This post was supposed to contain Lady Gaga photos from her show on March 3rd here in Toronto at the Air Canada Center. Unfortunately, the day before the show I received a list of rules for shooting which were pretty insane, but not totally unheard of. These were rules like shooting only the 4th and 5th songs, and having to be 100ft from the stage.
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Along with this email, I received a contract I was required to sign saying I would not be able to use the photos in my portfolio or blog, and that the publication I was shooting for would be required to remove the photos within 4 months of the concert date. After reading this part of the contract I had pretty much decided that shooting the concert was useless, and then I read the final paragraph which states:
“Photographer may not assign this release or any of its rights hereunder without first obtaining the prior written approval of Lady Gaga. Photographer hereby acknowledges and agrees that all right, title and interest (including copyright) in and to the Photograph(s) shall be owned by Lady Gaga and Photographer hereby transfers and assigns any such rights to Lady Gaga.”
This means that Lady Gaga is actually trying to get photographers to sign over any and all rights to the photographs they take of her at the show. Maybe if she had offered me the rights to her songs in trade for the rights to my photos I would have considered, but alas, that wasn’t an option in her contract.
Here are some links to Rolling Stone Magazine, and TBD.com who have since both published articles about Lady Gaga and her crazy rights grabbing contract.
One of my favorite quotes from the articles comes from the owner of New York publicity firm Nasty Little Man who says, “In my experience it often comes from artists who’ve been stuck having to pay a ton for a shot they want for a box set, merch, etc. Having the parameters set for such transactions in a legal document can keep that from happening in the future.” I guess its totally cool that a band like the Beastie Boys or the Foo Fighters, both of whom Nasty Little Man represent, get to make a bunch of money using photographs for merchandise and artwork that go hand in hand with their music, while the talented photographer who took them gets to eat Ramen noodles for dinner while trying to figure out where his/her next rent cheque will come from.
What is funny to me is the amount of money each of those singers/bands require before even considering playing a concert, and yet they will openly insult a fellow artist by saying their work is worthless to them. With that I say thanks for insulting me Lady Gaga. I would use this opportunity to insult you back but I like to think Im a little better than that.
Now instead of photos from the March 3rd show, I am going to post some from Nov 30th, 2008 when I photographed her show at CiRCA Nightclub in Toronto. I wasnt asked to sign any contracts at that show and I have retained any and all copyrights to the images I produced.