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: ariana grande, copyright, nppa, photography


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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Lego Lass, elven warrioress built like a brick, 2 Apr 2019 @ 11:48am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Apr 2019 @ 11:54am

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 2 Apr 2019 @ 12:00pm

      …fucking what

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Gary (profile), 2 Apr 2019 @ 3:20pm

        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.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Bergman (profile), 5 Apr 2019 @ 12:15am

          Re: Re:

          While making it obvious (to all but himself) that he is a hypocrite of the highest order, since he claims to be arguing on behalf of the content creators!

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Apr 2019 @ 12:51pm

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

      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.

      I'll give you this: your post does have adjectives.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Apr 2019 @ 1:07pm

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Apr 2019 @ 1:35pm

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

      Have you ever tried applying your talent for writing entire paragraphs while saying absolutely nothing to other venues?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        James Burkhardt (profile), 2 Apr 2019 @ 2:31pm

        Re: Re: Ariana Grande Corp has complete Right to control her cor

        I think he might be Trump's speech writer. Those aimless, nothing rants? hes reading from a card.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Gary (profile), 2 Apr 2019 @ 2:32pm

      Re: Ariana Grande has Cabbage

      So Blue Balls is endorsing censorship again. Everyone should be censored except him.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    JonC (profile), 2 Apr 2019 @ 11:59am

    "And: what crack legal staff actually signed off on this thing?"

    The crack legal staff must have been smoking a funny brand of crack...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 3 Apr 2019 @ 5:23am

      Re:

      It might not have come from Grande herself but from a manager or other representative. She's such a sweet kid I can't imagine her deliberately setting out to do something like this.

      Has anyone asked her about it?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 3 Apr 2019 @ 12:05pm

        Re: Re:

        If it's not from her she needs to fire whoever's fault it is pronto, because this is making her look just all sorts of bad.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Gary (profile), 3 Apr 2019 @ 1:01pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          That leads to question whether she is in "big" enough to make the rules, or she is beholden to the record company. Most signed artists don't have control of their own music.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 4 Apr 2019 @ 5:30am

        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.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Apr 2019 @ 12:21pm

    ...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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Bamboo Harvester (profile), 2 Apr 2019 @ 12:44pm

      Re:

      It's semi-private, as anyone can buy a ticket.

      Invitation-Only events are Private Performances.

      Public can require tickets, but have a Public venue.

      If you want more than that, talk to an insurance agent who does Events - there's about thirty pages of legalese defining all the types.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Apr 2019 @ 12:22pm

    And: what crack legal staff actually signed off on this thing?

    Hey Tim, smoking is missing from the sentence.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Apr 2019 @ 12:42pm

    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."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Apr 2019 @ 1:05pm

    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 … ”

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Apr 2019 @ 1:16pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Apr 2019 @ 1:23pm

    "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."

    Believe it, it's true.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anon, 2 Apr 2019 @ 2:43pm

    ANd...

    What if the photographer is producing works for hire? He can sign anything he wants, if he doesn't own copyright to the pictures he takes in the first place, he can't sign the copyright away.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    madasahatter (profile), 2 Apr 2019 @ 3:25pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      cpt kangarooski, 2 Apr 2019 @ 6:42pm

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anon, 3 Apr 2019 @ 7:37am

        Re: Re: Definition of 'For Hire'

        No, my point was if the photographer is working for Rolling Stone Magazine or Teen Beat and producing "works for hire" for them, him signing any release to AG is totally meaningless because he has no copyright to give - his employer is the one who would have to sign.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Whoever, 2 Apr 2019 @ 3:29pm

    Work for hire is strctly defined

    IANAL, but according to my reading, the photos taken by photographers not employed by Grande do not fall under the definition of "work for hire", and on this basis the agreement is unenforcible.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 2 Apr 2019 @ 5:11pm

    All I gotta say...

    Ariana who?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Apr 2019 @ 5:35pm

    Live by the copyright, die by the copyright. I can't say I'm feeling particularly empathetic towards either side here.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Apr 2019 @ 8:26am

    Not the first time.

    Didn't Taylor Swift pull the same stunt a couple years ago?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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