Taylor Swift rips up contract that was ripping off photographers

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Photographers assigned to Taylor Swift concerts will be greeted by a friendlier photo contract.
Photographers assigned to Taylor Swift concerts will be greeted by a friendlier photo contract.
Photo: GabboT/Flickr CC

The Bad Blood between singer Taylor Swift and concert photographers is history – unless she writes a song about it.

Swift’s legal team has agreed to revise the photography contact for her 1989 World Tour after a widely reported backlash from photographers and boycotts of some of her shows.

They were reacting to Swift’s open letter to Apple complaining about its initial decision to not pay artists during the trial period of Apple Music. Apple backed down. Photographers, however, called her a hypocrite because of an overreaching photo agreement that gave her unlimited free use of any photos taken at her show, plus the right by members of her team to forcibly remove images from their cameras.

The Poynter Institute on Tuesday reported that language from the contract was removed or rewritten after negotiations between Swift and news organizations and professional photography associations.

“After taking the time to hear our concerns regarding her world tour photography guidelines agreement, the news and professional associations and Taylor’s team are very pleased to have been able to work together for a revised agreement that’s fair to everyone involved, Mickey Osterreicher, general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association, said in a story published on Poynter’s website.

Gone from the contract, according to the Poynter story, are the threat on a photographer’s equipment and a prohibition from a photographer or news agency from future use of photos made at concerts. Swift’s team has also agreed to give proper credit to photojournalists should the singer use any photos.

After Swift’s very public rebuke of Apple on her Tumblr page, British concert photographer Jason Sheldon went on a rant of his own on his website, accusing Swift of a contract “granting you the rights to exploit our work for your benefit for all eternity . . . How are you any different from Apple?”

In the weeks after Sheldon’s post went viral, newspapers in Ireland and Montreal refused to assign photographers to her shows because of the photo agreement.