A couple of weeks ago, I was talking to a fellow photographer in town. He had just asked for a photo pass for a band (not a very big one) and received this email:
Photo policy is first three songs, no flash and set time is 9:30pm. After picking up your ticket and photo pass from the box office please walk to Gate 2, where a venue staffer will escort you to and from the photo pit. If you have any issues at the venue please give me a call at …..
Please review and sign the attached photo release and send it back to me before the show, please note we cannot release your credentials until I have received this from you.
The release had the usual clauses that we have seen many times:
This release expressly precludes any use of Photographs in any outlet other than the Publication without written consent from BAND NAME HERE. I will provide copies of all Photographs immediately upon request. This release grants BAND NAME HERE and its designees irrevocable and unrestricted right to use and publish the Photographs without restriction and without my inspection or approval.
So he wrote the publicist back, about as eloquently as I have ever seen- better than anything I could write:
Thanks for getting back to me. If this is a non-negotiable agreement, then I respectfully decline.
Contracts that limit what I can do with my work are generally intolerable, but contracts that require me to provide images without any compensation are simply insulting. There would be no request for “unrestricted right[s] to use and publish” if my work had no value. Yet, demanding these rights without any exchange or reward is essentially calling my photography worthless.
I have great respect for the musicians I photograph–artists of all stripes face many challenges and must overcome significant obstacles to achieve success and fame. My photography is not a commodity, but an expression of my own artistic vision and many years of experience–I expect the same respect in return.
Lo and behold- the next day the publicist wrote back and told him to scratch out anything he didn’t like in the contract!!
I am sure he wouldn’t mind if you used his wording next time you come across the same issue. Probably won’t work but at least it will be a good try!!