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Taylor Swift’s Camp Responds to Photographer’s Hypocrisy Claim

Taylor Swift doesn't like being called a hypocrite. Fresh on the heels of her rapid win against Apple over payments for artists during the free trial of the company's upcoming Apple Music, a British…

Taylor Swift doesn’t like being called a hypocrite. Fresh on the heels of her rapid win against Apple over payments for artists during the free trial of the company’s upcoming Apple Music, a British rock photographer accused the superstar of not practicing what she preaches. And just like Apple, she has already responded.

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In an open letter published Monday, Jason Sheldon said that in order to photograph Swift in 2011 he had to sign away the rights to some of his images, giving Swift’s management long-term rights to reuse them but handcuffing his own use beyond initial publication. “I can’t use it in my portfolio, feature it on my website and even the original newspaper couldn’t reuse it,” he said.


You say in your letter to Apple that “Three months is a long time to go unpaid.” But you seem happy to restrict us to being paid once, and never being able to earn from our work ever again, while granting you the rights to exploit our work for your benefit for all eternity.

How are you any different to Apple? If you don’t like being exploited, that’s great — make a huge statement about it, and you’ll have my support. But how about making sure you’re not guilty of the very same tactic before you have a pop at someone else?

Photographers need to earn a living as well. Like Apple, you can afford to pay for photographs so please stop forcing us to hand them over to you while you prevent us from publishing them more than once, ever.

Just like a multibillion-dollar corporation responding to a Tumblr post, Swift’s U.K. team has already hit back at Sheldon’s grievances — though they appear to have mixed up tours. A U.K. spokesperson for Swift told Business Insider  the “standard” photo agreement has been “misrepresented in that it clearly states that any photographer shooting The 1989 World Tour has the opportunity for further use of said photographs with management’s approval.”

Sheldon’s complaints pertained to a 2011 concert photo authorization form via Swift’s Firefly Entertainment, and not for this year’s tour.

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Team Taylor went on to say “another distinct misrepresentation is the claim that the copyright of the photographs will be with anyone other than the photographer — this agreement does not transfer copyright away from the photographer. Every artist has the right to and should protect the use of their name and likeness.”

Sheldon responded to Swift’s rebuttal on Twitter, but said she has missed the point.

Billboard reached out to Swift’s U.S. rep and did not immediately hear back.