July 23, 2015
Ok Swifties check this out. We last reported that language in contracts pertaining to photographers trying to do their job at Taylor Swift shows were causing problems. (Our original blog appears below). Well, apparently there is now a change of heart by Swift’s management team.
The end result is that the agreements have been revised to be more equitable to photogs. Spearheading the effort was the National Press Photographer’s Association, which had a hand in drafting the more favorable agreement. The new agreement will address photographers’ concerns while still being deemed satisfactory to Swift’s representatives.
Swift change indeed!
We have covered Taylor Swift a descent amount on Beato’s Blog and frankly, a lot of it has praised the Queen of Pop for her staunch defense of artists’ rights to get paid for their work. However, what’s fair is fair. In Montreal this week, photographers from five media outlets—Montreal Gazette, La Presse, Le Journal de Montréal, Le Devoir, and Métro—declined to attend Swift’s concert because of unreasonable contract demands made by Swift’s management company, Firefly Entertainment.
Just days ago the Gazette actually published the text of that contract, and highlighted the offending provisions. They included the following:
- Swift gets a right to use the photographers’ work forever;
- The photographers’ image can only be reproduced once on text and on a website, and not on “new media”;
- Any violation of the contract permits Swifts’ agents to “confiscate and/or destroy” the devices that contain the images.
Objecting, the Gazette said that it “will not give anyone permission to injure its photographers or damage their equipment.”
In fairness, Swift is not the only act whose photographic demands have recently been questioned. Earlier this month, the Washington City Paper ripped the Foo Fighters for for they thought was a contract to take over editorial control of their paper. This is what the Washington City Paper had to say and remember, this refers to one of the biggest shows the Foos were to play this year at RFK (Dave Grohl’s home turf) on their 20th Anniversary. The paper said:
“Below is the contract that Foo Fighters’ management company gave to our freelance photographer. If we signed it, we would have agreed to: the band approving the photos which run in the City Paper; only running the photos once and with only one article; and all copyrights would transfer to the band. Then, here’s the fun part, the band would have “the right to exploit all or a part of the Photos in any and all media, now known or hereafter devised, throughout the universe, in perpetuity, in all configurations” without any approval or payment or consideration for the photographer.
That is exploitation of photographers, pure and simple.”
The battle lines on this issue are clear. On one hand the press argues that the Swiftian/Foo type demands threaten their very journalistic integrity as well as contracts they may have with their own photographers. On the flipside, artists will that argue that these kinds of demands are necessary to protect them from the unauthorized use of their likeness which might include unflattering pics or even pics published in an objectionable context. Which side of the equation are you on?
As for how the story ended in both Montreal and D.C., both papers encouraged fans to submit their pictures noting the plethora of cell phones in the audience. Interesting strategy by the press. Indeed, as to the Foos’ D.C. show, the Washington City Paper proclaimed:
“The great irony of all of this is that there will be tens of thousands of cameras in the audience at RFK in the form of smartphones, something that the band and its overzealous management company can’t police.”
Taylor, Dave, it’s your move.