Taylor Swift played two more sold-out shows from her 1989 concert in Dublin on Monday night, but there are no photos to show for it. You also won’t see Taylor Swift landing the cover of the Irish Times on Tuesday morning.
Swift, 25, asked photographers to sign contracts, which list strict restrictions on what they can, and cannot, do with her live concert photos. Photograph contracts are standard in the entertainment and music industry, but Swift’s contracts have proven to be the most difficult over recent years. Swift’s photograph contract includes a list of restrictions, including a “one-time-only” use limit on publishing the photos, which expires at the end of 2015.
Another restriction requires “written consent” from Taylor Swift herself or her management. Meanwhile, Taylor reserves the right to “perpetual, worldwide” use of her photographs for both promotion and publicity. This means that photographers who take live photos from her concert can’t reuse her photos for publicity or personal use.
Still confused on what’s going on? Irish Times picture editor Brenda Fitzsimons explained the truth about Taylor Swift’s strict contract.
“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.”
After reading the contract, the Irish newspaper said that they would not print any photos from Swift’s Dublin shows. The newspaper also stated that the way Swift is treating photographers is the same way she accused Apple of treating artists.
This comes after the news where a freelance photographer slammed Taylor for her hypocritical practices. Jason Sheldon wrote a blog post, which quickly went viral last week, that pointed out the strict conditions of Taylor’s contract.
“With all due respect to you too Taylor, you can do the right thing and change your photo policy. Photographers don’t ask for your music for free. Please don’t ask us to provide you with your marketing material for free.”
Swift’s team responded to Sheldon’s blog post and said that the contract terms have been “misrepresented,” and that the copyright remains with the photographer. Sheldon hit back once again and said that her response was “disingenuous,” since he never disputed the contract in the first place.
“Firstly, of course Taylor Swift, and any other artist, has the right to protect the use of their name and likeness. That is not in dispute, but protect them from what? We’re concert photographers, not paparazzi. I have no interest in publishing an unflattering photo of an artist. For one thing, it would do far more harm to my career than it would theirs.”
These recent moves by Taylor’s are used to protect her image. It shows the general public that the great lengths artists and their representatives will go through to protect any potential revenue, similar to music industry contracts. Taylor may argue that she’s only protecting herself from the people who will use these images to create their unofficial merchandise for their own profit.
But should Taylor Swift really worry about photographers whose sole purpose is to take photos of her live concerts? Share your thoughts below in the comments section.
[Image: Carrie Davenport / Getty Images for TAS]