the federal government to charge fees for commercial filming in national parks.
The current law states that the Departments of Agriculture and Interior have the right to require a permit and establish reasonable fees for commercial filming activities on Federal lands and violations carry criminal charges.
Price is basing his case on 'free speech' as the permit system is akin to paying a license fee for speaking and the First Amendment to the Constitution does not allow the government to make money by "taxing expressive activities". Additionally, Price's attorneys are arguing that the permitting and fee process restricts the use of federal lands and is no more harmful than a news report or still photography.
CMG believes that unlike a tourist taking photos or a reporter doing a news story, the filming of a for-profit movie should carry a fee for the use of a National Park setting. The fees are simply a cost of doing business and the expense incurred in maintaining the Parks. All National Parks charge an admission fee as do most public museums, art galleries, and other cultural sites and venues.
The Agencies managing the Parks are not restricting Price's use of his 'free expression' but he needs to pay-to-play in the Parks.