I was really excited, the Cult was coming to San Diego and I was approved to shoot the show.

Then I was sent the photo release.

Let me make a few things really clear here. The publicist had nothing to do with this. The release was sent to be beforehand because they knew that I was going to have a problem with it. The release came from the band management and there is a good chance that the band members don’t know what is being asked of the photographers covering their show. Anyway, I hope that the band members don’t know about this… if they do, they really need to take a long hard look at what they are asking.

Here is the release:

Lets go through this release line by line and see where it is pretty bad and where it is downright insulting.

” The Cult Live, Inc. (herein called “The Cult”) hereby grants permission to _______________________ (INSERT PHOTOGRAPHER’S NAME) to take photographs (herein called the “Photographs”) of The Cult, solely and specifically for use only by ______________________ (INSERT NAME OF MAGAZINE OR NEWSPAPER) at a Cult concert taking place on _________(INSERT DATE) at _____________________ (INSERT VENUE). “

This first line is pretty standard. Not a great thing, but many times the bands only want the images to be used in the single outlet that was approved.

This Permission only permits the Photographs taken to be used in the above specified magazine or newspaper for a one-time only use by such magazine or newspaper, and accordingly, no other use, reproduction, dissemination, publication or distribution of the Photographs of any kind whatsoever is permitted to be made via any method or media. 

This second line basically reiterates the first line and makes it clear that the images can’t be used for anything at all. So if I wanted to post a shot here on my blog or on my Facebook account or over at Google +, I was not allowed. Again something i could live with if I had to but seemed very restrictive.

The worldwide copyrights (and all renewals and extensions thereof) in the Photographs are from the inception of their creation and forever thereafter owned solely by The Cult (and their designees). 

WHAT !!! I take the photograph and they own the copyright without any compensation. This is a basic rights grab and something that I will never agree to. Seriously, for a creative entity like a band to tell a photographer that they own the copyright to the work produced is insulting and no self-respecting photographer should ever sign this. They are not even offering to license or pay for the images, but just expect photographers to hand over their copyright…. without compensation. I knew at this point I wasn’t going to sign this. Then it just got worse.

In the event that the undersigned Photographer, the aforesaid newspaper or magazine or any other persons or entities wish to make any use of the Photographs other than as hereinabove expressly permitted, the prior written consent of The Cult shall be required (which The Cult may withhold or grant in The Cult’s absolute discretion), failing which consent, any such use, reproduction, dissemination, publication or distribution shall constitute willful copyright infringement and subject the photographer, the newspaper or magazine, the user and all others concerned to civil and criminal liability as willful copyright infringers.

So if I do use an image, the Cult can sue me. I am stunned.

The worldwide copyright in the aforesaid concert (and all elements thereof) together with all rights of reproduction, distribution, publication, and dissemination by any and all means and methods are exclusively owned and controlled by The Cult (and their designees).

Wow…. Just to make sure that any photographer is in doubt about the first part of the release, they reiterate that they own the copyright.

So there are no photos of the Cult from me. There will be no photos of the Cult from me. And if any other photographers are reading this who have applied to shoot the Cult, I urge you not to sign this release. Everyone who does just takes away any power that we as photographers have. Bands and their management need to realize that they can’t just treat us as dirt. I doubt any of them would work under these conditions.