Birmingham & Black Country

Taylor Swift accused of 'double standards' by photographer

Taylor Swift Image copyright PA
Image caption Taylor Swift told Apple artists should be compensated for their music

A photographer has accused Taylor Swift of "double standards" in her row with Apple over music streaming.

Apple Music performed a U-turn over payment policy a day after the pop star threatened to prevent the US firm from streaming her album 1989.

Swift had argued that Apple withholding payments during a three-month trial period was not fair for artists.

But photographer Jason Sheldon said the singer herself did not "play fair" when it came to image rights.

Some of the claims he has made in an open letter to Swift have been disputed by representatives of the 25-year-old singer.

In it he wrote: "If you don't like being exploited, that's great - make a huge statement about it, and you'll have my support. But how about making sure you're not guilty of the very same tactic before you have a pop at someone else?

"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."

'Give work away'

Mr Sheldon, who runs the Walsall-based Junction 10 agency, said he and other photographers had been called to hand over some rights to their images from Swift's live concerts.

To cover a performance in March 2011 at Birmingham's LG Arena, Mr Sheldon said he had to sign a permission form that granted Swift's management company long-term rights to reuse the images and prevented him from featuring them after the initial coverage.

"I can't use it in my portfolio, feature it on my website and even the original newspaper couldn't reuse it," Mr Sheldon said.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Taylor Swift told Apple: "We don't ask you for free iPhones. Please don't ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation"

"What's more, they can give my image to my clients for press purposes. It's giving my work away for free."

He said the photo authorisation form included a section that gave the management firm "perpetual worldwide right to use (and to authorise others to use) any or all of the photographs for any non-commercial purpose".

Mr Sheldon said clauses such as this were becoming more common in photo agreement forms.

He said it was Swift's stance with Apple that "jarred" - with her "lambasting" the firm over using music for free, when her management firm was "guilty of doing the same thing with photos".

'Same rules'

In a statement, a spokesperson for Swift said: "The standard photography agreement has been misrepresented in that it clearly states that any photographer shooting The 1989 World Tour has the opportunity for further use of said photographs with management's approval.

"Another distinct misrepresentation is the claim that the copyright of the photographs will be with anyone other than the photographer - this agreement does not transfer copyright away from the photographer.

"Every artist has the right to, and should, protect the use of their name and likeness."

Mr Sheldon said he had seen a 2015 version of the same contract that was even more strict, although he had not applied for one.

"I fully agree with Taylor Swift's stance against Apple, but it's about her playing by the same rules she wants to live by," he said.

Related Topics

More on this story

Around the BBC

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites