Band-Aids don’t fix bullet holes, and it looks like Taylor Swift has opened a wound. The Grammy winner, 25, who recently triumphed over Apple Music’s three-month free trial period, is now in the hot seat herself. Swift, the champion for up-and-coming artists, has been accused of limiting another art form: photography.
Photographer Jason Sheldon penned an open letter to Swift about her own policies regarding image rights. In the note, Sheldon begins by praising Swift’s recent coup over the new music streaming service.
“It’s great to have someone with a huge following standing up for the rights of creative people and making a stand against the corporate behemoths who have so much power they can make or break someone’s career,” Sheldon wrote.
He went on to highlight that photographers wouldn’t have such a positive response when standing up for themselves.
“There are hundreds of professional concert photographers who don’t enjoy that security — they don’t have the voice you do, and they don’t have the public favor that you have when it comes to demanding fair rights for their work, and they have a much higher risk of being prevented from working in future, not just at your shows, but any show which is connected by the same promoter, venue, PR, or management company,” Sheldon continued.
Sheldon then shared a document he claims he was asked to sign in order to cover one of Swift’s concerts.
“You say in your letter to Apple that ‘Three months is a long time to go unpaid.’ But you seem happy to restrict us to being paid once, and never being able to earn for our work ever again, while granting you the rights to exploit our work for your benefit for all eternity,” Sheldon adds. “How are you any different to Apple?"
He concluded by writing, “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’.”
Swift has yet to publicly respond to Sheldon’s letter, but BBC noted that her reps have already disputed the letter.
"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's approval,” a spokesperson for Swift said in a statement. To clarify, Sheldon's rights contract was in regard to a previous concert tour, not the current 1989 World Tour.
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