The issue of ‘rights grab’ contracts is one I’ve blogged about before, and the issue doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon.
In essence they are contracts that you sign to photograph a band and as a condition of that contract you transfer your copyright to the artist, often without limitation. A milder version is where the contract requires you to license your work for free, while you retain the copyright. Not a huge difference in practice - the root of it is they get to use your work for free.
Recently several festivals have started having their own photographer agreements, mostly about only shooting for one publication and not papping anyone. Nothing too controversial there - however, it seems some events are taking them further.
Anyone wanting to photograph Bradford Council’s Bingley Live has to agree to the following:
” 7. I agree to forward to the Bingley Music Live organisers a copy of all photographs taken by my organisation at Bingley Music Live 2012. Images to be supplied in JPEG format and at not less than 300 dpi
“8. Photographers retain the copyright of all images and grant Bingley Music Live festival license to use the provided images for promotional purposes”
Not quite a full rights grab, but should a publicly funded body really be conducting itself in such a way?
For anyone shooting it, and with my legal hat on, the contract specifies the resolution of the image, but not the width…
“it is not possible to determine the damage and corresponding compensation due to loss of benefits to the rightsholder, for the simple reason that customers of pirated copies of music and movies, when making the purchase of pirated copies, externalize their decision not to be customers of music and movies as originals, so there is no profit that could have been gained. In other words, those customers either buy a pirated copy at a low price or they don’t buy an original at a price between 15 and 20 Euros.
In any case, reversing the legal argument, it is conceivable that a customer, after hearing or viewing the pirated copy, may decide to purchase the original, finding it to their taste, so that the sale of pirated copies, far from harming, benefits the market for original items.”
Yesterday’s news that Amy Winehouse had been found dead was a very sad moment by any measure. The all too soon death of such a talented artist may have not been entirely unexpected, but the media reaction was perhaps more inevitable - in death, as in life, Ms Winehouse remains a huge media draw - as the scrum of photographers and TV crews outside her Camden home demonstrates.
In the current climate, the situation also raises some very awkward questions about the role of the emergency services. The news was public literally minutes after her body was found, and I myself had an email from a national newspaper asking for photos from Wednesday’s iTunes show - now Amy’s last public appearance. I understand her father, Mitch, found out about the news when a reporter called him.
It has long been the case that newspapers pay for tip-offs in these circumstances, and given recent events I cannot help but wonder whether the ongoing investigation into information being sold to reporters should be widened to cover this kind of tip-off.
We now know her body was discovered at 3.54pm and by 5.46pm the Associated Press was tweeting the news. By that time, the story would have had to be sourced and confirmed, so I expect AP was aware of the news some time before then. According to a Metropolitan statement: “We were called by London Ambulance Service to an address in Camden Square shortly before 16.05hrs following reports of a woman found deceased. On arrival officers found the body of a 27-year-old female who was pronounced dead at the scene.”
The sight of a body being removed from the flat in full view of an organised and very busy media area is something that I myself found very uncomfortable - and I say that as a press card carrying photographer.
However, the possibility that someone profited from discovering the body of a dead woman - who happened to be in the public eye - in the course of performing their duties as a part of emergency service should trouble us far more than allegations of phone hacking.
For once, combining my love of live music and politics isn’t a confusing link thanks to Mike Weatherley MP!
The recently launched Rock the house competition is combining an awareness campaign about intellectual property (and, I’m very pleased to add, is going about this in a far more sensible way than the Digital Economy Act and is not simply buying into the major label spin) with a search for the best live bands, and - for it is far too often forgotten - the best live music venues.
I’m delighted to be involved as, yes, a ‘prize’ - I’ll be donating my music photographer services to produce some tip-top photography of the winners.
The winning band also get to perform in Parliament, along with a host of other great prizes.
Let’s see which MPs are the biggest champions of live music and hopefully, willing to look beyond piracy headlines as part of the debate about IP and copyright protection.
I often struggle to articulate what I feel is wrong about the X Factor-style shows that seem to have devoured much of the music industry, and why it’s incredibly important that people make a point of not letting such ‘product’ dominate the airwaves.
Well, I don’t need to try anymore. For those of you that havent seen Anvil, well, do. For those of you that have, you know what I mean.