Many Post Office™ facilities receive requests from individuals and non-news organizations to film or take photographs on Postal Service™ premises. Non-news organizations may include but are not limited to the following:
Administrative Support Manual (ASM) subchapter 66 was recently revised through the article titled “ASM Revision: Responsibility for Licensing and Rights and Permissions Moves to Product Development” in Postal Bulletin 22214 (8-30-07, pages 5–8) to specify that all such requests (aside from news reporting) should be directed to the Office of Rights and Permissions. (Note: These ASM requirements do not apply to Postal Service employees who take photographs and film for official Postal Service business.) To see the revised ASM section, access the online ASM available on the Postal Service PolicyNet Web site:
(The direct URL for the Postal Service PolicyNet Web site is http://blue.usps.gov/cpim.)
General policy for photography/filming on Postal Service premises may be found at Title 39 of the Code of Federal Regulations, section 232.1(i), and Postal Operations Manual (POM) Section 124.58, “Photographs for News, Advertising, or Commercial Purposes.” More detailed information appears below.
All requests from qualified news reporting services to film or photograph on Postal Service premises must be referred to the local Public Affairs and Communications representative. Contact information is located on the Media Relations Web page at www.usps.com/communications/newsroom/mediacontacts.htm.
Informal snapshots from handheld cameras for personal use may be allowed at the postmaster’s discretion provided that there is no disruption to Postal Service operations and that the pictures are taken from areas accessible to the public. In these cases, no prior permission is required from the Office of Rights and Permissions; however, no lighting or scaffolding may be set up, and no picture can depict any Postal Service employee, customer, security camera, or cover of mail (i.e., the exterior of a mailpiece, which would show customer name and address among other things). Postmasters may restrict any and all photography if they determine that it is disruptive or there are potential security concerns.
People who request to take professional-grade photographs or film on Postal Service premises must be referred to the Office of Rights and Permissions, and they will be required to sign a license and/or location agreement prior to taking any photographs or filming. Included in this category are documentary and student film-makers and photographers.
Here are a few examples of requests that must be directed to the Office of Rights and Permissions:
- A request to use the images of historic murals for commercial purposes. (Commercial uses may include reproductions of the murals in books or on posters, fine art prints, greeting cards, stationery, postcards, clothing, or other merchandising items such as magnets, coffee mugs, or other materials for resale.)
- A request that requires the set up of equipment aside from the camera itself (e.g., a tripod, ladder, lighting, or scaffolding).
- A request to use a high-resolution, professional-grade camera.
- A request to film from an area not accessible to the public.
Approval of all requests is coordinated between local postmasters/PAC field employees and Headquarters. Any request must be approved by both groups. In addition to referring requests to the Office of Rights and Permissions, the postmaster must notify the Public Affairs and Communications area representative.
Postmasters can deny any request for professional filming/photography if they determine that the photography and/or filming will cause too much disruption. If a postmaster denies the request, a Rights and Permissions application does not need to be completed.
Because a location agreement involves coordination with numerous stakeholders, at least 2-weeks’ advance notice is requested whenever possible. While the Office of Rights and Permissions will make every effort to accommodate last-minute requests to photograph/film, it cannot under any circumstances accommodate requests made with less than 48 hours notice.
Once a license or location agreement has been signed by both the Postal Service and the requester, access can be granted to film or photograph on the premises as specified under the terms of the agreement.
For more information, contact the Office of Rights and Permissions at email@example.com. More information about the Rights and Permission program is also available at www.usps.com/rightsandpermissions.