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Author Topic: Uncommon Courtesy
Demosthenes
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Icon 1 posted March 25, 2006 13:23      Profile for Demosthenes     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Housemate Nick came up with an idea recently, spawned by the many "buy us an iPod and we'll smash it on camera" sites floating around out there. "Why would people waste their money on this? Camwhores, I can understand, but this?"

So he started a website, called Uncommon Courtesy, about raising relatively large sums of money and giving cash handouts to folks who look like they might need it...on camera. He's calling it "guerrilla philanthropy."

I'll be his trusty cameraperson; the videos will be posted to the website. What I'm asking of you guys is to take a peek, give if you can, but more importantly, if you can bring up any legal issues that might not have occurred to us. (Tax issues, illegal lotteries, et cetera.) Post 'em here or email them directly to Nick; his contact info is on the site. I know there are at least a couple of law geeks here; your knowledge might keep us both out of a jail cell. [Big Grin]

Thanks in advance, guys...hopefully this will take off and some fun will be had in this miserable city. [Razz]

Uncommon Courtesy

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Drake
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Icon 2 posted March 25, 2006 14:45      Profile for Drake     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Call me skeptical, but what is to stop your friend from dressing up another friend as a homeless person?

choose well, I'd hate to see 500 bucks go to a drug addict or some such. There are much better ways to give away money. [thumbsdown]

Posts: 4 | From: San Fran | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged
Grummash

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Icon 1 posted March 25, 2006 16:47      Profile for Grummash     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Demosthenes

I'm no lawyer - but I wonder whether, if you film people, are you risking litigation on the basis that the individuals own the rights to their own image?

Just a thought.

Also, you could just give them the money and not film them.... [Razz]

Either way, good luck. [Smile]

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...and yet, across the gulf of space, minds immeasurably superior to ours regarded this earth with envious eyes...

Posts: 2335 | From: Lancashire,UK | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged
zesovietrussian
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Icon 1 posted March 25, 2006 17:13      Profile for zesovietrussian     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Bad idea, IMHO - I know quite a few people who gave money to some homeless fellow in a bad neighborhood and had that homeless fellow pull out a knife and part the not-so-wise benefactor with their wallet.
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TMBWITW,PB

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Icon 1 posted March 25, 2006 17:32      Profile for TMBWITW,PB     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
You do need their permission to publish their images. For your own safety, definitely do this in daylight hours and preferably in high-trafficked areas.

I think it is a good idea. Yes there is the chance that some of them might use it on alcohol or drugs or one of them might try to hurt you to get more, but then there is that person who gets to have their first full meal in a month, get shoes without holes in them, or a nice blanket to sleep under.

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"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye."
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CommanderShroom
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Icon 14 posted March 25, 2006 18:06      Profile for CommanderShroom     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
First off. I think it is a damn good idea.

I don''t believe him to be a rip-off. If for no other reason than, demosthenes herself is posting it as a friend. And I don't think of her as a scam artist.

And if I have a bit extra this month, I will send a few that way.

Good luck.

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Does he know our big secret?
Has one of us confessed?
'Bout the wires circuits and motors
Buried in our chest

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Rhonwyyn

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Icon 1 posted March 25, 2006 20:04      Profile for Rhonwyyn   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hmmm.... so do you think if I set up a Website asking for donations for my wedding people would actually give me money?

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted March 25, 2006 20:23      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
No. But if you set up a site asking for donations so some dirt poor chick from the inner city or hills could have a wedding, people might give. Nobody likes beggars, but everyone loves Cinderella stories.

I love the idea, Demo, but you'd have to get permission to post images.

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And it's one, two, three / On the wrong side of the lee / What were you meant for? / What were you meant for?
- The Decemberists

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csk

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Icon 1 posted March 25, 2006 20:36      Profile for csk     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Demosthenes:
I'll be his trusty cameraperson; the videos will be posted to the website. What I'm asking of you guys is to take a peek, give if you can, but more importantly, if you can bring up any legal issues that might not have occurred to us. (Tax issues, illegal lotteries, et cetera.) Post 'em here or email them directly to Nick; his contact info is on the site. I know there are at least a couple of law geeks here; your knowledge might keep us both out of a jail cell. [Big Grin]

I'm not a law geek, but I am a photography geek, so hopefully this will help. Firstly, if it's a public place, and is not "commercial", I believe that it's legal to film/photograph people. In America as well as in Australia. The exact definitions will probably vary, but in principle that's the way it works. So ensure that wherever you video them is public (and beware of things that might seem public but aren't like shopping malls, etc, since you don't want to get permission to video as well since that adds extra hassle).

The second thing is, to be on the safe side, what you really want is a "model release" form to be signed by anyone you're filming that's recogniseable. Google should be able to find you some suitable general ones to use.

Good luck on that one!

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6 weeks to go!

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Demosthenes
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Icon 1 posted March 25, 2006 23:20      Profile for Demosthenes     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by csk:
The second thing is, to be on the safe side, what you really want is a "model release" form to be signed by anyone you're filming that's recogniseable. Google should be able to find you some suitable general ones to use.

Model release forms are already taken care of; I took photography and film classes in school and I'm well aware of the legalities there. What we're more concerned about here is the money end of things...taxation, whether this would fall under the title of an "illegal lottery," whether or not we'd need to gain status as a nonprofit organization, et cetera.

This is all to be shot in a the public eye; how else am I to frame a good shot of someone running screaming down the street with a wad of cash? [Wink] Also, while some recipients may, in fact, be homeless, Housemate Nick has suggested that our first victim...er...recipient be someone working an especially miserable retail job.

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zesovietrussian
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Icon 1 posted March 26, 2006 10:47      Profile for zesovietrussian     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Demosthenes:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by csk:
[qb]This is all to be shot in a the public eye; how else am I to frame a good shot of someone running screaming down the street with a wad of cash? [Wink]

Nothing's easier - you watch the fellow through your camera, and your housemate watches him throught the sight of his sniper rifle while loudly counting down from ten. I guarantee there's going to be lots of running and screaming [evil]
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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted March 26, 2006 11:51      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Demosthenes:
What we're more concerned about here is the money end of things...taxation, whether this would fall under the title of an "illegal lottery," whether or not we'd need to gain status as a nonprofit organization, et cetera.

As someone who's worked in the gambling biz for a while, I can offer the following advice...

Rules and regulations about lotteries and other forms of gambling vary widely from one jurisdiction to the next, what's entirely legit in one state can get you 10-20 in the next. There is no logic in this and the rules are often rigorously enforced.

The same advice applies to taxation, the jails are full of people who assumed tax law would be logical.

You need to consult (*shudder*) a lawyer.

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If you watch 'The History Of NASA' backwards, it's about a space agency that has no manned spaceflight capability, then does low-orbit flights, then lands on the Moon.

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ARJ
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Icon 1 posted March 26, 2006 16:52      Profile for ARJ   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Demosthenes:
What we're more concerned about here is the money end of things...taxation, whether this would fall under the title of an "illegal lottery," whether or not we'd need to gain status as a nonprofit organization, et cetera.

I wouldn't know where the legal distinctions are here, but as my mom is the director of a private homeless shelter (WA state), I could definitely find out from her what would be involved.

I imagine that it would be a good idea to make some arrangements along the non-profit direction in case someone who donates wants to claim it on their tax return, etc.

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Warren Ellis: Yes. Because MAN COOK MEAT WITH FIRE UNTIL IT NO CRY ANY MORE THEN EAT IT DEAD

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Callipygous
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Icon 1 posted March 26, 2006 17:51      Profile for Callipygous     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I am not so keen on your idea Demosthenes, because although this is just the crazy old internet, there is still an element of public humiliation about it, which I find slightly distasteful. I am of course an old person with rather old attitudes, and I know that there seems to be an endless supply of people ready to make themselves a laughing stock for their ten minutes of fame on these reality TV shows, Jerry Springer etc, but I think stuff like this should not be done in public for entertainment. It demeans those involved.

Sorry to be so negative, and it is of course, just my opinion.

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"Knowledge is Power. France is Bacon" - Milton

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AgingAmigaoid
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Icon 1 posted March 27, 2006 14:05      Profile for AgingAmigaoid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Recent news from my neck of the woods...

On Wed/Thursday the news was "Joe Canada, who himself was once homeless and wants to give people on the streets a sense of hope, has given out thousands of dollars on Wednesday and Thursday."

But on Friday (2/24/06) the news was Civic Center giveaway to homeless turns ugly

I like the "presentation" of a wad of cash to a hard-working stiff though. I never give to homeless people but when I see a 45-year-old man, riding a bicycle to a minimum-wage job, lunch box in hand, I have an urge to hand him $100 just for trying so hard.

One quote from Joe Canada (now a professional artist) that I did find interesting as he passed out bills to a smaller crowd on Wednesday was, "I have no use for currency. It has ink on both sides and there's no room left for me to draw on it."

I know you didn't come here looking for opinions on your project but I needed to share that news item with you. If you do go ahead with the project, be sure to be truly random.

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Ashitaka

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Icon 1 posted March 27, 2006 23:56      Profile for Ashitaka     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
What would be "housemate Nick's" cut for producing this show? Would you give out all money you take in or would you pay yourselves a salary for working on this show like a job?

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"If they're not gonna make a distinction between Muslims and violent extremists, then why should I take the time to distinguish between decent, fearful white people and racists?"

-Assif Mandvi

Posts: 3089 | From: Switzerland | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged
Demosthenes
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Icon 1 posted March 28, 2006 11:19      Profile for Demosthenes     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Ashitaka:
What would be "housemate Nick's" cut for producing this show? Would you give out all money you take in or would you pay yourselves a salary for working on this show like a job?

We're not using any of the money for ourselves. We may have to take out expenses to rent a shouldermount DV camera and to potentially register for nonprofit status (a $400 process, by the way). This isn't a job, it's a project.

As for the aforementioned "public humiliation," this sort of thing pales in comparison to "Girls Gone Wild," et cetera. We want to catch happy people on camera. If they don't want to sign the model release form, they don't have to. Hell, we're not even making them take the money...just offering. [Big Grin]

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