Ariana Grande Demands All Photographers At Her Concerts Transfer Copyright To Her, NPPA Revolts

from the work-for-higher dept

We’ve seen plenty of ridiculous demands from performing artists over the years as to what photographers can and cannot do while attending their performances. This sort of thing typically amounts to a desire for some kind of control over which images get released and which don’t. That kind of attempt at control is silly, of course, and runs counter to the journalistic principles that many of these photographers employ.

But if you want to see the really batshit crazy extreme of all this, we need apparently only look to the rules that Ariana Grande’s tour puts on photographers.

The “Standard Terms and Conditions for Photographers/Live Appearances” for the Sweetener World Tour‎ require that “all rights (including all copyrights) in and to the Photographs shall be owned by GrandAriTour, Inc. (‘Company’) as a “work-made-for-hire.’” The agreement provides for “the limited right to capture solely still photographs of Artist solely during the first three (3) songs performed by Artist at the Performance” and that “any such photography shall only occur from a designated spot at the front of house (not in the ‘pit’).” In addition, the photographers covering the concert and the news organizations for which they work, would only be allowed to use their own photographs if the specific images were “expressly approved in writing by Artist,” and even then, only “in a single instance, solely as part of a news item relating to the Performance in the news publication of which Photographer is an employee/agent,” which violates established journalistic ethics.

To say that all of this is onerous for photographers would be a laughable understatement. This isn’t how photographers work, particularly those who are working in any kind of journalistic enterprise. The very nature of journalism requires the circumvention of this type of editorial control and nothing in copyright law remotely allows an artist making a public performance to put these kinds of restrictions on photographers.

Now, I already know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that this agreement is only for photographers that are working for the tour, in which case they would be agreeing to these restrictions knowingly, so what’s the big deal? Well, the National Press Photographers Association, which has issued an open letter to the Grande tour, and which is advising its members not to go anywhere near this agreement, explains that Grande’s tour is actually trying to turn the clicking of a shutterbox into a signature to the agreement.

NPPA Deputy General Counsel Alicia Calzada also noted that in addition to the ethical and practical problems with the agreement, the bold underlined writing at the end of the agreement stating that “Any Photography of Artist by Photographer Shall be Deemed Acceptance by Photographer of the Terms Hereof, and Company and Artist Shall Proceed in Reliance on Such Acceptance,” is inappropriate and not legally binding. “You can’t transfer copyright that way,” she said while also taking issue with the fact that “photographers are not legal agents of a news organization and generally do not have the authority to sign away the copyrights of their employers.”

That probably renders the entire agreement unenforceable and, therefore, pretty fucking useless. Which only raises more questions, such as: what the hell is the point of creating such an burdensome agreement to begin with? And: what crack legal staff actually signed off on this thing?

It’s probably worth pointing out that having all of this come from an artist like Grande, who herself enjoys all kinds of copyright protections and whose business is enabled entirely by the First Amendment, is additionally problematic. Apparently, copyright is just fine for Grande, as is artistic expression, but for everyone else it’s fairly non-existent.

Filed Under: , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Ariana Grande Demands All Photographers At Her Concerts Transfer Copyright To Her, NPPA Revolts”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
37 Comments
Lego Lass, elven warrioress built like a brick says:

Ariana Grande Corp has complete Right to control her corpus.

"Corpus" here means both Body of the physical "natural" person which said Corporations own in Entirety and also figurative "body of work" including all image of said Body and semblances thereof.

Corporations in total control with Right superior to yours is just plain ol’ Masnickism. I don’t see how you can object to this specific logical application. — Unless you still just don’t believe that Masnick means what he says when asserting that (under Section 230 in US referenced in just prior piece), corporations have total absolute and arbitrary control over even your own 1A "right". If a corporation doesn’t want you talking dirty on teh internets, then that’s too bad for you.

””””””””””””””””””””’ substitute horiz rule ””””””””””””””””””””’ hey apostrophes work okay!

By the way, practical purpose is to reduce the titillating "upskirt" and other angles on said Corporation’s Body by which the parasitic papparazzi gain a griftage feeding the insatiable appetite of gawkers. There’s no good here to defend, nor any actual likely effect, so who cares?

Let’s see… Larded with slanty adjectives, check; links to Masnickism and his corporatism, check; important practical point for substance, check. — Guess that’s enough. Enjoy.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Trolls.

I have to admit, it impresses me just how fast the trolls have their screeds ready for these things. Of course, given how this seems to have not had a single brain cell’s worth of thought put into it, as usual, it definitely could be worth considering the hypothesis that it’s all Markov chains or something.

Gary (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I’m not sure, but I think he invented a new right under Cabbage law that takes copyright from the creator (photographers) and gives it to the subject. It must be fun to invent new "rights" like that!

Per Blue Balls – The Corporation of Ariana Grande has more rights that the natural persons making photographs. That… that just cracks me up. Blue is pro-corporation, and pro-censorship, and against creator rights all in one post.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Ariana Grande Corp has complete Right to control her corpus.

None of what you said is even remotely true.

For instance, as a personal individual, I can, without getting prior permission, go to a concert, take as many pictures as I want, and subsequently upload them to my blog/facebook/instagram/whatever and there is not a thing any artists can legally do about it to stop me.

That’s as an individual. A journalistic photographer is even more within his rights to do so, as copyright infringement rarely, if ever, applies to news reporting.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

"Has anyone asked her about it?"

She’s signed to Republic Records – an affiliate of UMG which notably has the same sort of "indentured serfdom" contracts Sony does.

It’s pretty much a standard clause that the label owns the public image of the artist – which may or may not include how they dress in public and to which extent they may publicly be known to have a boyfriend or significant other.

There’s a significant chance Ariana may be in violation of the contract if she opposes her label’s actions.

Anonymous Coward says:

…nothing in copyright law remotely allows an artist making a public performance to put these kinds of restrictions on photographers.

Is it still a "public" performance if the venue has guards at the doors who won’t let anyone in who hasn’t bought a ticket, the company running the show has full control over who can and cannot be there and there is no visual or auditory access to the event from outside the building? This sounds like a private performance to me but IANAL.

Anonymous Coward says:

Surely this sort of behavior is self-correcting. This is the anti-Streisand particle required by quantum sociology. Let’s say the Grande Dame’s PR head shill Joe Shmoe goes to Rolling Stone with the official report of the Grande dame concert. RS replies, "thanks, we have our own reporters and photographers, and we’ll be relying on their work."

"But you didn’t have any pictures, or even mentions, of the GD’s concert in Topeka."

"Topeka? Oh, yes, I remember there was some problem with access. Never mind, I’m sure we didn’t miss anything worth reporting. We’ll send someone to the concert in Hutchinson … if it doesn’t get cancelled for lack of interest … if we have anyone in that part of the state … which we probably don’t … and for good reason …. Was there anything else today? We’re very busy with performers who WANT publicity."

Anonymous Coward says:

They just need to send a counter agreement

The National Press Photographers Association just needs to send them a document outlining how they have full run of the concert, maintain all rights, ect., and close it with:

“Any Admittance of Photographer to Concert of Artist Shall be Deemed Acceptance by Artist of the Terms Hereof, and … ”

Anonymous Coward says:

Troll Extermination

A modest proposal, based on troll neurology[*]: Trolls want attention, and they want to incite hatred in response. The site is already allowing trollposts to be hidden (by downvoting). But too many people are still responding (in kind).[**]

Would it be possible, when a post is downvoted into hiding, to also hide all the responses to it? That way, people who like sharpening their wits on fresh excrement can strike back; and people who are looking for the substantive discussions that are so hard to find online can skip all that.


  • One can’t say they rise to the level of psychological functionality.

** It may be satisfying to call a viscious moron "you viscious moron" but it is not constructive. It does not inform the moron; it does not get him back on his prescribed meds; it does not inform other readers (who can easily judge for themselves how far along the path from bacteria to yeast he has evolved intellectually). And, most important, it lowers the tone of discourse in the room. Granted, it is somehow satisfying to let the moron know you caught him lying. But he doesn’t care about that. He’s not trying to convince you. He’s trying to make you mad.

madasahatter (profile) says:

Definition of 'For Hire'

To own the copyright, one either has to hire the creator as an employee or contractor which means there is a legal contract between the parties or buys the rights from the creator. The term ‘For Hire’ means the either the venue, promoter, or Arianna has a formal contract paying the photographer real money. Otherwise, no contract and no money means the photographer retains all rights to the photos.

cpt kangarooski says:

Re: Definition of 'For Hire'

Yes, this doesn’t appear to be a work made for hire no matter what the agreement. However do know that it is possible to have a work made for hire without an employment scenario provided that the work falls within the second definition of works made for hire at 17 USC 101. It’s unlikely here, but I can see how it could be done.

They’d be better off with an assignment, but there are formal requirements for that which aren’t being met.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...