An apartment complex near Orlando, Florida, is receiving a torrent of bad publicity after one of its tenant contracts was published online. The document forces tenants to agree to a $10,000 fine if they post a bad review of the complex online, and it claims copyright to all photographs taken by tenants in the complex.
If you had any doubts regarding how much of a part of our culture Instagram has become, just take a peek at the public outcry that erupted after Instagram announced changes to its policies yesterday. The controversial edits were reported in media outlets around the world, and legions of die-hard Instagram fans took to social media channels to protest them.
People mainly focused on a section of the document that appears to give Instagram sweeping permissions to sell photos without consent or compensation to third-parties for advertising purposes.
Early in 2011, there was a brouhaha after newspaper photographer Jay Westcott complained about Lady Gaga’s photo release form given to photographers attending her concerts. PDN characterized the story as a “fame monster gobbling up photographers’ copyrights“. What you see above is a copy of the actual release form given at concerts. Apparently contracts like this one are pretty standard these days.
Renowned rock photographer Baron Wolman, the first photo editor at Rolling Stone magazine, is speaking out against the worrying trend of copyright grabs by music artists. He recently spoke to makingimages.com.au, saying:
I think it’s horrible – here’s how I feel about that. They own their likeness, they are the creative force – if they were not musicians, we would not have been taking pictures, right? So they’re the source of the creativity, but on the other hand, we are the source of the visual creativity recording them. So I think that that copyright should remain with the photographer, but with limitations upon how the pictures can be used.
[…] But to just say “they own everything”, I mean, why even do it?
Wolman’s comments are directed towards bands like the Foo Fighters, which reportedly has one of the severest photo waivers in the industry.
Iconic Rock Photographer Hits Out At Foo Fighters [makingimages.com.au]
Image credit: Photograph by Scribblerman
Last year Scott Bourne caused some commotion among photo-enthusiasts by claiming that Twitter’s ToS forced photographers to give up rights to photos shared through the service. After Google launched their new Google+ social network, Bourne again wrote a very similar post warning his readers about the ToS. We weren’t planning on weighing in, but seeing that the FUD has spread to our comments and even The Washington Post, we’d like to clear some of it away for our readers.
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.
Last week Scott Bourne published an article on Photofocus titled, “Photos On Twitter – What You Should Know“. In it, he claimed that Twitter’s terms of service (TOS) forced photographers to give Twitter a license to do whatever they wanted with photos shared through the service. The argument centered around a couple paragraphs found in the document:
By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through the Services, you grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such Content in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed).
This was used to argue that Twitter owns a license to photos shared through the service. Read more…