The NUJ is supporting a photographers’ boycott of the Stone Roses reunion concerts this weekend.
The enigmatic band will play three gigs at Heaton Park, North Manchester, but they have outraged photographers with the contracts they have issued.
Photographers covering the concerts were expected to surrender their copyright to the band. After protests, an improved contract was produced, but it still places unacceptable restrictions over editorial use of the images.
Freelance photographer, Ian Tilton, has co-ordinated a boycott involving hundreds of photographers. Ian then contacted the NUJ, who have provided a model contract that is acceptable to the photographers. So, far, the band has not accepted this.
John Toner, NUJ Freelance Organiser said: “Too many musical artistes now wish to grab rights from photographers. Having said that, people are surprised that the Stone Roses have chosen to go down this route.
“We fully understand why a band would wish to retain merchandising rights, and the photographers would be happy to concede this. Equally, a photographer must have the right to license editorial use of images without obtaining the band’s permission for each use.
“The band’s intransigence on this point has led to the organisation of a boycott.
“The NUJ fully supports the boycott and will provide every assistance. We still hope, though, that agreement can be reached even at this late hour.
Ian Tilton, Rock Photographer said: “Mutual respect between musician and photographer is important. If the band has invited freelance photographers to the gig and doesn't want those photographs on unofficial merchandise, then the band need to respectfully ask photographers to sign a contract containing words to that effect. They didn't tell the photographers there would be a contract to sign at the gigs.
“They were going to spring a contract on the photographers as they arrived at the gig to collect their tickets and passes to get in. The contract they were going to give the photographers meant the photographers could take their pictures and use them for publication only in the magazine they were commissioned by. Then the Roses - for £1 - would own all the rights to those photographs and could use them on their t shirts, books, exhibitions, posters etc without paying or even crediting the photographer/artist for using them. Their contract used the word 'exploit' clearly in there.
“On Monday 25th The Stone Roses issued a replacement contract. Photographers thought this one unacceptable too and agreed a boycott of photography at Heaton Park.
“A suggested contract was offered to the Stone Roses, where photographers would agree to not use any pictures for merchandise purposes but they could syndicate their pictures for publication in the future.
“The Stone Roses press agent Murray Chalmers emailed in reply: The simple fact is that if you want to come and photograph the band then it will be necessary to sign our contract.
“Consequently the photographers have agreed that the boycott is still on.”