Pitchfork's policy on photos under scrutiny

July 29, 2010

An interesting piece in the Reader by ace reporters Ben Joravsky and Sam Adams asks, "Do festivals like Pitchfork and Lollapalooza have the right to restrict photography in a public park?"

It's a good question, and, rights or no, Pitchfork have been doing it, banning admittance to any ticketholder who tries to enter with a camera with a detachable lens, and kicking out anyone who sneaks in with one of those "professional-quality" cameras (cell phone photography and disposable cameras, even if the quality is near-pro, are O.K., one suspects largely because it would be impossible to enforce a ban on them). The story quotes civil rights lawyer Mark Weinberg, who says:

"It's an interesting constitutional question. I'm not sure the Park District has the right to enter into an agreement with a promoter that forces the public to give up some fundamental rights."

And Joravsky and Adams conclude, "It will be interesting to see if Lollapalooza's promoters are as vigilant about enforcing the professional camera policy when their festival opens next week." Meanwhile, my "Sound Opinions" colleague Greg Kot weighs in on the concert industry's "summer of doom and gloom" on his blog, and in the dead-tree Tribune on Sunday.