Todd Cochrane posted an interesting piece entitled: Richard Cheese the Ultimate Classless Act. I was at the event in question and remember exactly what I was thinking as it was happening. Interesting issues are raised. (Disclosure – I have been a long time Richard Cheese fan. The last concert of his I attended was a blast but much like comedy acts, it is clear the audience has a large influence on the “experience.” Some nights you kill, some nights you bomb.)
Let’s clear the decks: spitting (actually, it was more of a spit take) was plainly rude and unacceptable. Not funny. However, I have a slightly different take away from the event than Todd. Richard Cheese (RC) repeatedly asked people to stop filming him. I get it. He is a performer, and makes his living from this; he doesn’t want his whole act posted on the Internet. It is meant for those who have paid to attend and see it. Unlike Todd, I was surprised that after RC repeatedly asked and then basically demanded people to stop filming him they continued to do so, right in his face. Just watch Todd’s video. I have no idea what the law is, but unless it is newsworthy, stop if I ask. Think of any notable celebrity. Can you shoot pictures and video of them coming out of the Ivy? Sure. The paparazzi work under the “newsworthy” and “public figure” idea. Can you take those same cameras into a playhouse and capture their stage performance? Nope.
Here is the part that amazed me. Todd submitted a “post produced” video with commentary title cards to all the major video sites. A quick synopsis: it contains a performer repeatedly asking/demanding not to be recorded and includes portions of his “unique” performance of the Nine Inch Nails song “Closer.” You can just imagine all the rights holders who could claim to have been infringed. Todd argues that cameras were explicitly allowed. I was there and I don’t remember that. This was a separate event from the Expo at a different venue. To me it was no different than going to a Vegas show at one of the hotels. Even if cameras were allowed, when asked to stop – the polite thing to do is oblige. Just because the new media folks have come to Las Vegas doesn’t mean all the rules have changed. Need proof? Just try using your video camera at the black jack tables or your cell phone in the sports book. You’ll find out quickly.
Todd points out,
It appears that Richard Cheese had some ridiculous clause in his performance contract that no video would be allowed during the event.
This might shock us new media types as being “ridiculous” but in the rest of the world – this is standard. Just think, if I were to re-record your next podcast and post it to my site, would that bother you?
Brian Ibbott did an amazing job with the Coverville 500. But we all know that no good deed goes unpunished. I’d hate for this new media “brush up” to cause him trouble. Todd’s update indicates the possibility exists. If Todd really wants to push the issue he should make a pledge to indemnify Brian from any issues his actions may cause. I know that sounds extreme, but as an entrepreneur I have dealt with my fair share of both threatened and filed lawsuits. I’ve never lost, but it is always the small nonsense issues that are most painful. Last one I had dismissed cost $10,000 in attorney fees. If I’m Richard Cheese – this one seems to be served up on a plate.
(Oh, and interesting legal issues asides, I too am less of a RC fan now. Uncomfortable performances are just that – uncomfortable.)
UPDATE: Todd has since removed the video mentioned above.