PDN Pulse and a couple of other blogs/outlets have written on this topic recently, and here’s the gist of it:
Lady Gaga is demanding that some photographers transfer all their copyrights to images they make of her as a condition for photographing her concerts, according to TBD, a local news site serving the Washington, DC area.
In its report about the incident, TBD surveyed other photographers, editors, and trade groups (including ASMP) about such copyright transfer demands. The upshot of the story is that for some time now, a few rock megastars–but certainly not all–have demanded copyright transfers from concert photographers because, well, they can.
There’s something about this attitude that has always bothered me. Those of you who photograph know that it’s a skill that needs to be developed, and certainly not at all like “just pushing a button.” I guess one person “who works with Gaga” said that he doesn’t get why photographer’s should own the work. Hmmm… I don’t know, because they’re the one who created it? You can argue that yes, they put on the show, but then, should the lighting company own the work? What about the electric company? The people who own the property? Lady Gaga’s PR team?
The law has a pretty good answer for that one, whoever created the work owns the copyright. And for good reason: if it were so easy to create a good photograph, then they wouldn’t need to grab the rights from all the concert photos. The attitude that the media is nothing really bothers me, because the media creates everything. Gaga was created by the media and can be torn down by the media. Same goes for any artist or celebrity. Treat people with respect! I’m sure the people photographing just wanted to do their jobs, and without having the right to their own photos, they would be photographing for no reason, unable to use the photos for their overhead publication, for nothing. Ugh.