The fame monster wants the copyright to your pictures

8 03 2011

Lady Gaga wants photographer to sign over copyright of their images to her. Photo courtesy of, Stephen Carlile


Concerts can be somewhat difficult to shoot. Often time the artists like to impose silly rules such as: you can only shoot the first three songs and no flash. Which was the case when I shot the Kid Cudi concert last semester. However, the rules that Lady Gaga have in place for photographers are much more severe.

Jay Westcott, a photographer for TBD, was assigned to shoot Gaga’s latest performance at the Verizon Center. Upon arriving at the location Westcott was given a photo release form. The form said that pictures shot at the concert cannot appear in a printed publication or be displayed on a website for more than four months according to the photo release.

It gets better.

In the fourth paragraph, Gaga’s photo release says, “Photographer hereby acknowledges and agrees that all right, title and interest (including copyright) in and to the Photograph(s) shall be owned by Lady Gaga and Photographer hereby transfers and assigns any such rights to Lady Gaga,” according to the photo release.

After reading that Westcott called his editor and was told not to shoot the concert. Yet this wouldn’t be the first time that Westcott has encountered such strict restrictions. He had the same experience when he was assigned to shoot the Foo Fighters, and the Beastie Boys, according to the article.

“Those stipulations are up to the bands and their managers,” said Steve Martin, owner of the publicity Nasty Little Man, who represents both the Foo Fighters and the Beastie Boys.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with U.S. copyright law, copyright exists the second that your work is “created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device” according to the U.S. copyright office.

Which means that normally the photographer has the rights to the picture because they took it; however, many high profile artists such as, Lady Gaga, tend to be more restrictive with their photo releases, according to the article.

Would you really want to sign over rights to all your photos shot at that concert? I wouldn’t, so I’ll stick to shooting three songs and not using flash.

(via Petapixel)