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NUJ Stone Roses

NUJ supports photographer boycott of The Stone Roses reunion concerts over 'unreasonable' contract demands


By The Drum Team, Editorial

June 28, 2012 | 3 min read

The NUJ has issued its support to photographers who have chosen to the boycott the reunion concerts of the Stone Roses.

The three concerts, which take place at Heaton Park this coming weekend, has completely sold out, however photographers have been left outraged by the contracts they have been issued, which asks that they surrender copyright of their images to the brand.

Following protests, a second contract was produced, but photographers and the NUJ claim that these continue to place ‘unacceptable’ restrictions on the use of images of the concert.

A boycott has been co-ordinated by freelance photographer Ian Tilton involving hundreds of photographers, who also provide the NUJ with a model contract that he believed would have been acceptable to photographer. This was not accepted by the band however.

Tilton commented: “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.”

John Toner, freelance organiser for the NUJ, added: “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.

“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.

Murray Chalmers, press agency for The Stone Roses told the NUJ; “The simple fact is that if you want to come and photograph the band then it will be necessary to sign our contract.”

NUJ Stone Roses

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