Motley Crüe Licensing Agreement Won’t Even Let Concert Photographers License Their Own Images


A couple of days ago, we received an email from a concerned concert photographer who had apparently earned the right to photograph an upcoming Motely Crüe concert.

The photographer, who preferred not to identify him or herself, shared with us what they claimed to be the Red White & Crüe Inc. photography licensing agreement, bringing our attention to wording that seems to indicate photographers can’t even license their own images without the company’s express consent.

The troubling paragraphs are Clauses 1a and b. In 1a, Red White & Crüe Inc. is given non-exclusive rights to “exploit Materials in all manner and media now known or hereafter devised, including, without limitation, the use (for commercial or promotional purposes), in phonograph record albums, merchandise, motion pictures, television, via Internet/multimedia and website, via mobile telephones, videocassettes/DVDs, all audio-visual rights, publishing rights (in all forms) and publication rights for publicity or advertising purposes.”

Then, the agreement goes on in 1b to state:

Licensor agrees that it shall not license any of the Materials (or shall not exploit any of the Materials) without the written consent of the Licensee which shall be withheld in Licensee’s sole discretion.


As our tipster put it, “Under these terms, I would not be able to license my images, and am signing away the right for Red, White & Crüe, Inc. to exploit my images without limitation for commercial or any purpose at all.”

“Basically,” the concerned photog adds, “this guarantees that I won’t be able to turn a profit for my work.”

The photographer who wrote us didn’t reveal his or her identity because they were breaking the terms of the licensing agreement by sharing it, but they felt this needed to be shared given the extreme terms within. “I have been shooting live concerts for a long time,” they said, “and I have never seen anything like this before.”

Let us know what you think of the terms in the comments down below, and if you’ve had similar experiences (or seen similar terms) from other major acts.

Image credits: Photograph by Adrian Perez

  • Kallai Iosif Gavril

    It is my wedding not the photographers. I can do with my photos what ever I want. You just take the job take the money and bye. What rights? You are not an artist (wedding photographs). You are not creating anything. Just recording an event.

    I should allow you or not to use the photos you taked from MY wedding. Not the other way around.
    The world we are living is really crazy.

    In the furure the bands will have to obtain permision from the photographers to use the images from the show they made?

  • Nathaniel Chang

    It seems you have a limited grasp on how photography works when a client is paying for a service, why not just get your cousin to do it for £50 if that’s how you feel about the banality of recording the event.

  • Kallai Iosif Gavril

    They are payed pretty well that doesn’t mean I can’t use the photos of my own wedding whenever I want and how I want. It is a free market you pay what the market demands. But is stupid that the photos and all the rights are not yours.

    When I buy a picture ( real picture, real art) it is myne. The artist who painted have no rights on it. I can do whatever I want with it. Why would photos be different which is much more easier than a real picture ( you know painted).

    The photograph take the picture, I pay ( be it 50$ or 1.000.000$) the pictures are mine. I paid for them. i do whatever I want with them.

    Another analogy.
    If somebody builds a house or whatever. I buy the house. It is mine. I don’t owe to the constructor anything.

  • Anne Naunymes

    Totally incorrect, when you buy a picture (what you call real picture, real art) you certainly can’t start to reproduce it etc…

    Same thing for the house, in most case you can’t build a similar one without paying the architect another license.

    The world we are living is really crazy

  • storm181

    Maybe you should just stick with Uncle Fred to do your wedding. I know a lot of photographers and we are creating art all the time, every time that shutter fires, our vision is recorded. Its the uncle freds who just snap away and hope for a good one. It is way more than just recording an event. You have no idea what your are talking about.

  • Laurent Egli

    Here in switzerland I’ve heard of cases where all photographers showed up and layer their equipment on the stage ground without taking a single shot in sign of protest.

  • RCorrino

    Take the job. Record the concert and sell the bootleg recording. When they sue tell them if they claim ownesrship of your photos, you claim ownership of their music.

  • Daniel Lames Grant

    Perhaps that’d be true for someone starting out at the very bottom, unpaid and with no experience, but for anyone who already has a folio of images and who regularly photographs performances every week, there’s simply no need to sign an agreement giving away your copyright. You simply turn down the job and move onto the next one. No big deal.

    I’ve seen these agreements before when photographing at festivals full of big names, and any decent publication I’ve worked for has been fine with not having one or two bands on a lineup photographed because you opted not to sign. Same goes for a big band coming into town with an agreement like this, your publication just opts to review some other gig that week so that they can print images without having to worry about some band suing them.

  • Kallai Iosif Gavril

    I certainly can sell the picture. i certainly can sell the house. I don’t have to make another or build another house.

    This is just crazy when wedding photographers comparing themselfs with pictors.

  • Kallai Iosif Gavril

    MAking the wedding it is a much harder job than shooting a wedding. So why not the photographers pay a percent from what they make to the organizers? Because they made it.
    This is ridiculous. just because there are really good wedding photographers that not means this is art.
    Like a really good plummer is not an artist.

  • Ed van Wageningen

    You are seriously not completely right in the head, AND you for sure don’t have any idea what you are talking about.
    Maybe you should read some more about copyright laws.

  • woofa

    Ah I love it when one “artist” (in this case calling MC artists is, well, hilarious) who should understand the hurdles an artist has thinks they should get to screw the other.

  • miss_msry

    Amateur. This is nothing new. Major league sports has the same wording. You get a photo pass, you play by their rules.

  • miss_msry

    Babies, who does that hurt, not the music groups.

  • miss_msry

    Usually, you can use the images for the publication you are working for (fair use clause) but that is all that can be used. You got punked by that PUBLISHER if they told you you could use other images from the shoot for your own purposes.


    Perfectly said.

  • Steve

    It’s a very common practice… Way too many photographers willing to give away the money to get the gig….

    Now, if the client wants the rights, then they should pay the photographer for his time… It’s been that way in the commercial world and photographers in other mediums need to realize that this is a skilled job and they need to be paid…

    If the photographer chooses to work for free that is their right as stupid as it is, but they won’t be in business long..

  • Laurent Egli

    Probably not, but the groups pay the managers bills, when they are not seen in the press it has an impact. I’m talking about festivals where groups take turns on stage. Of course no one is going to spend time going to a concert to not shoot.

  • Rich Frollini

    Send them the original RAW files and let the band edit them if they want to use them.