Taylor Swift suffered a victory at the weekend when Apple Music agreed to change their “unfair” policies, that saw the artists lose out financially during their customers’ three month trial period.
She said she felt elated, Calvin Harris called her “his girl”, it was all very emotional.
However, things have taken an unexpected twist now that one of Taylor’s official photographers for her 1989 world tour has come forward to accuse the star of having “double standards”, with it being revealed that she demands “free and unlimited” use of their snaps – only paying a one-off fee.
Congratulating the 25 year old for this weekend’s achievement, Jason Sheldon writes on his blog: “It’s great to have someone with a huge following standing up for the rights of creative people and making a stand against the corporate behemoths who have so much power they can make or break someone’s career.
“And this is the echoed sentiment of every professional photographer. Some are afraid to speak up for fear of being blacklisted by management and PR companies who seek to control the public perception of their talent..
“For every artist that is in a secure enough financial and influential position to stand up against the likes of Apple without having to worry that Apple will publicly block your ability to earn a living from their iTunes market place, there are hundreds of professional concert photographers who don’t enjoy that security..
“They don’t have the voice you do, and they don’t have the public favour that you have when it comes to demanding fair rights for their work, and they have a much higher risk of being prevented from working in future, not just at your shows, but any show which is connected by the same promoter, venue, PR, or management company.”
Jason then shares a photo of a concert photo authorization contract that he had with Firefly entertainment for Taylor’s shows, and explains: “If you take points 2 and 3 in that contract (which is provided to Photographers who need to agree to those terms before they are allowed to do their job in photographing you for editorial outlets), it appears to be a complete rights grab, and demands that you are granted free and unlimited use of our work, worldwide, in perpetuity.
“You say in your letter to Apple that ‘Three months is a long time to go unpaid’. But you seem happy to restrict us to being paid once, and never being able to earn from our work ever again, while granting you the rights to exploit our work for your benefit for all eternity….
“How are you any different to Apple? If you don’t like being exploited, that’s great.. make a huge statement about it, and you’ll have my support. But how about making sure you’re not guilty of the very same tactic before you have a pop at someone else?
“Photographers need to earn a living as well. Like Apple, you can afford to pay for photographs so please stop forcing us to hand them over to you while you prevent us from publishing them more than once, ever.”
He rather poignantly ends with: “Photographers don’t ask for your music for free. Please don’t ask us to provide you with your marketing material for free.”
After his original blog post started to gain a whole load of traction, and overwhelming support, Jason returned to make some clarifications about his complaint for us lot that aren’t exactly in the know when it comes to legal bits and pieces.
He added: “As a freelance photographer, I am asked to photograph concerts by publications. I get paid IF and when the photos are used, not for turning up to a show and shooting it. Therefore, if the newspaper has a bigger story to run and doesn’t have enough room to use my photo, I don’t get paid.
“When I’m not allowed to do anything else with the photos, that means I’ve incurred expenses to work, which I can’t recover. Therefore preventing me from licensing my photos to more than one publication, or even (as later versions of this contract stipulate) preventing me from using the images for my own self promotion in a portfolio etc while they can use them without licensing the usage is highly unfair and unjustified.”
Well, you can’t exactly argue with that, can you?
Although Taylor’s team have since argued that: “Every artist has the right to and should protect the use of their name and likeness”, Tay herself hasn’t yet responded to Jason’s criticism.
We are definitely hoping for another lengthy open letter.
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