Taylor Swift barely had a chance to celebrate the success of her open letter to Apple before finding herself on the receiving end of one. The criticisms she raised regarding Apple Music’s now-changed free trial period policy were lobbed back at her from a photographer who argues that she’s not practicing what she preaches, based on the contract photographers must sign to shoot her concerts. Her team quickly responded, but unlike Apple, they haven’t changed their point of view.
Jason Sheldon, a U.K.-based photographer posted his response online, pulling excerpts from Swift’s original letter to make his case against her. Specifically, he takes issue with the fact that any photos photographers take at Swift’s concerts can be used by her team because she is “granted free and unlimited use of [their] work, worldwide, in perpetuity,” while the photographers’ own use of the images is heavily restricted. “If you don’t like being exploited, that’s great — make a huge statement about it, and you’ll have my support,” writes Sheldon. “But how about making sure you’re not guilty of the very same tactic before you have a pop at someone else?” He goes on to ask that she change her policy. “Like Apple, you can afford to pay for photographs so please stop forcing us to hand them over to you while you prevent us from publishing them more than once, ever,” he writes.
Swift’s team issued a statement that made it clear they didn’t buy into Sheldon’s reasoning. The response clarified that photographers maintain their copyrights and are able to use their photographs in the future, just as long as they have approval. More importantly, they point out that this is done because “every artist has the right to, and should, protect the use of their name and likeness.” And that’s the heart of it. Because the images are of Swift, it does seem fair that the pop superstar should be able to determine how they’re used.