Last week, Taylor Swift’s open letter to Apple caused quite a furor as she witheld her latest album from Apple’s new streaming service as they promoted it for free for 3 months and expected the musicians to forego their fees as well, in essence asking them to subsidize Apple’s foray into streaming music.
Apple caved (but they didn’t say how much they would pay the musicians) and Taylor was heralded as a champion of artist’s rights to be paid for their work.
Her concerts are photographed in general by freelance concert photographers. They assume the risk of being there because if nobody buys their images they just don’t get paid. They are also creative professionals in an expensive profession — that gear ain’t cheap.
However, while she claims to stand up for creative professionals, her contract with concert photographers is downright predatory.While they don’t ask the photographer to relinquish copyright, they essentially demand that they not use the image again unless first requesting its use. They also demand that the images can be used for non-commercial use at will (ie for promotion, and of course that is a key component to a musician’s success) and if you don’t comply then the management company can even destroy their equipment!
Points 2 and 3 in the contract basically assign all rights to Swift to use their images forever, not the copyright granted but if somebody can use their images at will and free of charge I’m not sure what use the copyright is at that point.
So I’m doing my bit to expose her hypocrisy. I’m even rebelling. The image that you see above is of Taylor Swift with the lights out. I challenge you to sue me and destroy my camera in search of the image.
If you do then nah nah, it’s on my iPhone.
Taylor Swift has always championed musicians’ rights to get paid for their work but even if she was unaware of what the contract said before, she’s not now. The ongoing coverage of this story must have got as far as her iPad by now.
In her open letter she clearly states “This is not about me”. But it is. It is a cynical attempt at holier than thou championing of creatives’ rights to be paid as long as you can hear not see their art.
Classic self aggrandizement in the way that she champions musicians’ right to be paid for their work but preys on the photographers that shoot her concerts. The objectionable part is the massive delta in her views on copyright and its sanctity.
So what’s my expertise on this? None whatsoever. Interest? None really, I’m a keen photographer and have wasted a lot of time trying to get some good images. I have tremendous respect for working photographers, it’s just a pity that Taylor Swift doesn’t.
If you’re going to take the high ground on an issue make sure that you have a 360 degree view once you’re up there because somebody could be coming up behind you to push you off that high ground if your position isn’t strong.
Let’s hope she sorts this out to be fair to all creative professionals who struggle to earn a living in a profession that they love, if she doesn’t then I have to keep changing radio stations every time I hear one of her songs – and she is everywhere!!!