What has become of covering live music with a concert review and professional images?
This is a question to the musicians and their publishers.
Ever since every Tom, Dick and Harry now carry a cell phone with capabilities of capturing concert images, which they splatter all across the Worldwide Web with no discretion, or control, so don’t experienced and professional concert photographers have a place that can be trusted and celebrated?
Yet it seems to be an epidemic of photo releases, song limitations, and photo approvals?
With highly expensive camera equipment, an experienced concert photographer understands the usage of images and the laws around copyrights. The photographer owns the copyright but cannot distribute the likeness of an artist in a commercial fashion without written approval from said artist.
I would like to address these points separately please.
1.) Photo releases
Telling the photographer where and when they can post. With highly expensive camera equipment, an experienced concert photographer understands the usage of images and the laws around copyrights. The photographer owns the copyright but cannot distribute the likeness of an artist in a commercial fashion without written approval from said artist.
Copyright law in the United States prohibits the unauthorized copying of a “work of authorship.”
In 1988, the following amendment was added to address visual works including photography:
“Pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works” include two-dimensional and three-dimensional works of fine, graphic, and applied art, photographs, prints and art reproductions, maps, globes, charts, diagrams, models, and technical drawings, including architectural plans. Such works shall include works of artistic craftsmanship insofar as their form but not their mechanical or utilitarian aspects are concerned; the design of a useful article, as defined in this section, shall be considered a pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work only if, and only to the extent that, such design incorporates pictorial, graphic, or sculptural features that can be identified separately from, and are capable of existing independently of, the utilitarian aspects of the article.”
We don’t shoot concerts for the money! There isn’t any to speak of! And using the photo release to steal the copyright of a photographer’s work seems to be only done in the United States of America and Canada, it’s cheap and beneath you as an artist to not pay for images that you might want to use commercially.
I have never see photo releases being signed by every member of the audience as they file into a show? But, I see images posted after every show that were taken from a cell phone or point and shoot camera on all social media platforms. So why restrict professional images from professional photographers that you deem worthy enough to grant a photo pass?
2.) Song Limitations
Why limit the professionals from photographing the complete show? I get the photo pit rule of three songs as you don’t want to obstruct the view of the paying fan. But, is the best part of the show really the beginning? The three song rule is archaic and was born in the era of flash photography.
The show is designed to reach a crescendo in the middle or the end. Hence, the best images are at that point, not the first three songs when the stage isn’t completely illuminated, or the musicians have hit their groove.
If it’s vanity, the professional photographer isn’t going to post unflattering pictures that would also tarnish their reputation. So, the artist is protected by the professional photographer, but not from Tom, Dick and Harry in the audience.
3.) Photo Approvals
Well, this is a sticky one. Some artists want to censor images from the professional photographer. But, Tom, Dick and Harry in the audience have no image approval process.
I understand the need in some cases, but they are very few. The number of images published of a band or musical act are less than 10% of the actual number that are taken by a professional camera. So, this is completely silly.
Just a tip, if you want great concert photos, do not position the photographers behind the crowd shooting at the Front Of The House. There is no emotion in these pictures and the music cannot be heard through these images. Instead of hand cuffing the photographer, give the professional concert photographer more than 15 minutes to capture something really special. Three from the pit and the rest of the show around the venue. You might just be surprised.
If concert photography and written concert reviews are not important to your brand, then fine don’t approve media coverage.
Someday The United States and Canada we will join together and not sign these ridiculous photo releases as our counter parts have done in Europe and other parts of the world. You will then be left with just Tom, Dick and Harry and their cell phones and not professional concert photographers.