Press and music photographers are used to signing contracts with artists that prevent them from using, for commercial purposes, images shot at concerts. In most cases, these contracts put no restrictions on editorial usage.
The Stone Roses, however, have come under fire for restricting what photographers can do with their images. In a contract sent to press photographers, and seen by BJP, the indie group asks photographers to "assign to the Group, with full title guarantee, all Rights in perpetuity throughout the world so as to enable us to exploit the Photographs and Rights as we deem fit without further reference or payment to you or any third party".
Photographers are also asked to agree "to provide [the Group] with digital copies of any or all of the Photographs upon request".
Furthermore, images shot during the concert cannot be reproduced "in any publication devoted exclusively or predominantly to the artist unless prior permission has been obtained from the Stone Roses and their management".
The National Union of Journalists has supported the boycott. "Too many musical artists now wish to grab rights from photographers," says John Toner, the NUJ's freelance organiser. "Having said that, people are surprised 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."
He adds: "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."
But, in an email conversation with BJP, the Stone Roses' PR manager, Murray Chalmers, denies the existence of a boycott. "There is no boycott," he says. "We have a full [quota] of photographers attending the shows to photograph the band, which I would have happily told the NUJ had they bothered to call me about the assertions they made in their press release."
When asked why the Stone Roses required oversight on editorial usage, Chalmers said: "[I'm] not sure what you mean by oversight – the photographers have the rights to use their photos editorially as agreed."
The agreement, however, allows photographers to sell their images only once.
Prompted several times to clarify his statement, Chalmers refused. "I have already told you there is no boycott. Hence, no further comment. I wouldn't assume anything else from that – no comment means no comment."
The boycott is being spearheaded by Ian Tilton, a rock photographer who captured the group's most memorable events in the 1990s.
Most Popular Articles
Updating your subscription status
Are you a professional photographer looking to build upon your existing business or an amateur photographer wanting to take your photography skills to the next level?
Working as part of a team supporting the survey of the Mitchell Library's special collections, you will take high quality digital images for our collections database and website
Creative Studio Portrait Photographer needed for a vibrant modern studio in Hertfordshire.