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Old October 26th, 2009, 09:57 PM   #1
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Particular video company banned from filming wedding at church?

One of the Chicago's churches came up with "brilliant idea" of creating the list of approved vendors that can photograph / film weddings in that particular church (starting Jan 1, 2010). There is 4 photographers and 2 video companies on approved vendor list and NO OTHER COMPANY is allowed to work there due to "....experienced some difficulty with photographers and videographers who have ignored sanctity of the sacrament and have physically abused the church..."

Is this legal according to US law???
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Old October 26th, 2009, 10:09 PM   #2
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I live in the Chicago area and I didn't see anything about this. Do you know what church it is?

As for the legalities, I don't know but I'd guess there is some kind of donation going back to the church.
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Old October 26th, 2009, 10:13 PM   #3
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Why wouldn't it be legal? They are privately owned, aren't they?
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Old October 26th, 2009, 10:15 PM   #4
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I don't want to mention the church by name, but I am filming wedding there next year and I got a letter from the bride (which she received from the church - Guidelin/Policy Agreement Form) that I must sign and mail/fax back to the church two months before the wedding. I will be allowed to film that wedding only because I signed my contract with the bride BEFORE Aug. 1, 2009. If we sign after that date I wouldn't be allowed.
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Old October 26th, 2009, 10:21 PM   #5
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I believe its technically private property, and therefore they can do what ever they want.
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Old October 26th, 2009, 10:23 PM   #6
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Marius,please PM me with the name. Since I do 60 weddings a year in the Chicago area I would really like to know if it's somewhere I shoot. It probably isn't but still.
Thanks

As for the legalities, well I suppose it is but by the same token a church at least to me doesn't fall into the same pervue as a banquet facility. As a house of God I think that restricting WHO comes into work is carrying it a bit far. Restrictions, sure. I've been restricted to the back balconey in one of the biggest churches in Chicago but guess what so is everyone else, but they don't restrict WHO can shoot there. Why not go the other way and say 'These companies are not welcome here in our house of worship' and explain why. I know there are some churches that have done and are doing that to this day.
In the end, it's their house their rules.
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Old October 26th, 2009, 10:27 PM   #7
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Videographer provides serives to the CLIENT not to the church (and CLIENT is paying the church for ceremony, right...); if it was for the church I'd understand it they have the right to choose whoever they want BUT client chooses professional company who will sign agreement that will obey the rules; can us antitrust law be applied here???...interesting....
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Old October 26th, 2009, 10:31 PM   #8
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They have every right to be as exclusive as they want to be.
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Old October 26th, 2009, 10:34 PM   #9
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can antitrust law be applied in that case????
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_..._antitrust_law
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Old October 27th, 2009, 04:24 AM   #10
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Church = 503(c) exempt non-profit corporation... so probably couldn't be found in violation if they cited religious grounds, which it appears they are doing. ANY private legal entity (business) has (at least in theory) the right to dictate the use of their property (no shirt, no shoes, no service) as long as it is not discriminatory (biased on basis of established legally protected classes).

I think you're stretching with "anti-trust" - I've seen several discussions of private venues restricting vendor lists, and while it's objectionable, particularly when there's perhaps money changing hands behind the curtain, business is business. If a venue has had issues with a vendor, I can certainly see valid reasons to prevent future problems.

You'd have to have a lot more information as to how and why those restrictions came to be, how they are being enforced, if there is anything discriminatory in the rules/application, and if there are questionable financial dealings involved... even then, it's an uphill battle.
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Old October 27th, 2009, 05:11 AM   #11
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I live in Japan and that's how it works here. You have to use the photographers/cinematographers that they have in-house. As for shrines, it's been my experience that some will and some won't.
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Old October 27th, 2009, 07:08 AM   #12
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Since Marius was good enough to PM me with the name of the church it doesn't surprise me. I have worked there and they are very very restrcitive to begin with and are also very touchy about their rules which I don't blame them. After all it is their house so it's their rules. The church is part of the Archdioses of Chicago and a very popular place for weddings and is one of the most beautiful churches around but it has always been a difficult place to work. It is very easy to make a mistake there and get into a place you're not supposed to be unless you're shooting from the balconey which is a nice shot but of course you can't get the processional. No camera can be placed anywhere up front but where I worked there I could handhold at the end of one of the pews just at the edge of the balconey to get the processional and then go to my tripod on the side or the back. That's the extent of it. I was accused of going to 2 different people there and asking the rules to try to get one to say I could do something different which I did not do and have it all on tape to prove it but regardless I KNOW there are some in the area that break the rules regardless and now everyone who MIGHT work there pays the price.
Oh well, after the last time there I vowed I wouldn't work there again anyway.
Their house, their rules, nothing that can be done.
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Old October 27th, 2009, 08:42 AM   #13
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I can't believe that this happening in the wedding industry. I know the church has every right to do it, but I believe clients have The Freedom of Choice. It's a win some lose some situiation, in the AV world, clients who brings in an outside vendor gets slapped with a fee, and a booklet about the restrictions of bring an outside vendor ( you need a lawyer to decipher the book). Anyway, it may shun people away from the Church/venue, remember the preferred vendors would have to shell out ( 25-50%) commission and thus would have to price accordingly. Sometimes the venue would choke and give in to the client.
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Old October 27th, 2009, 09:37 AM   #14
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I don't think the churches can restrict access like that as they are tax exempt entity.
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Old October 27th, 2009, 01:24 PM   #15
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Actually a "reliigious non-profit" has substantial leeway to restrict the use of their facilities, even a "for profit" facility/business can ban/restrict an individual/vendor/group that causes problems. The right to "refuse service" is fairly well established, AS LONG AS that refusal does not constitute "discrimination" based on protected characteristics.

I presume that as a business you would prefer to retain the right not to deal with "difficult" clients, and if you identified a specific client who caused problems, you'd take appropriate steps to either increase the charges commensurately with the hassle or find other ways to avoid that client. From Don's posting it sounds like HE vowed not to work that venue again, I support his right to do so <wink>! He should not be forced to work a venue that is a major hassle for him, right?

That the same venue has created obstacles to ANYONE working there (except their selected vendors) is a "business" decision as well... sounds like it's not a great loss to anyone.
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