Birmingham & Black Country

Taylor Swift 'backs down' over concert photo contracts

Taylor Swift Image copyright PA
Image caption Swift criticised Apple Music over their payment policy

Pop star Taylor Swift has changed restrictions on image rights at her concerts after a British photographer branded them "unfair".

Jason Sheldon had claimed the singer did not "play fair" over the use of photos taken at her performances.

But after a blog, in which Mr Sheldon took issue with Swift's criticism of Apple Music's artist payment policy, went viral, the singer "backed down".

A new draft contract drawn up with her PR team has now been published.

Mr Sheldon's criticism of the star followed her own blast at Apple, in which she said a three-month free trial offer meant artists and producers wouldn't be paid for their material during that time.

In an open letter to Swift, Mr Sheldon, from Walsall, West Midlands, wrote: "How about making sure you're not guilty of the very same tactic before you have a pop at someone else?"

Mr Sheldon, who runs the Walsall-based Junction 10 agency, said he and other photographers had been called to hand over some rights to their images from Swift's live concerts.

His letter went viral which, he said, caught him by surprise.

Image copyright Jason Sheldon
Image caption Mr Sheldon said he was surprised at the success of his blog

"I thought about 30 people read my blog so when it started to go viral and I was getting calls from people in America, I was very surprised," he said.

He said he understood Swift had now changed her contract to allow photographers to re-license pictures.

On Tuesday, the US-based National Press Photographers Associations reported it had worked with Swift's PR team to draft and circulate a credential agreement that "addressed photographers' and publishers' concerns while at the same time being suitable to the concerns of Swift's representatives".

The NPPA said the draft was supported by 14 media groups, including the Associated Press.

"It's a start," Mr Sheldon said.

"It's certainly an improvement on the last contract. There's still a long way to go, but it's good to know her representatives are receptive to change."

He said there were "many worse" contracts than Swift's.

"She's come in for a lot of flak - it may be a little bit unfair," he said.

Swift has not yet responded to a request for a comment but her representatives have previously said their contract was "misrepresented".

"It clearly states that any photographer shooting The 1989 World Tour has the opportunity for further use of said photographs with management's approval," they said in June.

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