A photographer has claimed that Taylor Swift's company retains rights to all images taken at her live shows.
"I'm smiling because the photographer signed a contract that says I own this image!"
Jason Sheldon is a freelance photographer who wrote a blog post addressed to Taylor Swift. He commends her for being a positive voice in fighting for the rights of artists and their work, like she did with Apple's new streaming music service, and with Spotify last year. But according to Jason, Taylor is doing something similar to the Big Bad Music Companies when it comes to images taken at live shows.
Good thing she can fight, because shots have been fired. (via YouTube)
Jason posted the contract that all professional photographers must sign before taking pictures at her live shows for media outlets. The troubling part is that Taylor Swift's company, Firefly Entertainment, retains rights to use the images in perpetuity, so the photographer only gets paid one time for the photo, then gives up ownership of it. Sound familiar? Like, say, a company giving away a song on a streaming music service without paying the artist?
An open response to Taylor Swift's rant against Apple https://t.co/K3V4PKlsP5 pic.twitter.com/veO2MV4Vah
— Jason Sheldon (@Junction10) June 21, 2015
Taylor Swift wrote to Apple in her Tumblr post,
"But I say to Apple with all due respect, it's not too late to change this policy and change the minds of those in the music industry who will be deeply and gravely affected by this. We don't ask you for free iPhones. Please don't ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation."
Jason responded in kind:
"With all due respect to you too Taylor, you can do the right thing and change your photo policy. Photographers don't ask for your music for free. Please don't ask us to provide you with your marketing material for free."
A spokesperson from Taylor's team told the BBC that the photography agreement had been misinterpreted, and the image copyrights remain with the photographers. Apparently, that's not the issue though:
For the record, I never claimed they take our copyright. Just the right to use and give our images away worldwide in perpetuity, just as bad
— Jason Sheldon (@Junction10) June 22, 2015
All I know is this sounds like a fight worthy of a song on the next Taylor Swift album.