Somewhere in this mess is a willfully difficult response to a fairly straightforward request:
A newspaper in Canada recently sent an illustrator to a Foo Fighters gig in a protest against the band's photo contract issued at their shows.
The US group recently evoked controversy for what some have seen as "exploitative" terms stated in a contract the band seek photographers to sign to shoot at their gigs.
Earlier this month, the Washington City Paper issued a statement, saying of the contract: "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... 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. The band’s contract, to be blunt, sucks."
I'm convinced that Dave Grohl started a band twenty years ago so he could screw photographers, and this proves I was right! If only I had written all of this down somewhere.
Seriously, though--if you don't like what you have to sign, don't cover it and don't engage with the artist. Not everyone is required to be reasonable. And, bear in mind, this is just an artist trying to hold onto ownership of something, and not to put anybody out of business or drive someone to distraction.
There's probably a precedent at work here. That was my first serious reaction--oh, they're trying to get ahead of something after having a bad experience. At some point, someone took a photo of the band and exploited them or made money somehow in a dishonest way and this is the reaction to that. It's perfectly understandable--don't rip us off.
This is news because Foo Fighters have the legal and commercial heft to back up their decisions with actual contracts. They don't have to be "cool" about anything because we are long past the moment when everyone else decided, fuck it, let's cash in on someone else's image/sound/success/momentum and make some bucks. Other bands just have to go around with the hats in their hands, begging the media and the industry as a whole to not screw them over.
How dare an artist try to own pictures of themselves. How dare they try to maintain some control over who sells their images when they, themselves should be in that business if they choose to be.
This goes back to demanding free music at a time when everything should be handed to everyone on a silver platter of entitlement.