Days after Taylor Swift threatened to pull her album from Apple’s new music streaming service, when the company stated it would not compensate artists during a three-month trial period, a UK-based photographer has called the pop star a hypocrite for allegedly requiring him to sign a contract that prevents him from profiting from images he captured of the singer.
The photographer, Jason Sheldon, posted an open letter and a copy of his concert photo authorization form to the mega star to his website this past Sunday.
“How are you any different to Apple? If you don’t like being exploited, that’s great… making a huge statement about it, and you’ll have my support,” he wrote. “But how about making sure you’re not guilty of the very same tactic before you have a pop at someone else?”
A UK rep for Swift fired back at Sheldon’s claims, saying his allegations misrepresent the agreement form.
“The standard photography agreement has been misrepresented in that it clearly states that any photographer shooting ‘The 1989 World Tour’ has the opportunity for further use of said photographs with management approval,” said the spokesperson.
Sheldon says he never insinuated the contract strips photographers of image ownership, but instead allows Swift and her team to use them in any “non-commercial” way they see fit.
Another photographer named Joel Goodman posted a copy of the most recent authorization form, which has an added clause.
“This contract is particularly egregious and that it not only contains an all out rights grab on the photographers’ work,” said Goodman, “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 distraction of property.”
Goodman claimed he received copies of the latest contract from two separate photographers, per Consequences of Sound, and that Clause 5 states “Firefly Entertainment, Inc., the Artist or the Related Entities may confiscate and/or destroy the technology or devices that contain the master file of the Photographs” if a photographer fails to comply with any part of the contract.
Sheldon insisted other photographers may not complain about their contracts over fear of being blacklisted by certain artists, or denied access into future events.
“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…Time to stop being ‘Mean,’ Sheldon concluded.