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Music photographers rebel over 'rights grabbing' contracts

By dpreview staff on Jun 29, 2012 at 00:07 GMT
Ian Brown of the Stone Roses, pictured at a solo concert in the UK in 2005 (Barney Britton)

According to a report in The British Journal of Photography, press photographers in the UK are being called on to boycot the high-profile reunion tour of 80s/90s rock band The Stone Roses over the conditions of contracts handed out at recent shows. According to the report, the National Union of Journalists is backing the boycott over conditions in the shooting contracts that appear to remove the right of the signee to sell their images for editorial use.

Among other conditions the contracts require photographers to agree 'to assign to the Group, with full title guarantee, all Rights in perpetuity throughout the world so as to enable us to exploit the Photographs and Rights as we deem fit without further reference or payment to you or any third party'. Photographers are also asked to agree 'to provide [the Stone Roses] with digital copies of any or all of the Photographs upon request'. For photographers that shoot for agencies, where a third party handles image sales, the conditions of a contract like this aren't simply objectionable - they're utterly impossible to assent to.

As a former music photographer in the UK, for several years, I've seen countless contracts of this kind. US-based music photographer Walter Rowe maintains a list of some representative examples here (please note that Rowe's opinions on this matter, and those of the musicphotographers.net community, are somewhat colorful).

From memory, the worst shooting contract I was ever given to sign asked me to agree to give away the rights to all of my images, in perpetuity, on provision of 'remuneration' from the band - a pound coin. The contract was given to me by a junior member of staff at the venue (unconnected with the band) at the stage door, minutes before showtime. I gave the paperwork back and went home, resisting the temptation as I left to ask for the pound to cover my bus fare. Like a lot of photographers operating today I worked as a freelancer for a major photo agency on a royalties basis, so going home with no pictures meant no income.

There is a fairly widely-held (and false) belief among music photographers that contracts like the one issued by the Stone Roses could never be enforced legally, and as such, their attitude is 'sign and be damned'. But it's a risk, and a risk that some photographers, it seems, are tired of taking. In my opinion, they shouldn't have to.

Read the full story at The British Journal of Photography


Barnaby Britton is Reviews Editor of dpreview.com and a former professional music photographer. You can see a selection of his after-hours work, past and present, at www.photoinsensitive.com

Comments

Total comments: 129
12
Hugowei
By Hugowei (Jul 7, 2012)

Hi Chuck, Thanks for your reply.
Let me address your points:
The event has finished. I've had a profit or loss. The photos of the event diden't sell a ticket. Granted, if the photographer works for media and the rehearsal, practice, airport arrival, etc. was covered - then, yes, it helped promote the event. I don't manage the artist/team. I pay an appearance fee. You say I worry about controlling every single dollar. If this was the case, we would not provide free food & drinks for the media in the press box or photographers on the field.

You are correct, it's simple. There is no clear benefit for me to give a commercial photographer a credential to the event. If you take a great shot, I'm sure you will sell it for as much as you possibly can. Meanwhile, you've received a free event pass, free parking, free food, asked for autographs (yes, it does happen), and hopefully made a few extra dollars. Not bad for a few hours work!
Again, I'm still open to ideas. I have an event soon.

0 upvotes
Hugowei
By Hugowei (Jul 5, 2012)

Questions for all pros (from a promoter).
What is the benefit to the promoter organizing the show or event to have the photograpers present? For a promoter, the event is a significant monetary risk. If I produce the event and issue credentials for a photographer and the photograper then sells the photos of the event I produced - where is my benefit? What's in it for the promoter? Why even give a credential? The photographer isn't going to help sell even ONE ticket. Is it just the common practice? Is it entitlement because of your art?

I'm genuinely open to hearing your responses and helping me "see the light".

0 upvotes
Chuck Lantz
By Chuck Lantz (Jul 7, 2012)

Hugo: What you, and many event promoters, seem to ignore is the fact that photos of those you are promoting ARE HELPING PROMOTE BOTH THE ARTIST AND YOUR EVENT. (All caps intentional)

If you would stop worrying about controlling every single dollar involved in your efforts and began seeing the Big Picture, you'll have far fewer headaches. Your "benefit" from the photos is increased recognition and interest in the artists you are promoting. It's simple, really.

2 upvotes
OzK
By OzK (Jul 3, 2012)

Here's the trouble - labels screwed the roses over.
Now the roses need a retirement fund.

I captured some amazing pictures at the front in the crowd with my new RX100 :-)

0 upvotes
gareth hacon
By gareth hacon (Jul 2, 2012)

This is potentially a terrible mistake from artists and labels. A photographer puts his creativity into capturing a good shot of the subject. This is just another exploitation from the industry to charge more and more for a piece of the artist yet want everything for pennies.
Artists should just appreciate all that a photographer does. They do their bit and the photographer does theirs!! It has been the hard work and dedication from photographers throughout the years that have brought us iconic images that the world loves over. I believe that record labels and artists earn a good living and the same should be for a photographer!!
Gareth Hacon (landscape photographer)
www.garethhacon.com

0 upvotes
calmwaters
By calmwaters (Jul 2, 2012)

I like Stone Roses and Ian Brown as a solo artist. I find that all the criticism in these comments come from people who have never listened to the band. Well maybe you should listen to yourselves, you sound like idiots. It's their venue that they paid to play in and they should have the rights to photographs of themselves. If you don't like those stipulations then don't take pictures of them. If you think boycotting them is going to hurt them in the least you are very misinformed. Their fans don't say, "That's a band whose photos I really like"! They like the band for their music! If you really want to get even with them then become a paparazzo and hang outside of clubs or restaurants they frequent where they don't own the rights to a "venue".

0 upvotes
JDThomas
By JDThomas (Jul 2, 2012)

I guess that means since the record label PAID them to record the songs then the RECORD LABEL should own all of the copyrights to their songs, right?

5 upvotes
RickBuddy
By RickBuddy (Jul 3, 2012)

Good for you. But I am an artist, too and deserve to be paid for my work, as for the other photographers they should be as well.

The band appears as a group of jerks. Can't say much about it's fan base.

0 upvotes
FlashInThePan
By FlashInThePan (Jul 3, 2012)

I fail to understand what this has to do with their music, or "getting even" with them. Am I being an idiot or is your comment simply infantile?

3 upvotes
JDThomas
By JDThomas (Jul 2, 2012)

I just heard from a photographer that was there, that after the media backlash, the contract was amended and the rights grab/buyout was removed.

0 upvotes
Jonne Ollakka
By Jonne Ollakka (Jul 3, 2012)

..and I wouldn't be surprised if that pressure came from the artists. Some record companies seem to have a really hard time understanding the concept of symbiosis.

0 upvotes
JDThomas
By JDThomas (Jul 2, 2012)

The main problem here in the comments section is that 90% of the people responding are NOT concert photographers, nor do they make money from selling concert photographs. They don't understand the business.

I shoot for a major agency, I have been approved to shoot the show as a representative of an agency the licenses images for editorial use, I show up and I'm handed a fill-in-the-blanks contract that says the images can only be used for _________ publication, and that I retain no rights to the images and must hand them over at the request of the band.

What do I get out of that? I get to see 3 songs and escorted out, then I get to spend hours editing photos for NOTHING? No renumeration for my time, I can't use them in my portfolio. The photos exist only for the band's benefit, and they didn't spend a DIME.

The real problem here is the fans with a decent DSLR that have no problems undermining the profession, because to them it's just a hobby and a chance to get a free ticket.

2 upvotes
Danielvr
By Danielvr (Jul 2, 2012)

Can't you just design a richly curled signature that upon very, very close inspection (such as is impossible in a crowded, dimly lit venue) spells 'f... you' especially for contracts of this kind?

3 upvotes
allcart
By allcart (Jul 7, 2012)

I can relate to this JD. I am not a Pro concert photographer but I have worked as a member of the photographers team at a free music festival in my home town for the past 3 years. I have to supply the organisers with 30 pics of each band I shoot. This would equate to several hundred photo's taken over a weekend. It's hard to put a price on this, but taking into account the 2 days work at the venue, plus editing time plus the cost of the pics, it must be in excess of £2000. My camera gear costs me thousands and for this, I get paid nothing! I am not allowed to sell anything
The bands get the publicity, the band promoters get the publicity, but I still get paid nothing.
I do however display all the best pics wherever I can to try and get myself some publicity.
This year I am doing it just for myself (no contract) and I will sell whatever I can.

How are music photographers expected to make a living?

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
maiaibing
By maiaibing (Jul 2, 2012)

Boycot? Against what?

Its their Rock show - they set the rules. If you and others do not want to comply, just stay away. Musicians and other live artists are struggling hard to make their ends meet and to protect themselves from being ripped off in this digital age.

Its like newpapers not wanting to pay for interviews. They end up not having any interviews with rock or film stars. Its not a big deal its just a choice they make. Make your choice and be at peace with your fellow artists.

Comment edited 15 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
JDThomas
By JDThomas (Jul 2, 2012)

FYI, newspapers don't pay for interviews. Artists do it for free, for publicity.

1 upvote
maiaibing
By maiaibing (Jul 26, 2012)

@JDThomas did you read my post? "Its like newpapers not wanting to pay for interviews". However, lots of magazines do. Some TV-shows do. Lots of people in showbusiness and other artits only give interviews if you pay them.

0 upvotes
Kelvin L
By Kelvin L (Jul 2, 2012)

Changing technology might have something to do with this. "Back in the day" during the 90s when I was doing music photography it was pretty damn hard to get a usable shot on a roll of Tri-X in optimal conditions - media pit, no flash, and fast lenses. Forget colour! People in the audience had no hope. Dissemination of images was also slower and more difficult. So I guess that photographers back then were more valued by band managers and promoters. Internet and social media has changed all that.

I don't remember signing any dodgy contracts like the one mentioned here though. It was either a simple "yes" or "no", with venue security making it pretty clear if I tried to sneak in a few shots!

PS. It isn't management and security that I dislike the most in stage photography. It's microphone stands.

2 upvotes
Saleen1999
By Saleen1999 (Jul 2, 2012)

I am not a pro photographer but if I was, I would be pretty upset by this.

I think it is sad that photographers are treated this way. If musicians are trying to force this issue, you would think they would ban all photography and hire their own to take pictures.

I feel for the pros because the way things are changing today, pretty soon into the near future, there won't be any such thing as pro photographers.

1 upvote
Douglas69
By Douglas69 (Jul 1, 2012)

Since sketch artists took to using cameras to capture images of performers, those performers have tried to prevent the very people they rely on for publicity, making a living from photographing them.

I'm neutral on the issue, it reminds me of many actors who signed contracts when they were starting out and are now trying to force TV recording companies to pay them royalities that the original contracts denied them.

You'd think with the money these performers make, they wouldn't mind a photographer who promoted them making a few bucks too but greed is not just a word, it is a fact of life. I can't help wondering how many shooters will still sign the contracts knowing they might be working for free!

0 upvotes
3DSimmon
By 3DSimmon (Jun 30, 2012)

I think it's just a measure taken to prevent non serious photographers from printing a million tee shirts, coffee cups, or post cards and selling them outside the next gig or on ebay

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Jul 1, 2012)

You would never expect, as a photographer at a concert, to have the right to use your images commercially. That's not what this is about - this is about being prevented from freely using them editorially.

3 upvotes
DenWil
By DenWil (Jul 2, 2012)

I agree except that in regards to anyone who is recognizable - personally I would not recognize a Stone Roses member standing next to me- any editorial usage becomes commercial for the photographer because he is using (theoretically) artistically viable images of someone else's brand to promote himself.

Photos of anonymous in a garage may be great photos but the same quality photos of a name band at the Whisky may generate industry credibility, possibly tear sheets and future paid work. All because you were attached to someone else's brand who is not being compensated.

0 upvotes
Labbai
By Labbai (Jun 30, 2012)

It's like the original 10cc re-uniting, and they are bigger than God and the whole motherfucking Stone Roses and The beatles together, because The Beatles are more or less dead by now... I think I'd be annoyed with all those useless flashes. Why in earth all the newsphotographers need the flash for? Who the needs a flash outside the studio nowdays? Strange... (this post was first rejected because of the swear words??) What the wreck are those?)

0 upvotes
neroangelo
By neroangelo (Jun 30, 2012)

I have never seen a 'pro' use a flash during a concert. If you mean during press conferences you don't know enough about photography to comment.

0 upvotes
camerashopminion
By camerashopminion (Jul 1, 2012)

If memory serves, standard form is for flash photography to be allowed during the first three songs of a set. But this is going back to my teenage years, so my information may be out of date.
And the flash thing - just a daft question. Plenty of people, is the answer. High ISOs and wide apertures create different visual effects, particularly when you're shooting under coloured stage lights. But if you want a more solid answer, ask that question again in the Pro forum.

0 upvotes
jljones
By jljones (Jun 30, 2012)

This has been brewing for years... One of the reasons why I stopped doing it.. No one is prepared to pay for pictures but they're all desperate to have them... Time that bands, managers etc were given something of a come uppance if at all possible...

1 upvote
Labbai
By Labbai (Jun 30, 2012)

Stone Roses are bigger than God, so why not to be bigger than photographers?

0 upvotes
Sad Joe
By Sad Joe (Jun 30, 2012)

Well I say STUFF EM ALL - all celebrities rely on the oxygen of public exposure - so don't give them any - there will be thousands of (poor) images snapped by the crowd and on the way to the net long before the end of their gigs so why should professional photographers even bother to turn up anymore? Just another example of people trying to earn a living taking pictures being pushed ever outwards. It just ain't worth all the work.....

Being an ex professional photographer I would not recommend it as a career to anyone. Attended a wedding this weekend ( we do wedding car hire services now ) their 'professional' photographer took a few images then said they had to sort out their parking - took over 20 mins by which time the guests had arranged the pictures for themselves and most of them had left for the reception !!

I know I must sound like an old fossil - but really - where have all the real pro's gone?????

2 upvotes
camerashopminion
By camerashopminion (Jul 1, 2012)

Priced out of the market by all the have-a-go's, to some extent - or at least, that's what my customers tell me. I know a lot of them who now have to have jobs on the side, as offering competitive pricing doesn't allow them to put food on the plate.
I'm wondering if the tour will end up being photographed by students who are "doing it for experience" at this rate - which would be sad, because they'd be selling themselves short.

0 upvotes
lajka
By lajka (Jun 30, 2012)

Poor D800e shooters! Finally they have a machine that picks up a single recognizable face from a crowd of 50000 including the band, only to discover that f.ex in France every one in the picture can practically object and legally block the use of that picture. England`s next.

0 upvotes
Martin_Kay
By Martin_Kay (Jun 30, 2012)

Who the f**k are the stone roses anyway? Why would anyone want to take photos free of charge? Sod em!

3 upvotes
CameraLabTester
By CameraLabTester (Jun 30, 2012)

One of these days... an intelligent sea gull will approach a lawyer about images taken by unauthorized photographers on a beach...

Oh wait! I think the sea gull's name is... Jonathan!

Well, there goes your wildlife photography...

.

4 upvotes
kenyee
By kenyee (Jun 29, 2012)

About time someone had the guts to stand up. And I'll bet they'll end up hiring a "free" photographer off craigslist who wants to "do it for the experience" :-P

But I guess it's ok to pirate that band's crappy music ;-)

0 upvotes
Jack Simpson
By Jack Simpson (Jun 29, 2012)

Hi Barney,

Your last paragraph, pretty much, says it all :) I've been there-done that, myself. I think the worst(most interesting) disclaimer I signed over was for, if memory serves, Guns&Roses or Metallica, and it stated that I was required to mail 8x10 images, of ALL images taken, to the bands management somewhere in California ............ at my own cost, of course :o And, of course, it never happened :D. As for the Stoned Roses .... just another bunch of lager louts w/ musical intstruments trying to toss their weight :)

4 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Jun 29, 2012)

Yep, been there many times. But I have to say, I know a lot of people in bands, and it's never the bands who have the problem. The attitude of musicians, I usually find, is 'yeah, sure, shoot the gig! Send us some of the best shots!' It's the record labels that are the problem, in my experience.

7 upvotes
Jack Simpson
By Jack Simpson (Jun 29, 2012)

Yep, usually, the musicians are cool and it's those who "live off" the music/musicians ;)

2 upvotes
Martin_Kay
By Martin_Kay (Jun 30, 2012)

Yes, its the fat slugs that are the problem.

1 upvote
CameraLabTester
By CameraLabTester (Jul 1, 2012)

It's the managers "living off" the franchise that's edgy.

.

1 upvote
RichardBalonglong
By RichardBalonglong (Jun 29, 2012)

They're trying to make the photographers stu**d... That's is almost or more so a multi-exploitation. The nerve they demand you to surrender all the rights and demand that get all the digital copies upon request...

0 upvotes
mike55
By mike55 (Jun 29, 2012)

So as I understand it my photographs are free for the band to use but I have to pay to use their music.

6 upvotes
JaFO
By JaFO (Jun 29, 2012)

yep.
I think they were/are would even want you to pay for their music if you were singing their songs in the bathroom ...

Isn't it funny how they try to avoid the one thing that they are trying to force onto us ?

0 upvotes
Sascha Rheker
By Sascha Rheker (Jun 29, 2012)

No, that is not completely true.

You pay for their music, they take your pictures for free (or for the insulting sum of 1 £/$/€) but (and the worst of it) you are not allowed to use the pictures anymore. Not even for your portfolio!

Comment edited 13 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Sad Joe
By Sad Joe (Jun 30, 2012)

A superb summary of a naff situation !

0 upvotes
cshyde
By cshyde (Jun 29, 2012)

The stone what??? Who gives a rats ass about another obscure British band that no one has ever head of? I would be more interested if someone in the band had punched out an annoying predatory photographer of which Brittain seems to have an abundant supply.

1 upvote
EmmanuelStarchild
By EmmanuelStarchild (Jun 29, 2012)

Come to Hollywood...you ain't seen nothing yet.

0 upvotes
Dylthedog
By Dylthedog (Jun 29, 2012)

It doesn't matter whether you've heard of the band or not, the principal is becoming commonplace and is just wrong. The music industry revials copyright infringements and then denies that right for other artists. And the world is full of predatory photographers, not just Britain.

Not sure why you've such a downer on the UK but it's the principal here that you should worry about.

1 upvote
brettmeikle
By brettmeikle (Jul 1, 2012)

Regarded by many as highly influential, 'an obscure british band' who have just played three nights straight to 77,000 each gig, with 4* reviews across the board.
That's who The Stone Roses are.

1 upvote
Ted Washington
By Ted Washington (Jun 29, 2012)

I am the in-house photographer for a major concert venue and shoot 30+ shows per season. I have faced similar agreements and have walked away too. What makes me really mad thought is the people with the "non-professional" cameras in the first couple of rows that can shoot the entire show with no restrictions. Heck, most of these people are even shooting HD video of the shows. As we all know, many of the "non-professional cameras can produce images on par with our "professional" cameras. What's wrong with that picture?

2 upvotes
JaFO
By JaFO (Jun 29, 2012)

I doubt we'll be able to do that for much longer, especially once the artists (or rather : their management) discover that those cameras can produce 'professional' results.

And once they've banned all cameras I'm sure the mobile phones will be next.

0 upvotes
love_them_all
By love_them_all (Jun 30, 2012)

Ted, many concerts already banned people bringing in DSLRs or something similar in size. And they have people watching the crowd in the first section closely. If u hold up your camera for a extended period of time they will come by and check if you are shooting vid.

0 upvotes
Sad Joe
By Sad Joe (Jun 30, 2012)

I could not agree more! I've been to concerts and have seen all manner of kit being used including hi spec pocket digital recorders, of the whole concert without any restrictions or anyone attempting to prevent usage.

0 upvotes
EmmanuelStarchild
By EmmanuelStarchild (Jun 29, 2012)

Yet another reason to switch to wildlife, nature, landscapes, etc.

7 upvotes
Michele Kappa
By Michele Kappa (Jul 2, 2012)

Sssshhh, Getty Images can hear you.

1 upvote
DotCom Editor
By DotCom Editor (Jun 29, 2012)

I h ave no idea who or what the Stone Roses is, are, or were; nor do I have any idea why anyone would want a photo of it or them. Boycotting something that is a has-been (or a never-was) seems to me to be moot. Pick a better and more high-profile battle, British Journal of Photography. You are an otherwise excellent and important publication.

3 upvotes
Aldgate
By Aldgate (Jun 29, 2012)

Maybe you should visit another country to get a broader perspective. You could also read more.

11 upvotes
JaFO
By JaFO (Jun 29, 2012)

Google as always has the answer :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Stone_Roses

Given how their record label has treated them in the past it's not that absurd ...

0 upvotes
brettmeikle
By brettmeikle (Jul 1, 2012)

Another myopic 'murican worldview, dotcom. Of course, you got all kindsa music down there - country AND western!

1 upvote
Les Kamens
By Les Kamens (Jun 29, 2012)

Stand Strong!!!!!!! The music industry is notorious for poor deals regarding images and their usage. When i was a Kid and went to shoot Santana and wanted to get paid from the management...His response was," there are 10's of thousands of people out there with cameras willing to give me photo's for passes to the next show. Why would I want to pay you?" Was an eye opener and decided to move specialties to still life and table top. What did I learn? Agency's pay and rock and roll not so much.

Next we should turn our efforts on FaceBook that blatantly say all images posted are theirs no if, ands, or buts.

2 upvotes
dave gaines
By dave gaines (Jun 29, 2012)

This is a big deal. Facebook has it buried in their terms and agreements. As a result I only post small, low res images on FB. More people should be aware of this.

0 upvotes
juan bobo
By juan bobo (Jul 2, 2012)

Actually, the Facebook TOS says that you retain the rights to your images, but that you grant them permission to use them in any way they wish. It's a subtle difference, I admit.
Like Dave, I post nothing larger than 1024 on the longest side, but that's all they really need for their uses so I watermark everything I put on FB. If they use my work, it's going to have my logo right in the middle where it can't be cropped off.

1 upvote
Humberto_Yaakov
By Humberto_Yaakov (Jun 29, 2012)

all photographers should boycot such demand by any band and let them rotten in ther own sheet!!!!

0 upvotes
Walter Rowe
By Walter Rowe (Jun 29, 2012)

Professional photographers do boycott them. Fans gladly step in and sign these things. They are flattered by seeing their images on the band's website. Fans could not care less about professional music photographers losing their source of income. Labels and management will gladly use these free images. It costs them nothing. With so many images coming from fans, they are bound to get a few great ones purely on the law of averages.

This is what happened to the stock photography market too. Anyone with a camera sent their images into the micro stock / royalty free agencies. It completely eroded the rights managed stock photo market. The stock artist alliance, the one stock photo trade organization, even disbanded. Even Getty Images, once the world premiere rights-managed stock photo agency, is now primarily driven by their royalty free revenue lines. They completely undercut their own artists.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
5 upvotes
camerashopminion
By camerashopminion (Jul 1, 2012)

Worse yet, expectations become yet more unrealistic on account of people underselling and gutting the market. The final straw that led to dismantling my studio was a month where I had 4 shoots arranged, and all of them expected me to do it for absolute peanuts. When it dawned on me I'd make more money just pulling some overtime, I did!

And of course, the saddest part is that a lot of these have-a-go types will deliver unsatisfactory results, and have a negative impact on the image of the professional photographer.

0 upvotes
juan bobo
By juan bobo (Jul 2, 2012)

Let's not forget that photojournalists are rapidly being replaced by "iReporters" to use CNN's term for the people who provide them with free content as they hand out pink slips to photojournalists.

0 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Jun 29, 2012)

People to sell photographs should pay the artists a sum for the right. Since there is no way to know which person in an audience is a "pro," the only objective way to screen them is on the basis of the camera type. A small P&S or phone camera is unlikely to yield images of commercial value. Compact cameras seldom have much zoom either. Any cameras or phones in a theater can be a distracting annoyance to other people who attend, but outright prohibition may be difficult to enforce. People who want to lug big camerass to a performance should pay a bit extra and be seated appart from the rest of the crowd. Indeed, a special seating or viewing section for photographers might improve their results.

0 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Jun 29, 2012)

BTW, I'd not pay one penny to see a "reunion" concert of sexagenerians or septuagenarians, who often can no longer sing, and whose repertoire of "oldies" can easily be heard in original recordings. Why anyone would covet pictures of the events or the performers is odder still. If one happened to walk by me on a street, I'd respect their privacy and not give a second glance. Of course, beyond a certain age, they no longer resemple the people the were, when they hit fame, eons ago.

1 upvote
bobsphotos
By bobsphotos (Jun 29, 2012)

Who the hell are the Stone Roses? Are they just another garage band some girlies like? I'm 66.

1 upvote
Ronni H
By Ronni H (Jun 29, 2012)

It's a rock band. They were the coolest of the cool in the late eighties (or was it early nineties) but now they've reunited and according to my sources they shouldn't have.

4 upvotes
brettmeikle
By brettmeikle (Jul 1, 2012)

Your sources? not the Telegraph, Guardian, NME, MSN or Daily Mirror, all of whom gave then 4* reviews.
You're right with the era though!

0 upvotes
Artpt
By Artpt (Jun 29, 2012)

It seems like contract law in the photography community is not evolving fast enough with the speed of electronic media...

For the forum and editorial staff, does a large bodied photographers trade group have a position on this?

Leveraging advantage with urgency to sign is pinning the professional's probable income right down. It is understandable to sign without much time to review the contents of these agreements for the sake of not missing a shooting opportunity. Keep in mind all contracts can be modified before signing and even negotiated after the event on good faith. You may surprised how presenting your work after the shoot and against the language of a contract will quickly start to engage in candid discussion.

1 upvote
Walter Rowe
By Walter Rowe (Jun 29, 2012)

Lots of photography trade organizations disagree with the policy of presenting these rights grabbing contracts. The issue comes down to uneducated people getting photo passes and signing because they don't know any better. They aren't business savvy and believe what the tour reps tell them ("everyone signs them"). As long as record labels and band managers get people to sign them, they will continue to present them.

None of the contracts have ever been tested in a court of law to get a ruling on how "legal" they really are. Contract law states both parties must participate in a fair negotiation. These forms offer no fair negotiation. You accept them or you walk. Fortunately, we are getting more coverage in the press about these rights grabbing contracts and have had some success in getting a few revised or tossed altogether.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
2 upvotes
Walter Rowe
By Walter Rowe (Jun 29, 2012)

Read dozens of similar rights grabbing contracts on MusicPhotographers.net or on the Music Photographers Facebook page.

2 upvotes
Higuel
By Higuel (Jun 29, 2012)

I hope NO ONE takes theyr pictures! and they end up LOOSING money in this process! Discusting!!! :L

1 upvote
OzK
By OzK (Jun 29, 2012)

I think The Stone Roses have it right with their contract. They are looking a bit old and grey, enough people have made money from them.

Now it's their turn bless them.

If you don't want to agree to it then don't!

2 upvotes
Higuel
By Higuel (Jun 29, 2012)

Hello Ozk

did u read it all? If u were trying to make a living from ur photographs and this MEANT ACTING ILEGALLY because u were selling them to someone, so u have to choose between not acting with honour(not to mention legaly!) OR EATING till the end of the month!!! :(
Do you think this changes things?
I'm not against any band making money, ON THE CONTRARY!!! :)
I'M AGAINST STOPPING PHOTOGRAPHERS OF MAKING A LIVING FROM THEYR CRAFT ALSO!!!
Besides, if they make it EVEN HARDER for photographers(like the stupid rule of one minute in the first 3songs!!!) they will have MUCH WORST PICTURES, and as such, MUCH WORST(or not at all) publicity!!! EVERYONE LOSSES!!! :/

I hope e explained myself well enough! :)

0 upvotes
OzK
By OzK (Jul 3, 2012)

Its their show - so many people have sponged money from them. Now it's their turn!

1 upvote
CameraLabTester
By CameraLabTester (Jun 29, 2012)

"The stadium rules and guidelines strictly forbid the use of cameras and flash any time inside the stadium and during the concert. Heavy penalties apply".

Boomed the loudspeakers just before the rock band made an entrance.

As soon as the rock band appeared in the stage, the whole stadium lit up like the 4th of July from cameras and flash photography.

A sanction is useless if nobody obeys it.

.

6 upvotes
M Lammerse
By M Lammerse (Jun 29, 2012)

I tend to agree. If you in this digital time still worry about the taking of still images while you can record a whole concert in full HD on a pocket sized camera...than stop performing (or managing)

4 upvotes
DougRight
By DougRight (Jun 29, 2012)

It is hilarious when that happens. You only have a problem when you try to sell those pictures.

0 upvotes
Sascha Rheker
By Sascha Rheker (Jun 29, 2012)

It makes a difference if you are an anonymous visitor at a concert or if you have signed a contract with your name an address on it...

0 upvotes
tissunique
By tissunique (Jun 29, 2012)

Stone Roses - I wouldn't lose sleep over not photographing them.I do not sell the images I take, rather, I use them for my own music website where free access is available to anyone who wants them including the artists (who often do partake). . As Barney B stated, I do what I do for the love of music (I'll sign anything to shoot a great act) and the quest to try and grab 'that moment' on stage. This means that I only photograph those acts that I believe are good and cross fingers for a photo pass (I also write reviews). Live music photography has become arguably the most difficult type of photography in a non-war scenario (lighting, environment, limitations, attitudes) but few acts/labels actually know or care. Finally, at most concerts (UK) I find 90% of photographers are freelance and not working directly with any music media - i.e. speculative. However, they usually get photo priority over me who does not sell and use images for my own website/fans...
Tony
www.shakenstir.co.uk

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
love_them_all
By love_them_all (Jun 29, 2012)

Perhaps the main concern is people shooting video with their high quality cameras? At this age still images can only help to promote the band. It is fair for the band to ask for a license fee on likeness if they make merchandise or books, but giving up everything is just too much.

I would take photos of other bands who appreciate the input from photographers.

1 upvote
Sascha Rheker
By Sascha Rheker (Jun 29, 2012)

No, they had these contracts long before HD etc...

0 upvotes
Gothmoth
By Gothmoth (Jun 29, 2012)

some day we won t be able to take any pictures.. because any idiot has a lawyer...

1 upvote
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (Jun 29, 2012)

As far as I understand, the band can do what they wish. Allow P, disallow P or make up some rules for the P, like Stone Roses. Personally I go to concerts to get entertained, and I dont assume I can freely take photos. But, if I can take P then I assume that any limitations to those P is a kind of contract with the band - a contract that both parties can gain from. If not, then I think the band shall simply disallow P. The contract might contain that if they can force me to give them P, then they have to give me money. Or something like that.

0 upvotes
bikinchris
By bikinchris (Jun 29, 2012)

I am in Vegas right now and I got to look at the Celine Dion book they sell at the concerts venue. The shots in that book for $30 mostly suck. They can't be using the best photographers. Maybe no on ehwo is real good wants to work and give away rights?

3 upvotes
Alec
By Alec (Jun 29, 2012)

Exactly right. If enough Celine Dion fans will look at the book and say "the photos are garbage - I am not buying it", such voting with dollars (demand-side) is what would make her look into better photography and what it takes to get it. Unlike any photographer pact or boycott attempt (supply side).

1 upvote
doctor digi
By doctor digi (Jun 29, 2012)

Alec - there is a fundamental flaw in your argument for the 21st century: you are assuming photographs now have value. They don't. We are now so swamped with digital images that nobody cares about quality any more (the same with music - CD or MP3, doesn't matter that MP3s are poor quality). The General Public just don't care - they see a photo and that's all that counts.

0 upvotes
DenWil
By DenWil (Jun 29, 2012)

With the potential that junk images would detract from and diminish the band's brand not to mention impacting their own revenue streams, it makes since to control the supply and general output. The photographers are trading access and a credential for the images. Anyone with a deep portfolio and regularly being hired will likely take a pass- unless they just want to shoot the gig.

I''d bet if a brand name shooter such as a Leibovitz or a Weber was shooting for Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, or Interview they will not be signing similar agreements.

1 upvote
Alec
By Alec (Jun 29, 2012)

Case in point: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-et-annieleibovitz-pg,0,5912583.photogallery

Leibovitz magazine covers are original creative concepts of her design, with deliberate posing and many other elements going in before the shutter ever clicks. That is very different from clicking the shutter at the show the band has created.

0 upvotes
N0BOX
By N0BOX (Jun 29, 2012)

It is legal evils such as this that is causing a huge movement on the internet to subvert the rights of artists by distributing "mp3s" and other music and video files online. The recording and film industries have both been so intent on legally binding their artists, associates, and patrons that they have turned a whole generation against them.

This not only hurts the musicians, writers, and actors by losing sales to the internet's modern community of "innocent theives", but it gravely injures copyright law in general. If copyright law is to survive in modern times, when everything is shared immediately with the world, then it has to be seen as "fair" to both sides. Having teams of lawyers at each others' throats before and after every picture is taken, song is written, or movie is filmed causes this "big, evil, corporate machine" feeling to be perpetuated.

People who do the work should have their rights to the product. It should always just be as simple as that.

1 upvote
doctor digi
By doctor digi (Jun 29, 2012)

The day that we have a proper campaign to reduce copyright length to sensible time periods (20 years, for instance - or even 10) the better for everyone. Having copyright subsist for 70 years (Europe) or 90 years (US) after the author's death is just plain ludicrous. Unfortunately it looks like being extended to 120 years to keep Disney happy. Will we ever learn?

2 upvotes
Sascha Rheker
By Sascha Rheker (Jun 29, 2012)

That argument is strange.

First it would cut off photographers from using their archives as a kind of pension fund.

Second the copyright infringements happen with new movies not with 10 year old ones already shown on TV.

0 upvotes
Doug Brown
By Doug Brown (Jun 29, 2012)

I was supposed to shoot Ziggy Marley last night but backed out after being presented with a similiar contract to sign.

There is no sadder group of businesss execs on this planet than the misfits that run the music biz. They're like the 'cool kids' in High School who never grew up.

All the indicators in their business are down; album sales revenue, concert revenue, concert attendance, employment in the industry. Yet they are going to keep riding that old school arrogance right into the ground.

Having your name, your brand, in the forefront of public consciousness is like oxygen in the entertainment industry.
Photographers serve this purpose at every city on the tour. P*ssing them off with lazy old school thinking is counter-productive to such an obvious degree that you have to wonder if these people have any qualifications at all.

As usual, it's the artists who will suffer the consequences.

5 upvotes
Goodmeme
By Goodmeme (Jun 30, 2012)

The interesting thing is that a few years ago - and maybe now I'm not sure - concert sales were increasing. People it seems don't mind paying to be entertained live.

Sensible musicians should be reducing album prices and working on getting as much publicity as possible so as to increase concert sales.

0 upvotes
RoelHendrickx
By RoelHendrickx (Jun 29, 2012)

I like to shoot concerts.
Sometimes on assignment, most often just for fun.
Sometimes I get a photo pass, sometimes I don't.
(Look at the "Concert" section of my webpages if you want to.)

Even if I am not paid and it is just for fun and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to shoot a band I love, I will NEVER sign any contract or other document with which I give away copyright of my images for free.

The problem is that there are so many people trying to get into the game, that the organizers and bands can impose just about any condition they can think of. There is always someone willing to go along.

Photographers should stand firm on the issue of copyright. We are just as much creators as any other artist.
Only if nobody gives in, will it be possible to have our rights be respected.

Roel Hendrickx
www.roelh.zenfolio.com

0 upvotes
JaFO
By JaFO (Jun 29, 2012)

There is just two problems :
(1) The very nature of digital media make traditional copyright impossible to maintain. You could try to solve that by introducing DRM, but that adds a layer of consumer-hostile features.

(2) there are too many competitors who don't have anything to gain by playing by the rules you want.

0 upvotes
Burbclaver
By Burbclaver (Jun 29, 2012)

Australia's top rock photographer was asked the question "A lot of music photographers get irate about the contracts you're forced to sign that take away your copyright. Is that an issue for you?"

Here is what he said: http://www.messandnoise.com/articles/3564717

1 upvote
RoelHendrickx
By RoelHendrickx (Jun 29, 2012)

His advice of signing, dating and timing seems clever, because it can indicate having signed "under duress" (or at least under the pressure of circumstances).
However, it is not correct that IN GENERAL a contract is invalid just because you did not have a chance for legal advice. If a contract is clear and signed by someone who understands it, then under normal circumstances it is valid.

Signing a document with the clear intent of ignoring it afterwards could be interpreted as bad faith, making it harder to argue the "duress" exception.

But of course he has a point that not signing might cost you the opportunity.

I guess the jury is still out on this one.

Roel

1 upvote
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Jun 29, 2012)

I've asked media lawyers about this, and the advice I was given was not to assume anything - if you sign a contract, agreeing to terms, then in theory, you could be liable. Naturally though I'm sure there are many shades of grey.

1 upvote
Indulis Bernsteins
By Indulis Bernsteins (Jul 2, 2012)

Or just do what I do when faced with a ludicrous agreement when I drop my car in for a service (i.e. "we accept no liability for any damage caused, even if caused by our negligence"), I just take the contract to one side, strike out the offending section, sign and hand back. I have not been asked to sign a new one yet!

0 upvotes
Gesture
By Gesture (Jun 29, 2012)

Barnaby, I can't speak to this issue but you are one of the best voices on this web site. Journalism isn't about neutrality. It's about being accurate and fair.

Comment edited 28 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Alec
By Alec (Jun 29, 2012)

This whole thing is a matter of an equilibrium between supply and demand of skill. If fans/customers/band itself do not readily see or care about the quality difference (technical and artistic) that a working pro vs. a willing amateur can deliver, by definition that difference's market value is $0.

Album or magazine covers where the photographer comes up with a creative concept and executes it (mood, props, lighting, environment, logistics, directing the talent, everything) that is one thing - I could see the bands/celebs/agencies ponying up real coin for that. But if you shoot a show THEY created in its entirety, next to a bunch of other people doing the same thing, they look at you like you're trying to sell them sand while standing in the middle of a desert.

It's not cool that they try to grab the rights. On the other hand if you find yourself in a role only slightly more creatively proactive than Sony IPT-DS1, it is fair to say most of the creativity belongs to the band.

1 upvote
Higuel
By Higuel (Jun 29, 2012)

WTF?

You need to study history!!!

0 upvotes
JadedGamer
By JadedGamer (Jun 30, 2012)

Maloy, do you also feel that pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge should be the property of the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District - its caretakers?

Pictures of the band that the band even don't have to pay to have taken, are free publicity as long as they are identified.

1 upvote
Higuel
By Higuel (Jul 1, 2012)

Be carefull JadeGamer: Maloy is like Chuck Norris: OWNER OF THE WORLD!!!

0 upvotes
eyedo
By eyedo (Jun 29, 2012)

I was covering concerts in the 70s thru early 1990s. The first ones to enforce the photo contract that I recall was the band 'The Police.' I'd received many hideous contracts to sign before a show and a few were not even valid because they did not provide me with a copy of the contract.
I had bands ask for photo approval insisting slides/neg's be sent to them.They'd put holes in the ones not approved.Many of the bands that started doing these things are virtually unknown or dead today..One band comes to mind-Missing Persons..
Yeah,WHO?

1 upvote
Higuel
By Higuel (Jun 29, 2012)

Maloy, you MUST be the BEST&MOST FAMOUS&MOST BRILLIANT&SPARLY GIG PHOTOGRAPHER EVER!!!

PLEASE GO and make some more of your DAZLING FORTUNE MAKING photos and leave HONEST PHOTOGRAPHERS in peace!!!

2 upvotes
MPA1
By MPA1 (Jun 29, 2012)

We editorial photographers here in NZ are rebelling against similarly poor contracts being offered by Fairfax Media.

2 upvotes
Total comments: 129
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