Major Irish Newspaper Didn’t Photograph Taylor Swift’s Dublin Concert Due to “Exceedingly Restrictive” Contract

Jun 30, 2015

Liron Samuels

Liron Samuels is a wildlife and commercial photographer based in Israel. When he isn’t waking up at 4am to take photos of nature, he stays awake until 4am taking photos of the night skies or time lapses. You can see more of his work on his website or follow him on Facebook.

Major Irish Newspaper Didn’t Photograph Taylor Swift’s Dublin Concert Due to “Exceedingly Restrictive” Contract

Jun 30, 2015

Liron Samuels

Liron Samuels is a wildlife and commercial photographer based in Israel. When he isn’t waking up at 4am to take photos of nature, he stays awake until 4am taking photos of the night skies or time lapses. You can see more of his work on his website or follow him on Facebook.

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It seems like Taylor Swift has had a spot reserved for her in the headlines lately. First it was positive press for standing up to Apple’s music streaming service and defending artists’ rights, but then came along a concert photographer calling the singer a hypocrite for exploiting photographers that cover her concerts.

Then came her agent’s response to the photographer’s accusations, quickly followed by the photographer’s response to the agent.

Making valid points and drawing attention to a touchy subject for photographers, Jason Sheldon got people talking about the problem, but it was just talk.

Today, however, that changed when the Irish Times covered Swift’s Dublin concert but didn’t include any photos of her performance. Taking it a step further, the news outlet also posted an article on its website explaining that the star’s contract didn’t leave them another option.

When one of the most successful singers in the world comes to town for two sold-out concerts you’d expect to see newspapers and other media outlets full of gushing coverage.

True to form, Swift’s Dublin concert last night attracted the media and got plenty of coverage in today’s papers. The Irish Times, the country’s most popular daily non-tabloid newspaper, ran two articles about the show.

The first was the expected coverage of the concert, with the second one explaining why the earlier one only included photos of the fans before the concert began.

The Irish Times cites the singer’s insistence that photographers sign restricting contracts as far as what they can and can’t do with photos of Swift, and goes on to mention that the live music industry has adopted the use of such contracts in recent years.

But, says the Irish Times, Swift’s contract specifically includes a few “onerous restrictions”. For those who haven’t been in the loop these restrictions are a “one-time-only” publishing clause, the need for written consent from the singer or her agent for any other use and the fact that Swift’s management company gets the “perpetual, worldwide right” to use the photos from the concert for publicity and promotions. Free of charge, of course.

“The terms and conditions of the contract are exceedingly restrictive and just not feasible for a working newspaper and website,” said Brenda Fitzsimons, The Irish Times deputy picture editor.

Nothing personal against Swift, but hopefully this is the beginning of a long list of media outlets that will refrain from photographing her concerts under the current contract.

Swift is not the only artist with a restricting photo authorization contract, and who knows it might not even be the worst one out there, but when Swift so eagerly took upon herself the role of defending artists’ rights against Apple she became the face of a battle of a wider scope than she cared for.

People aren’t only looking at the musicians, songwriters and producers she had in mind. They’re now also looking at the photographers being used by the very same people crying out for help.

Don’t get me wrong, I fully support Swift’s message to Apple and agree that artists shouldn’t have to work for free, nor should Apple employees as she mentioned. That being said, Swift needs to remember that the Golden Rule applies not only when you’re the victim but also when you’re the bully.

[Lead image based on: Eva Rinaldi]

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Liron Samuels

Liron Samuels

Liron Samuels is a wildlife and commercial photographer based in Israel. When he isn’t waking up at 4am to take photos of nature, he stays awake until 4am taking photos of the night skies or time lapses. You can see more of his work on his website or follow him on Facebook.

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20 responses to “Major Irish Newspaper Didn’t Photograph Taylor Swift’s Dublin Concert Due to “Exceedingly Restrictive” Contract”

  1. Will Bartels Avatar
    Will Bartels

    And I’m sure the concert just wasn’t the same.

  2. Ryan Poorman Avatar
    Ryan Poorman

    Who cares.

    1. henry Avatar
      henry

      Until it happens to you, undoubtedly

  3. Shannon Sullivan Avatar
    Shannon Sullivan

    every house of blues venue gives photographers almost the same kind of contract. soooo what

    1. Sean Conroy Avatar
      Sean Conroy

      What? No they don’t. While a lot of established/image conscious stars’ management hand out ones like this, they are definitely in the minority in doing so.

    2. henry Avatar
      henry

      Argumentum ad populum. Everybody else doing it doesn’t make it right, it makes it more wrong.

      “soooo what” Until it happens to you.

  4.  Avatar
    Anonymous

    No publicity in Ireland? There goes her career. I’m sure she’s devastated.

    1. David Sorcher Avatar
      David Sorcher

      It’s got to start somewhere…the Irish also legalized gay marriage before we did. ;-)

  5. Bob Singleton Avatar
    Bob Singleton

    The
    biggest problem is Getty. To use Taylor Swift as an example, as she’s
    the one everyone is talking about, she/her management have an agreement
    with Getty. What exactly that agreement consists of only the two
    relevant parties know, but we can all hazard a guess. Getty
    photographers are not required to sign the rights-grabbing contract that
    has been discussed by Jason Sheldon and others. They have a different
    contract, with Getty, which, in return for £n they assign all rights to
    those images to Getty. When a publication needs photos of Miss Swift (as
    most of the world’s media did last week) they go to Getty. Why? Because
    Getty don’t have to ask her management for permission to licence the
    images. Had I signed her contract and then a publication other than the
    one I was shooting for wanted to use my images I would need to ask her
    management permission first… and I’m damned sure I would receive no
    reply! Even the publication I was shooting for couldn’t re-use the
    images without permission, and they too would be forced to use Getty
    images. So, her “contract” is designed to protect the agreement she has
    with Getty, which in effect stops the rest of us from earning a living.

    Taylor
    Swift was hypocritical in complaining about Apple when she does similar
    things to other artists (ie music photographers), but the real villain
    is Getty.

    1. Robert Dawson Avatar
      Robert Dawson

      that’s because her brother Austin shoots for getty

    2. Crappy Khan Avatar
      Crappy Khan

      Yet she would cry a river if someone hacks her album on cloud. I guess the hackers will try to make it worth the effort by digging out the nudes as she wasn’t giving away even the clothed ones for free.

  6. Duncan Everson Avatar
    Duncan Everson

    Concert photographers trying to make a living care Ryan.

  7. Bryan Sather Avatar
    Bryan Sather

    And let me guess she mad because no one is paying attention to her.

  8. MC Avatar
    MC

    BAM! Karma- Dog bites man, man bites dog!! hahaha

  9. Mad Suburban Dad Avatar
    Mad Suburban Dad

    Newspaper concert photos are pretty irrelevant in the era of the camera phone. Swift and other performers are completely fine with fan-produced images and video snippets, and/or they staff the shows with their own videographers/photographers who produce content for social media and the performer’s own website. This isn’t 1990. The Times isn’t operating from a position of strength here.

  10. Andrew Brown Avatar
    Andrew Brown

    People need to udnerstand the double standards in operation here. Photographers like singers are artists. You can not coplain about signers revenue being imfringed by a giant bullying corporation and then imose the very same contract on the photographers who HAVE to spend a fortune buying kit to earn their living,,, Taylor Swift has set herself up for this fall. She put her head above the parapet. Now live with it! And for those who say “it’s only Ireland” – the Arab Spring was started by a single protester about the treatment to a small time nobody.

  11. Dmitry Dulepov Avatar
    Dmitry Dulepov

    Who is Swift Taylor?

  12. Adam La Rusic Avatar
    Adam La Rusic

    I’m not a photographer, but if artists, as the Swift’s UK spokesperson said, “have a right to the use of their likeness” then why do paparazzi exist? And what are my legal remedies considering that, just by walking around, I’m probably filmed about 500 times a day. Nobody asked my permission.

  13. 孟恬 Avatar
    孟恬

    She reminds me of Lars Ulrich xD

  14. Joe Avatar
    Joe

    She is in control of her career and I applaud her. She works hard. She has every right to control the use and monetization of her image.