To Whom It May Concern,
I was on a short holiday with my family last week when I was alerted to a breaking story about Taylor Swift changing her contract..
Various people claiming “You’ve won, she’s backed down”, “Well done!” “Great to see her knocked down a peg or two”…… Well, let’s slow down a bit..
Firstly, it wouldn’t be great to see her “knocked down a peg or two” at all.. I don’t believe she has been knocked down a peg, nor does she deserve to be. She had a bad contract in place which was highlighted due to her publicly criticising Apple for trying to enforce an egregious contract on her…
She said the right thing, at the right time. Just under the wrong circumstances.
After my public response to Taylor Swift’s open letter to Apple, I didn’t quite expect the phenomenal reaction it received. I knew it was provocative, I knew it was going to be risky and could possibly harm my chances of getting access to other concerts in future.. but it needed to be said – out loud. When I thought hard about the possible consequences, and restrictions on my access to future work, I asked myself “What point is there in going to work if I can’t be paid for it – yet everyone else gets to benefit from my labour?”. The answer?
* Updated : Following a statement released by Taylor Swift’s UK agent, I have responded here*
Dear Taylor Swift,
I have read your open letter to Apple where you give your reasons for refusing to allow your album ‘1989′ to be included on their forthcoming Apple Music streaming service.
(For reference: http://taylorswift.tumblr.com/post/122071902085/to-apple-love-taylor)
I applaud it. It’s great to have someone with a huge following standing up for the rights of creative people and making a stand against the corporate behemoths who have so much power they can make or break someone’s career.
Some may know that I’m very protective of my copyright. It is extremely important to me, and it’s no secret that I actively protect and enforce it. Why shouldn’t I? I work hard to produce my work, and if somebody thinks it’s worth making use of, then it’s only fair that I should be paid accordingly. In a Utopian society, it might be nice to think that everyone works for free and helps each other, but lets face it – life isn’t like that. The Government tax us, we have to pay to heat our homes and put fuel in our cars to get to our workplace… therefore it’s impractical, if not impossible to genuinely work for free.
So, recently I have been testing a new image search engine designed for photographers who wish to call in the lost license fees from their work which has been misappropriated.
As a ‘small’ test, I tried a batch of just over 5,000 images from my library. After a few hours, my report was ready, and to my horror, there were over 3000 matches.
That is a frightening statistic. 60% of my sample batch of images were found online. Now, that’s not to say that all 60% were infringing.. there were some images that looked very similar.. EXTREMELY similar.. taken by a photographer at the same event, stood right next to me.. thankfully though, I can still recognise my own images and can discount these from the infringing batch…
A few days ago, I discovered one of my images being used on a blog. It happens.. most bloggers seem to think that images on the internet are free to use and that a ‘blog’ would be classed as ‘fair use’.
The problem with this blog however, is that the blogger should really know better than to use a copyrighted photograph without permission…. Especially as he’s Raanan Bar-Cohen, Senior Vice President for Commercial Services at Automattic inc.
In case you don’t know who they are, they are the company that own WordPress.. arguably one of, if not the biggest blogging platform in the world and, as it happens, the host of this blog….