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Handbills tightly regulated

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

City Hall tightly regulates the ability for people to hand out fliers and handbills promoting films and other events during festival week, with violators facing the possibility of a criminal citation.

Film promoters regularly ignore the rules, though, and risk a ticket from officials who patrol Main Street. The promoters typically head to Main Street as a way to drum up publicity for their films, parties or concerts. They are often seen walking on the sidewalks giving out handbills. Some have with them stacks of movie posters to hand out.

The municipal rules, though, prohibit people from giving out handbills, papers, stickers, fliers, posters, pamphlets or other sorts of handouts on public property like the sidewalks. They are allowed to distribute the pieces on private property with the permission of the owner.

According to a summary of the rules posted on City Hall’s Web site, handing out the materials on public property is not protected by constitutional free-speech rights. The summary indicates City Hall has code-enforcement officers on patrol daily and nightly.

People who repeatedly break the rules will receive a ticket, the City Hall summary says, mentioning that an offender could be considered a festival itself. Officials have encountered problems in the past with people involved with secondary festivals that run at the same time as the Sundance Film Festival.

Kiosks are put up on Main Street where people are allowed to put up posters, handbills and fliers. The kiosks normally have many layers of materials within a few days as the promoters staple over others that had already been posted.

The city, meanwhile, prohibits people from handing out materials from vehicles, a rule that also is broken sometimes during the week of the festival. People are also banned from showing movies inside a vehicle or conducting business from a vehicle. The rules bar people from using a megaphone or speakers to attract attention.

More information is available on City Hall’s Web site, http://www.parkcity.org. Once at the home page, select ‘City Departments’ from the ‘Government’ button. Select ‘Special Events & Facilities’ and then ‘Sundance Film Festival.’


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