In recent days, Taylor Swift with her management team took on Apple Music over a rather greedy over-reach by Apple. Taylor Swift and her management called out Apple Music plans to not pay artists royalties during a three-month free introductory trial of this new music streaming site. Apple was quick to respond. Eddy Cue tweeted shortly after “we hear you @taylorswift13, and indie artists. Love Apple”. Apple quickly announced it will pay artists during the three-month trial period.
Yay! Artists should be compensated for their work. Even photographers.
This story takes a bit of a turn when UK photographer Jason Sheldon pens an open response to Taylor Swift and posts it online. He points out inequities in the fine details of Firefly Entertainment Incorporated (FEI) concert photos authorization form. He asks Taylor Swift to do the right thing and change the photo policy.
This opened up a hornets nest of commentary, not unexpectedly.
To be clear – Taylor Swift does not hire photographers to capture images at her concert, FEI is contracted by Taylor’s management to hire photographers at each stop of the tour. Freelance photographers only get paid if a publication uses their photos in an article. The contract referenced by Jason Sheldon notes this contract gives FEI free perpetual worldwide right to use images for non commercial use, including but not limited to publicity or promotion. Are they trying to infer publicity and promotion is non commercial ?
Taylor’s management team did respond to this open letter via her UK agent.
Photographer Jason Sheldon responds to this response. Pointing out the current contract for the 1989 tour includes the potential destruction of photographers media and devices holding the media if the contract is deemed breached. Jason asks if Taylor Swift will set in motion the process to amend the inequities in the current photographer contract. For your perusal Petapixel posted a copy of the current contract.
Reading both contracts have put knots in my stomach and make me question if jumping into concert photography is worth this nonsense. The easy answer is don’t write your name on the blank space of the contract. While I’m sure Taylor Swift does not make these calls about photography, it most likely falls in the province of her management company, perhaps the internet kerfuffle will bring this inequity to her attention.
One of my favorite photographers Jared Polin – FroKnowsPhoto.com – jumped into the fray and shared his thoughts on this Taylor Swift debate. I have to agree with the points he makes during his rant.
What are your thoughts on this issue?
The photo used in this post was taken last year at a concert in Vancouver. I was an audience member enjoying a beautiful outdoor concert who happened to have a tele lens in my bag.
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