Lady GaGa has sparked a war with concert photographers after demanding they give up the rights to their shots. The pioneering pop star has started asking snappers to sign release forms before admitting them to gigs, demanding they surrender their copyright of the images they take while she's onstage.
Website TBD.com went public with the release form given to their photographer Jay Westcott on Friday, March 4, which clearly states his shots will become the property of GaGa. Revered concert photographer and property lawyer David Atlas tells Rolling Stone magazine, "It's utterly disrespectful of the time, the effort and the creativity of the photographer. I think it's some misguided need to control the images that are out there, but she has so little control over those images."
And veteran concert snapper Tim Mosenfelder tells the publication, "These artists blow up, and depending on their personality and the management they surround themselves with, they end up with a result like this. There are artists out there who are pretty fair with the press. For example, Justin Bieber is very receptive to allowing the press to cover his performances, and he's blown up."
The release form published by TBD.com is one of two GaGa hands out to photographers - a second version does not demand the photographer to sign over their copyright. According to Atlas, the less restrictive version is intended for larger publications.
He adds, "Typically the person who has the least leverage gets the worst release... The people who get paid $125 to hang out for four hours at a concert have to sign this release. So on top of getting paid very little, they have no ongoing revenue stream from these photos whatsoever."