by Miles Raymer
Lollapalooza's radius clauses, intended to keep acts booked there from competing with their own festival slots, force bands to accept concert blackouts that can be months long and span an area that includes most of the major markets in the midwest. It almost goes without saying that the bands in question, the club owners who'd like to book them, and the midwestern fans who don't want to plunk down a fistful of cash for Lollapalooza and/or drive several hours to see them don't like the clauses at all. Now it looks like the Illinois attorney general's office might be joining them. Jim DeRogatis reports that AG Lisa Madigan has started antitrust investigations into production company C3 and other Lollapalooza organizers, and confirms that subpoenas have been issued in the case. More news is sure to come.
In not exactly related news, on Wednesday media giant Viacom lost a lawsuit against Google stemming from the frequent unofficial posting to YouTube of Viacom's intellectual property. The decision basically upheld the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's "safe haven" clause, which protects hosting services from liability for copyright infringement perpetrated by their customers, provided the services comply with IP holders' takedown notices. It's a victory for the "content should be free" crowd and for people who want to post their own Justin Bieber videos on YouTube or make advance promos available on RapidShare, but a Billboard column points out that it's bad news for content creators who don't want their work to be available that way, especially smaller operations.
A quote from the Billboard article:
"This is a terrible result for independent artists," says attorney Chris Castle. "Google's interpretation of the DMCA creates three classes of artists: those who have the money and time to pursue notice and takedown 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, those who have some resources to send notices some of the time, and those who give up in despair."