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Foo Fighters are back in town this weekend for a huge 20th anniversary blowout at RFK. We had planned on running photos from the show—which promises to be part homecoming, part Fourth of July party—but the band’s contract, to be blunt, sucks.
Below is the contract that Foo Fighters’ management company gave to our freelance photographer. If we signed it, we would have agreed to: the band approving the photos which run in the City Paper; only running the photos once and with only one article; and all copyrights would transfer to the band. Then, here’s the fun part, the band would have “the right to exploit all or a part of the Photos in any and all media, now known or hereafter devised, throughout the universe, in perpetuity, in all configurations” without any approval or payment or consideration for the photographer.
That is exploitation of photographers, pure and simple. If a streaming music service tried to use the band’s music for free, they’d have none of it. That’s what the Taylor Swift-Apple blowup was about. But by signing that contract, the band could then use the creative work of our photographer in their future marketing materials or to resell them through their site.
But beyond that, we at the City Paper would be signing over editorial control to the band and their management company. And unless we get to pick the set list, that’s never going to happen.
In a conversation with the band’s management, City Paper was told that these types of contracts are “standard” and they “protect the band.” But that’s not even close to being true. The Rolling Stones, to name one huge act, aren’t demanding newspapers sign over their pictures and the Stones are in the middle of selling out half of the stadiums in North America.
The great irony of all of this is that there will be tens of thousands of cameras in the audience at RFK in the form of smartphones, something that the band and its overzealous management company can’t police. If you take a great photo of the show, send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet it @WCP. If we run it in next week’s print edition, we’ll pay you for it. And we won’t ask you to sign over the copyright or your first born, either.