Copyright rears it’s ugly head again

Just as photographers are trying to get their head around an apparent ‘do as I say, not as I do’ copyright argument with Taylor Swift the EU decide to stick the boot in as well.

It was reported that Taylor Swift was not happy with Apples’ music licensing arrangements I.e not receiving a payment for three months and wrote an open letter to Apple saying as much. Apple backed down.

It then comes to light that there are some restrictive contracts to taking photographs at a Taylor Swift concert, which reading the reported furor hasn’t earned her any brownie points. The crux of the matter allegedly being that the photographer does own copyright but TS and her promoting company can use the images without further payment.

Before the dust settled on that copyright argument the EU reportedly want to change want constitutes freedom of panorama (applying to certain EU countries), which in effect means a building in a public place MAY be subject to copyright and require a licensing agreement to use for commercial purposes.

There are more than a couple of issues with this. Not least how it would be policed, how you are supposed to know who to obtain permission from and what actually constitutes commercial use which can have different meanings depending on context.

Add to this the fact that when a photograph that supposedly is covered by copyright gets stolen and used without permission ( I’m thinking monkey selfie here) and you have avertible black hole of copyright law.

You could approach the TS example above by arguing a contract is in place and it is up to you whether you agree to the terms and sign up.

The Monkey selfie is copyrighted and as I understand it, being (quite rightly) contested. As a photographer I hope it reaches a suitable conclusion for the creator and makes things clearer for everyone involved.

The reported EU copyright proposal is just ….. WEIRD.

If indeed the proposal becomes Part of EU law (there’s a vote in July) I’m not sure what it will achieve, apart from a potential payment for a copyright holder, although it is obvious what the result could be. Yes there is a difference.

So, as copyright rears its ugly head again photographers (and others) are getting worked up even more, the flames fanned by a media press each with their own agenda……

Update: The proposed amendment to Freedom Of Panorama has been defeated after a vote by MEPs. It’s back to ‘ as you were everyone’. Thanks to an online petition and raising awareness of the issue common sense has prevailed. As photographers we must be grateful to the people who highlight these things and save our rights from being further eroded.


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