Last night our photographer did not shoot the Public Image Ltd show at the U Street Music Hall. He was going to but he didn’t want to sign away his rights for his work. We stand by our photographer.
If we shot last night’s show our photographer would have agreed to deliver all “full resolution” photos via a Dropbox link the band’s management would provide. He could not use his personal website or any other delivery service. He could only shoot the first 4 songs (industry standard is 3 songs so this isn’t an issue). He also had to list where the photos would be used (once again perfectly reasonable). Everything stems from the first request. Photographers signed away full resolution images that could be used to sell, album art, merch, social media, etc. without compensation for the shots.
What’s disappointing about the PiL lack of photos isn’t a PiL lack of photos. Our audience is not clamoring for new shots of John Lydon’s band. What’s disappointing about this is John Lydon’s lack of understanding for all artists.
In an August 2015 feature in LA Weekly, Lydon was quoted on the crippling contract PiL was handcuffed by for over a decade. “The way the record companies had a stranglehold on me for nearly two decades, I technically couldn’t really perform live, record or do anything at all.” The article goes on to detail and praise PiL for doing things their way without a contract and coming from a working class background.
Last night our photographer did not shoot the Public Image Ltd show at the U Street Music Hall. He did not want to sign a contract. He was trying to work.
This is not new or unique to PiL. We did not cover Taylor Swift’s Nationals Park appearances this summer for the same reason. We have passed on Foo Fighters shows that forfeited our photographers rights. We will not shoot an upcoming Janet Jackson concert. We stand with our photographers decision not to cover.
PiL, Swift, Foo Fighters, Janet Jackson and many other acts don’t want to feel ripped off. That’s fine and somewhat admirable, but it’s unreasonable and just plain mean to attack photographers rights. If they don’t want photographers, ban photographers. There’s nothing wrong with that.
No PiL photos on BYT today. If you want to see what the band looks like, just check Instagram.