Pop star Taylor Swift has been called a hypocrite just days after she was hailed by artists across the world for her rant against Apple Inc. She had recently sent an open letter to Apple criticizing the company’s policy for payments made to artists. The 25-year-old pop icon had demanded that the technology giant pay artists for downloads of their music albums during the first three-month trial period that users have for Apple’s new streaming service. A freelance photographer has now sent an open letter to Swift urging her to consider the same payment regulations for the creative works of photographers as well, and to play ‘fair.’
Swift had mentioned in the letter that a period of three months was a long time to go unpaid for any person. She stated that it was completely unfair to ask anyone to work for nothing. She had suggested Apple Inc to change the policy which implied that the company would not pay any money to artists for their songs which would be downloaded during the three-month trial period. She said in her letter that it was not too late for the company to rethink their policy to change the minds of those in the music industry who will be gravely and deeply affected by it.
Swift went on to say in her letter that as the artists never asked for any free iPhones from Apple Inc, the company must not ask them to provide them with their music for no compensation. She wrote with all her admiration, love and reverence for everything that Apple Inc has done for the music industry and hoped that she could soon join them in the progression towards something that seemed fair to the artists who are the creators of the music. She also said that she felt that it is a platform which could get it right by paying fair compensation to artists for their work. Following this open letter, Apple Inc changed their policy and declared that they would pay all the artists for the downloads of their music during the first three months of the trial period of their music streaming service.
Following this, the issue of paying fair compensation to all artists for their creative work did not end, as the Red singer received an open letter from freelance photographer Jason Sheldon. He accused Swift by calling her a hypocrite just days after she was hailed by artists across the world for her rant against Apple Inc. He wrote that Swift should also consider playing fair as she had asked Apple in her letter. Sheldon claimed in his letter that Swift forces tour photographers to sign contracts which lay down terms allowing them to use the photographs only once and all the rights for the Intellectual Property belong to Swift and her management company.
Sheldon wrote asking how Swift was any different from Apple Inc, the company which she had accused of asking artists to work for free. He mentioned that if she did not like being exploited by the company, she had all his support, but it would be only justified to make sure that Swift herself was not guilty of using the very same tactics that she accused Apple Inc of.
Swift responded to Sheldon’s letter through her spokesperson. It was clarified that the standard photography agreement has been misrepresented and it stated that after taking an approval from the management, further use of the said pictures by any photographer shooting The 1989 World Tour was permitted. It was also mentioned that another instance of misrepresentation on the part of Sheldon was the claim that the copyright of the photographs will be taken away from the photographers. The contract did not mention any transfer of copyrights away from the photographers.
At the end, it was suggested by the spokesperson talking on behalf of Swift that every artist has the right to and should protect the use of their name and likeness. The issue seems to be settling for now following this statement from Swift’s spokesperson after she was called a hypocrite just days after she was hailed by artists across the world for her rant against Apple Inc.
By Ankur Sinha
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