Concert Photography Bans – Fair or Facist?


Photo by jcbehm

The Chicago Reader delves into an interesting topic in this week’s issue asking, “Do festivals like Pitchfork and Lollapalooza have the right to restrict photography in a public park?” They’re specifically talking about the ban on professional cameras and detachable lenses at these type of concerts. On the one hand, yes of course. The concert organizers have leased the space, and for that fee, are able to make rules that wouldn’t otherwise apply – like, first and foremost, charging an entry fee.

But the writers talked to civil rights lawyer Mark Weinberg, who frames it as an “interesting constitutional question” — namely, can the government enter into an agreement with a private party that takes away a fundamental right of its citizens? On top of that, Weinberg says, it’s “an arbitrary and unreasonable restriction” because it’s not about security, but about compensation or brand management or vanity. It’s because the performers want to be able to control, and to make money off of, their own images — and they don’t want you to. (You’re welcome to take a lousy point-and-shoot shot, of course.) As the article says:

“Concert promoters are trying to control something—the creation and dissemination of images taken at an outdoor concert in a public park—that is largely beyond their control, and they’re starting to look silly doing it.”

Silly or not, this seems like one photography rule that is unlikely to change.

Article from Chicago Reader

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45 Responses to “Concert Photography Bans – Fair or Facist?”


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    Soon to be a moot point probably. Point and shoots are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Many already rival DSLRs in quality of image capture.

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