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Quite remarkable and unprofessional band responce regarding copyright query

Today I was drawn in by a post from US music photographer Tod Owyoung, who had tweeted a response from a twitter user to a rather suggestive and questionable statement from The Red Jump Suit Apparatus.

The band were making a bold move in stating they believe most digital art should be free.

In an age where digital media is readily available and in huge abundance, it has become easy to believe that obtaining or taking music, film or photos for free wherever possible is acceptable and unchallengeable. Many deem theft of digital sources as a victimless crime and in some cases justify these acts by believing that they are assisting publicity of the artists by helping to “distribute” or “share” their work or that they aren’t moved enough to warrant paying for a band’s music and so seem no harm in stealing it.

Personally I have many grievances with this ethos and behaviour. Taking aside the resulting cost increases and prices imposed and then swallowed by paying members of the public (to allegedly make up for the profit short falls resulting from media theft) I always struggle to understand why people can’t do the right thing ?

Legally free or inexpensive music listening and streaming is now readily available across the board to everyone who has access to the internet. The quality is fantastic, the variety is huge and the options plentiful. Sites like Soundcloud and Spotify to name a few are turning things around, (or at least down) in providing the public with cheap, accessible music whilst promoting, rewarding and paying the artist.

It is a shame then that the same cannot be said for photography.

It seems very obvious that there is a massive divide between the very accepting and willing industry that pays commercial or wedding photographers for their work as opposed to the entertainment industry who not only expect to receive free commissions from photographers but even steal from others without consent..

This statement was made after (semi) conclusion of a potential legal battle that kicked off after music photographer Rohan Anderson had found that Red Jump Suit Apparatus had used one of his photographs without consent


Have a read of this extensive blog piece from Rohan

In summary, Rohan found that The Red Jump Apparatus had taken one his photos, doctored it (lowering the quality) and had placed it on their Facebook page without consent and only credited themselves as author.

Upon opening up discussions as to potential copyright infringements and suggestions as to a solution (respectively and politely voiced might I add) Rohan was met by prejudice, ridicule and complete disinterest as to his artist’s rights. Indeed at one point the band added further insults by stating:

“Most unknown photographers are happy to have world  wide known bands use their photos and consider it an honor, you are clearly an example of the opposite.”

Additional emails during the ongoing conversion stated he was now supposedly banned from any future festival or show they would play at and even approached the editor of the publication he had produced the shot in question for in an attempt to further solidify their argument and ridicule Rohan.

Problem was their argument and points were incorrect and misguided, like the account of events and so not only did they not receive ant support, they became blacklisted from the publication themselves


Essentially this not only typifies the attitude and believes of the music industry but through the immature and disgraceful communications from the bands supposed management brings to light the battles we face as music photographers.

Sure I am currently working through a free portrait work project with local unsigned acts, but each artist that has been in contact has showed grace and gratitude in responding to my listed event. Some have previously and gratefully paid me for work as they understand the artistry, time and skill that is required to craft professional photography.

Without such media promotion and assistance, bands would find it very difficult to maintain a significant profile presence on the internet or social media sites.  Why so then are some acts and management so unwilling to pay for these important services or even credit appropriately?

If you read through Rohan’s account he states that he pursed the matter out of principle and not for financial gain. Established acts can make a genuine mistake and offer reimbursement or full credit when requested and for many photographers this is enough; acknowledgment and respect.   However when bands gain a degree of success or notoriety, some – and too many –  seem to forget loyalties or respect

With the apparent intervention by a representative of the band, the  matter is now resolved, the photo is credited and payment has been made but not without shameful, ignorant messages, posts and replies from the band not to mention a  total misunderstanding of copyright laws from the group member or manager who corresponded in the first instance.

Upon posting the blog piece of this story (link above) the group tweeted , but then removed and apologised for the following:

Rohan blog tweet

Way to go guys.

It must have been embarrassing to demonstrate such ignorant (not to mention terrible grammar) responses to what started and continued throughout to be a legitimate and polite request from Rohan.

Let hope the next group get it right.


Guess I might banned from your shows as well now then guys ?!. *lol*

Here is Rohan’s final unedited photo, now present on the bands Facebook page..
with plenty of comments to boot..

Rohan from Facebook page-2