Photographers’ Association Openly Slams Ariana Grande’s Copyright Grab

Is Ariana Grande taking advantage of photographers? Or just demanding a share of her ‘likeness’?

Ariana Grande recently implemented new rules for her Sweetener concert tour.

And, photographers, along with multiple media outlets, aren’t too happy about it.

At previous performances, photographers could take all the photos they wanted.  This would allegedly lead to a flood of Grande merchandise on the market, including photo books, calendars, and other works featuring her likeness.

Now, she wants to make sure she’ll get paid, at the expense of photographers.

Should a performer profit from their likeness taken by a photographer?

According to a new report, Grande has issued several demands to the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA).

First, NPPA photographers with an existing contract to cover her shows can only take shots during the first three songs from a designated area.  Then, they must immediately hand over all of the photographs (including the copyrights) to GrandAriTour Inc., her touring company.

Second, photographers can only use the shots they took just once for a news story, and with written permission from Grande.

As expected, the new rules have drawn ire from the creative community.

Fifteen media outlets – American Society of Media, Photographers American Society of News Editors, Associated Press, Associated Press Managing Editors, Association of Alternative Newsmedia, The Buffalo News, First Look Media Works, Inc., publisher of The Intercept Freedom of the Press Foundation, Gannett Company, Inc., Los Angeles Times Communications LLC., New York News Publishers Association, The New York Times Company, News Media Alliance, Radio Television Digital News Association, and the Society of Professional Journalists – have enlisted the aid of the NPAA to take on the forced agreement.

In response, the NPAA has published an open letter, lambasting the singer for her highly restrictive photo agreement.

Michael H. Osterreicher, the organization’s General Counsel, wrote to GrandAriTours,

As a creative artist herself, we cannot understand how Ms. Grande and her representatives could demand such terms and conditions in exchange for permission to photograph her performance.

First, he wrote, the NPAA and other media outlets “cannot agree” to these ridiculous demands.  Calling the rules a “surprising and very-troubling overreach,” Osterreicher continued,

[The contract] runs counter to legal and industry standards and is anathema to core journalistic principles of the news organizations.

Calling the new agreement a contract of adhesion – one drafted by a single party and designed to only favor them – he added,

While we understand your desire to maintain control over your client’s persona and intellectual property, we hope that you will appreciate our position.

As representatives of independent and staff photojournalists along with the news organizations that they shoot for, we encourage your company and Ms. Grande to create an agreement that better recognizes and values the work of visual artists with the same respect we assume she has for the rights of musicians and the worth of their songs.

Demanding an immediate revision to the agreement, Osterreicher concluded,

If it would be helpful, we’re open to provide proposed language changes to the agreement.

You can view the open letter below.


Featured image by celebrityabc (CC by 2.0).

8 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    Tools are not supposed to be turned on the creators. Lol

    I love the irony of this.

  2. Amy

    She’s a genius for this and completely in the right. Other artists should follow suit. Photographers can’t make one valid argument why not other than they’re mad they’re losing money.

    • Simon N

      Easy to say when you haven’t got a family to house and feed… this is a livlihood for some. I can’t imagine Ms Grande working for free… she has the right to earn a living too. It’s tantamount to bullying tactics.

    • Rick L

      Amy, Some of the legal aspects could have been flushed out in the article better, but in the United States of America you should understand that you own any photo you take with your camera. If you grab another persons camera and press the shutter, you also own that image as the artist. What Grande is demanding here is wholeheartedly absurd and ignorant on so many levels. This was actually sad to read.

  3. Anonymous

    These media outlets sound like a bunch of cry babies.

    • Simon N

      How sad that Ariana’s ego has overtaken her sense of sensibility and fairness.

  4. Faza (TCM)

    The next natural step, should negotiations fail, would be for photographers to boycott Grande’s gigs. If you can’t walk away from a deal, it’s a good deal.