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Bad Press Ban Results in Bad Press and Two Hour Standoff

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What was supposed to be a routine press preview of the Turner Prize exhibition in London turned a two-hour standoff between photographers and Tate Britain gallery contract-wavers.

Press photographers refused to sign a problematic form at the door that required them to guarantee their images would not “result in any adverse publicity” for the host gallery and reportedly signed away permission sans-royalties for gallery publicity.

Instead of securing a monopoly over the favorable images produced at the event, the gallery succeeded in the opposite, mucking up press relations in a very public way.

Photographers boycotted the contract, which the gallery only required press photographers and videographers to sign upon entering — writers could enter as they pleased. The dispute ended when Turner organizers stepped in and allowed the photographers to enter without signing the contract.

Reuters was particularly outspoken against the licensing issue, The Guardian reports. A dialogue between spokespersons ensued. Reuters said:

Reuters is currently in negotiations with Tate over the terms and conditions for future exhibitions, as these are a compromise to our editorial integrity in their current form. Reuters looks forward to further negotiations with Tate on this matter and we will continue our efforts to achieve a satisfactory resolution.

Later, a Tate spokesperson issued a statement:

Tate [galleries] have a standard filming and photography indemnity form which we have been using for at least ten years.

Such forms are widely used by arts organisations. Journalists are not required to sign this form, only film crews and photographers.

Following discussions with picture desks, we are currently reviewing some of the terms of the form.

It might be a good move to review the terms of their PR statements as well —  photojournalists may feel miffed by the gallery’s non-inclusion of them as journalists.

(via The Guardian)

Image credit: Tate Britain, Pimlico, SW1 by Ewan-M

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