Record Label Insults Photographer After Stealing Her Photos

Photographers commonly deal with photos being used without permission these days, but oftentimes infringements can be resolved in a friendly and agreeable way. Concert photographer Adrienne Row-Smith recently experienced the opposite: after asking nicely that her misused photos be taken down, Row-Smith received some angry words for a music label.

The incident began after Row-Smith covered a show while on assignment for Monkey Goose Magazine and photographed all the bands for the publication’s articles. After the review was published, she soon found that photos from the article had been downloaded, re-edited, cropped to remove the watermark, and shared by one of the performing bands and its record label online.

“I had reached out to the band first, asking them to politely remove it since they had violated my copyright by editing them,” Row-Smith tells PetaPixel. “Whomever I was talking to was more than happy to remove the photos (which did not actually happen), and then proceeded to ask me how much I charge to get high-resolution copies for social media that they could use. I told them how much (which is where the 50$ per photo comes from), and then I never heard anything back – which is something I deal with a lot.

“However, I went and checked and they still had not taken down the photos, so I asked them again (this is where I should have just taken them down myself) but in good faith, I reached out again.”

That’s when the record label responded and this exchange went down:

“I would prefer to record label and band not be named, I had not intended for them to be shamed in any capacity,” Row-Smith says. “I just wanted to share what I had experienced as a photographer in the music industry and that it is not just one person, but a trend.”

“I think that just as a whole, if you’re going to be in the [photography] industry as a photographer or as a consumer, you should know the rights and the rights you might infringe upon,” Row-Smith tells PetaPixel. “You should always reach out to the individual and ask them what they are okay with in regards to sharing their content.

“Furthermore, if you plan on using it to promote sales or commercial in any form, then you better be offering to pay for the time and effort and not expect it to come free.”