Foo Fighters

Whenever a photo controversy comes up, you can be sure that the Foo Fighters are involved! Seems kind of funny that a band that talks so much about coming from punk roots would have such disdain for artists trying to ear a living.

The Washington City Paper says it won’t be sending a photographer to this weekend’s Foo Fighter concert due to the fact that the band’s contract “sucks.” Instead, the paper hopes to buy photos directly from fans who attend the show.

In an article explaining its decision, the newspaper shared a copy of the contract that was provided by the Foo Fighters: “If we signed it, we would have agreed to: the band approving the photos which run in the City Paper; only running the photos once and with only one article; and all copyrights would transfer to the band,” writes the City Paper.

“Then, here’s the fun part, the band would have ‘the right to exploit all or a part of the Photos in any and all media, now known or hereafter devised, throughout the universe, in perpetuity, in all configurations’ without any approval or payment or consideration for the photographer.”

“That is exploitation of photographers, pure and simple.”

Their contract states:

PHOTO RELEASE

I _______________________ (name of photographer) hereby agree to the following in favor of Foo Fighters (“you”) with respect to the photographs to be taken by me of the members of

Foo Fighters  (either as a group or as individuals) on the date referenced below (the “Photos”): 1. I have the limited right and permission to use the Photos, subject to your approval of the Photos, solely in connection with one (1) article about Foo Fighters  contained in ___________________  _____________________ [name and description of article, publication or other medium]. The Photos may be used only in an article, publication or other medium initially disseminated to the public within one year of the date of this agreement. I shall have no right to use or re-use the Photos in whole or in part, in any medium or for any purpose whatsoever, including, without limitation, promotion, advertising, and trade, without your written consent therefor.

2. I hereby acknowledge that you shall own all rights in the Photos, including the copyrights therein and thereto, and accordingly, I hereby grant, transfer, convey and assign to you all right, title and interest throughout the universe in perpetuity, including, without limitation, the copyright (and all renewals and extensions thereof), in and to the Photos. I agree that you shall have the right to exploit all or a part of the Photos in any and all media, now known or hereafter devised, throughout the universe, in perpetuity, in all configurations as you determine, without obtaining my consent and without any payment or consideration therefor. I understand that you will give me appropriate “photo credit” where possible. I understand further that all aspects of said “photo credit” shall be determined by you in your sole discretion and that failure to accord said “photo credit” shall not be deemed a breach of any obligation, express or implied. I will, upon request, execute, acknowledge and deliver to you such additional documents as you may deem necessary to evidence and effectuate your rights hereunder, and I hereby grant to you the right as attorney-in-fact to execute, acknowledge, deliver and record in the U.S. Copyright Office or elsewhere any and all such documents if I shall fail to execute same within five (5) days after so requested by you

You may assign your rights under this agreement in whole or in part.

4. I hereby waive all rights of droit moral or “moral right of authors” or any similar rights or principles of law which I may now have or later have in the Photos. I warrant and represent that I have the right to execute this Release and that the Photos are and shall be new and original with me. I shall indemnify and hold you, and your employees, officers, agents, assignees and licensees, harmless from and against any losses, costs, liabilities, claims, damages or expenses arising out of any claim by a third party which is inconsistent with any warranty or representation made by me in this Release.

5. This Release contains the entire understanding of the parties and will be governed by the laws of California applicable to contracts entered into in California

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have signed this Release effective as of this ______ day

of  _____________________, 20____.

By:  ___________________________________________ Photographer

The newspaper contacted the Foo Fighters’ management, but the response was typical: these contracts are “standard” and are necessary to “protect the band,” they claimed. City Paper points out that the Rolling Stones, though one of the biggest names in music, don’t make the same demands in their contracts.

Instead of signing the contract and sending a photographer to the Foo Fighters show, City Paper is asking fans who attend the show to send in photos if they’d like to see it published.

“We’ll pay you for it,” the paper says. “And we won’t ask you to sign over the copyright or your first born, either.”

After photographer Jason Sheldon wrote a viral open letter to speak out against Taylor Swift’s concert photo contract,

The Irish Times said:  Taylor Swift played the first of two sold-out shows in Dublin last night, but you won’t find a photograph of her onstage at the 3Arena in The Irish Times today.  The singer has insisted all photographers covering her live shows sign contracts which outline restrictions on what they can and cannot do with pictures of the pop star onstage. The use of such contracts has become increasingly common in the live music business in recent years.  However, Swift’s photograph authorisation contract includes a number of onerous restrictions, including a “one-time-only” use limit on publishing the photograph which elapses at the end of 2015. Any other use requires “written consent” from the artist or her agent, while Swift reserves the “perpetual, worldwide” right to use the photographs for publicity and promotion.  Talking about the decision not to use photographs of the singer, The Irish Times deputy picture editor Brenda Fitzsimons said: “The terms and conditions of the contract are exceedingly restrictive and just not feasible for a working newspaper and website.   “The photographs may be used on a one-time only basis and by signing her contract we grant Swift perpetual, worldwide right to use the published photographs in any way she sees fit.”

I was always under the impression that a contract was only legal if both parties signed the contract in each others presence, and in good faith. Leaving a contract at the box office does not work for me, as I would like the ability to negotiate the terms of the contract with a representative of the band. If not I will hand the contract back and walk.

I was also always under the impression that a contract has to have a penalty clause included or it is not valid. What will happen to me if I don’t follow the rules of the contract? If I don’t know that answer, I will hand it back and walk.

I also don’t think it is in the best interest of a major star to sue a poor lowly photographer in public. It would not make them look good!

The Foo Fighters management says that these contracts are “Standard” and necessary to “protect the band.” Protect them from what? Publicity!!

A good picture can double the size of the article. A good picture can double the size of the advance article, even a year from the date the picture was taken. Many good pictures can make a greatest hits box set bigger and better!! (Oh, I forgot. They now own all the images taken of them on this tour, and can use them whenever they want!!

I hereby acknowledge that you shall own all rights in the Photos, including the copyrights therein and thereto, and accordingly, I hereby grant, transfer, convey and assign to you all right, title and interest throughout the universe in perpetuity, including, without limitation, the copyright (and all renewals and extensions thereof), in and to the Photos. I agree that you shall have the right to exploit all or a part of the Photos in any and all media, now known or hereafter devised, throughout the universe, in perpetuity, in all configurations as you determine, without obtaining my consent and without any payment or consideration therefor. I understand that you will give me appropriate “photo credit” where possible. I understand further that all aspects of said “photo credit” shall be determined by you in your sole discretion and that failure to accord said “photo credit” shall not be deemed a breach of any obligation, express or implied.

It is hard to imagine that their publicity company “Nasty Little Man” agrees with this, but maybe so. Many large publicity companies are just doing what the managers of the bands want. Kinda like the tail wagging the dog. Not many have the balls to tell the manager they are wrong.

The only good thing to come out of all this is that there are two newspapers in the world that will stand up to this craziness. But they didn’t go far enough. Foo Fighters still win if the paper buys fans photographs. They still get the publicity. Professional photographers lose!

I will always remember a review in a Toronto paper of a Wham- Pointer Sisters show. The entire review was about the Pointer Sisters (photos included). The final line of the review was: “Wham closed the show.”

When that happens more often, maybe there will be a chance!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3 Responses to Foo Fighters

  1. This photo contract business is insane, and fans of the Foo Fighters and the “Swifties” of this world should know how their heroes want to rip off a hard-working little person just trying to earn a meager living. How dare they!!

  2. Mark Guncheon says:

    Well put, Paul. Next, they’ll be insisting critics send their reviews to them for approval before publishing.

  3. andy says:

    Not sure about the newspapers *legally* using pictures taken by fans at the concert (and surprised they think they could use them). There will be conditions attached to entry to the event and they will prevent commercial use of any photos. They might not sue a fan posting pictures on a blog but they would probably go after a newspaper…..

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