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Washington City Paper Refuses To Take Pictures At Foo Fighters’ 20th Anniversary Blowout In D.C.


Concert photographers may have started a war and it’s not going to stop. A week ago, photographer Jason Sheldon denounced Taylor Swift’s hypocrisy and accused her of robbing photographers of their work. The authorization form given to photographers at her concerts revealed that they can’t do anything with the pictures taken at her concert, can’t sell them to other media outlets, whereas it gives to Swift the authorization to use the pictures whenever she wants. A similar story is happening regarding the Foo Fighters, and it’s bad timing because they have a historic 4th of July gig in Washington DC this weekend!

They will be playing with Buddy Guy, Gary Clarck Jr, Heart, Joan Jett, LL Cool J and a few others to celebrate a huge 20th anniversary blowout at RFK Stadium, but the Washington City Paper’s website is declaring that there will be no photos taken during the event, because the proposed contract is again ‘exploitation of photographers, pure and simple’.

‘If a streaming music service tried to use the band’s music for free, they’d have none of it. That’s what the Taylor Swift-Apple blowup was about. But 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,’ continues the article.

And people who pretend that every band proposes this exact same contract, are wrong! The article takes the best example ever, the Rolling Stones: ‘In a conversation with the band’s management, City Paper was told that these types of contracts are “standard” and they “protect the band.” But that’s not even close to being true. The Rolling Stones, to name one huge act, aren’t demanding newspapers sign over their pictures and the Stones are in the middle of selling out half of the stadiums in North America.’

But the best part of this story is still to come? The newspaper has found a way to get around the contract, they are simply asking their readers to send their best pictures:

‘The great irony of all of this is that there will be tens of thousands of cameras in the audience at RFK in the form of smartphones, something that the band and its overzealous management company can’t police. If you take a great photo of the show, send it to us at or tweet it @WCP. If we run it in next week’s print edition, we’ll pay you for it. And we won’t ask you to sign over the copyright or your first born, either.’

Isn’t it smart? This means that Grohl, despite his false coolness is no better than Swift… Maybe the bands which practice this type of contract will get the message, but who needs another picture of Dave Grohl anyway?

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