Taylor Swift’s camp has responded to a photographer who accused the singer of being a hypocriteafter she successfully pushed Apple to reverseits decision not to pay musicians any royaltiesfor its three-month free trial of Apple Music.
On Tuesday, freelance photographer Jason Sheldon published an open letter on his blog in which he argued that Swift’s image-licensing policy means that photographers might not get paid for their work.
Sheldon implies that this policy makes Swift a hypocrite because it exploits photographers in the same way that she accused Apple of exploiting music artists — by not paying them during a free trial period on the company’s new streaming service — in her own open letter.
Sheldon writes: “You say in your letter that three months is a long time to go unpaid. But you seem happy to restrict us to being paid once, and never being able to earn from our work ever again, while granting you the rights to exploit our work for your benefit for all eternity. How are you any different to Apple?”
Sheldon points to a “contract authorisation form,” which photographers are expected to sign in order to take pictures of Swift on behalf of a publication. According to Sheldon, any photograph that he takes of Swift can be licensed only once to a single publication, and so he would be unable to sell that photograph again if the publication decided to drop the story for something more pressing. Swift’s label, Firefly Entertainment, would also retain the rights to the photograph.
However, a UK representative for Taylor Swift told Business Insider via email that the standard photography agreement Sheldon refers to has been “misrepresented.”
The contract “clearly states that any photographer shooting The 1989 World Tour has the opportunity for further use of said photographs with management’s approval.”
The spokesperson added: “Another distinct misrepresentation is the claim that the copyright of the photographs will be with anyone other than the photographer — this agreement does not transfer copyright away from the photographer. Every artist has the right to and should protect the use of their name and likeness.”
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