In the wake of Taylor Swift’s successful open letter prompting Apple Music to change its royalties policy and compensate artists fairly for their work, some photographers are alleging that Swift is a hypocrite when it comes to compensating the artists who shoot her shows.
Yesterday, British photographer Jason Sheldon posted his own open letter to Swift, along with a copy of the waiver that photographers at Swift’s concerts are supposed to sign, alleging that Swift is guilty of basically the same practice that she accused Apple of (notably, the URL for the piece is “those in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones”).
Sheldon explains that the contract limits photographers to one-time use of their images and restricts them from selling or reusing them, allowing them to publish the photographs just once, while it grants Swift and her team “perpetual, worldwide use” of the images, without any further compensation.
Okay, this caught my attention today.
The gist of it that while Swift made a public spectacle about Apple not paying artists royalties for their music for the first three months, she places severe limitations on photographers that appear on her tour; to the point they can't include anything in their portfolios to advertise their services to potential employers.
I don't work in the music or photography business, so I have no clue if her contract is standard or not. A few people in the comments section are saying it not only isn't, but they'd never sign on with those kinds of conditions.
Does anyone here have any experience in music/photography/contract negotiations?
I'd love to hear your input on this.
Meanwhile, another photographer, Joel Goodman, shared a newer and even more prohibitive version of Swift’s waiver, which states that not only can the artist not feature the images on his or her own portfolio, but that Swift’s management company “may confiscate and/or destroy the technology or devices that contain the master files of the photographs” if photographers fail to comply with the directives in the waiver.
“This contract is particularly egregious in that it not only contains an all out rights grab on the photographers’ work, whilst limiting their editorial control and ability to earn from that work — and does so without compensation — but because it does so under threat of criminal damage or destruction of property,” writes Goodman.
Especially about that part. Yikes.