PetaPixel

Brouhaha Over Lady Gaga “Rights Grab”

Television network TBD recently sent photographer Jay Westcott to cover a Lady Gaga concert in Washington D.C. Upon arriving at the Verizon Center, Westcott was given a release form, on which the fourth paragraph read,

Photographer hereby acknowledges and agrees that all right, title and interest (including copyright) in and to the Photograph(s) shall be owned by Lady Gaga and Photographer hereby transfers and assigns any such rights to Lady Gaga.

After making a call to his editor, Westcott was told to not sign the release and to not shoot the concert.

Afterwards, they discovered that the Washington Post photographer was given an entirely different release (presumably because it was for print as opposed to online) — one that didn’t limit the amount of time it could be used or demand any copyright.

PDNPulse characterized the story as Lady Gaga gobbling up photographers’ copyrights, while others are arguing that these types of contracts are pretty common for big-name acts.

Freelance photographer Kyle Gustafson writes,

Everyone has a camera at concerts these days. And it’s unfortunate that they are trying to crack down on the professional photographers. People that are given photo access have more restrictions than people sitting in the front row with their cameras and their flashes popping off. [#]

What are your thoughts on this case?

Dear photographers, Lady Gaga wants the copyright on your work (via PDNPulse)


Image credit: Lady Gaga by a_choudhuri


 
  • http://minusmanhattan.tumblr.com/ Minus Manhattan

    The photographer should own the rights unless something was pre-negotiated for the photographer to be compensated for their work by the artist they’re shooting.

  • http://twitter.com/saltesc Jared

    Sounds like her PR just wants to be able to easily use images if a photographer shoots some great live shots. That said, they should rephrase that third paragraph:

    “You have been bestowed the privilege of shooting the great and mighty m’lady Gaga. For payment of this once in a life time honor, we merely ask you surrender all images of your favourite pop star to us. Taking photos may seem pointless, but just being there is obviously something every professional photographer has dreamed of over the centuries.”

  • http://twitter.com/saltesc Jared

    Sounds like her PR just wants to be able to easily use images if a photographer shoots some great live shots. That said, they should rephrase that third paragraph:

    “You have been bestowed the privilege of shooting the great and mighty m’lady Gaga. For payment of this once in a life time honor, we merely ask you surrender all images of your favourite pop star to us. Taking photos may seem pointless, but just being there is obviously something every professional photographer has dreamed of over the centuries.”

  • Companywhy

    common or not with big acts…it’s not right. do they copyright journalist’s articles written about them? and what about the clothes they wear? do they have a copyright contract as well?

    granted, the label, manager, or publicist are more to blame than the artist, but either way it’s a pretentious move. it isn’t like bootlegging the music from the show? even then high profile stars shouldn’t even care….because, in all, it’s for them not against them.

  • Jury Duty

    That there are different types of releases is problematic and how would a photographer even know there is more than one type of release? In any case, this sounds like a fairly typical “David vs. Goliath”, take-it-or-leave-it situation with a powerful elite attempting to exert undue influence over the journalistic/artistic realm. The only way this might work is that the release included a price list, indicating how much the artist will pay for each image. Of course, the bigger the artist, the higher the price for images, although I’m doubting such a proposal is going to be viewed kindly by Ms. Gaga.

  • http://cropsensorphoto.wordpress.com/ Jeff

    That’s absurd if you ask me. Then again, the fact that people even care about Lady Gaga is absurd in my opinion.

  • Bwsmithcbc

    A page out of the book of Oprah.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1024085348 Dominick Delli Paoli

    GaGa is Ga-ross

  • Anonymous

    Photographers should strike back and not deal with the manufacturers that endorse her.

  • bri

    As an artist herself, I’m sure it’s not her directly that puts this clause in.. it’s her ‘people’

    how about photographers create a clause that says once we hear one of her songs, all rights and copyright is hereby transferred to the listener.

    cause thats the same thing this clause is saying. it’s BS

  • Anonymous

    My thoughts are that Jay Westcott was very lucky in that he didn’t have to go to a Lady Gaga concert.

  • Anonymous

    My thoughts are that Jay Westcott was very lucky in that he didn’t have to go to a Lady Gaga concert.

  • http://www.marcbrubaker.com Marc Brubaker

    This happened to me at a Stone Temple Pilots concert last fall. It sucks royally, and while releases aren’t uncommon, these rights-grabs are much less frequent. They argue things like “image control,” etc. It’s unfortunate, unethical, and to be frank, lame.

  • http://twitter.com/kssmitch Kristin Mitchell

    Did a bit of digging… I recalled articles about this in the UK. Coldplay, Robbie Williams and Jay-Z have all imposed similar contracts on photographers at concerts and festivals. However, I also read that the NUJ (National Union of Journalists) has an alternative freelance photographers contract which photographers are having some success using at concerts and festivals, and I presume this is to protect the photographers rights. But otherwise, good luck to Gaga and enforcing this on every kid in the front row with a compact camera or iphone, because if she scares off pro photogs, that’s the only type of picture she’ll be seeing coming out of her concerts.

  • Gma

    They’re just trying to ensure that no shots of her secret boy’s equiptment get out.

  • http://blog.volgyiattila.hu/2011/06/24/keha-fotokat-tarhal-budapesten-nem-adunk-fotot-fotozasert/#comments photographerEUbudapest

    Ke$ha just wants the photo usage not copyright but it is almost the same ridiculousness…

  • Anonymous

    I always struggle with whether I should go through the proper channels and get a photo pass, or just buy a ticket and bring my camera.  With a photo pass you (usually) get a good vantage point and don’t have to deal with crowds and lines etc, but you have to deal with time and shooting restrictions like this.  Of course if I just bring my camera there’s a chance I will get turned away or they might try to confiscate my camera.

    It’s just a shame that it’s photography/videography that made these people famous, and as soon as they are, they turn their backs on us.

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  • Linda Matlow, pixintl.com

    This was happening in the early 1980s when I was shooting concerts..Van Halen,The Police,Julian Lennon…the list goes on.Luckily not all artists had this policy and loved giving photographers access.