Monday, 23 August 2010

Banquet Records & photo usage

Before I get started with explaining whats happened between myself and Banquet Records, I would like to say that I know I'm not the first person this sort of thing has happened to and I won't be the last. I'm sure this won't even be the last time this happens to me.

The second thing I'd like to say is if you don't know me or haven't had any dealings with me when it comes to photos and photography but I hope this is something that comes across in my blog. I love taking photos, I love going to gigs and I'm not in this to get paid. I do it because of how it makes me feel. I don't watermark my photos and I try not to be too protective over them. I want people to see my images. I happily give bands, performers and venues my photos if they ask for them. It means a lot when someone wants to use my photos. I've turned down paid jobs because I don't believe my photos are worth the money. Most people I've given my photos to credit me or link back to my website/flickr/blog. This is all I want but by the same token I don't want people to take the piss and walk all over for me.

A couple of months ago I found that Banquet Records had used one of my Gallows photos for a poster to promote a Gallows gig they were putting on. I sent them an email and asked for a copy of the poster. Although I wasn't overly happy they had used the image without asking but it was Gallows so I was happy to see a poster with my image on.

At the start of August, Gallows were playing another show which was put on by Banquet Records and I saw when buying tickets that not only had they used another photo of mine (without asking) on this new poster but they were also selling copies.

I emailed them again and said that I wasn't happy about this being used again without permission and that I thought the selling of the poster was going a bit to far.

They sent me a few emails saying sorry and that they weren't making money on the posters, they were doing it for the fans and as something to take away. After a few emails back and forth I got them to add my name and website onto the poster and thought this would be the last of it. I could have demanded money or demanded the poster be taken down and not sold but what was the point? At least people were seeing my name on the poster.

I bought tickets for the show and they arrived on Saturday and inside there was a flyer for a Banquet Records run club night (New Noise) which had the same image on as the one used for the second poster. I felt like the fact that this was the third usage of one of my photos without asking was just going too far and felt like I was being walked over.

I emailed them and said...

I hate the fact that I'm having to write this email again but I just received my Gallows ticket and inside the envelope was a flyer for New Slang which has my photo on it (the same one used on the Peel gig poster) which once again has been used without my permission.

If the flyer was made before I emailed and complained then I feel let down by the fact you failed to mention that you'd used it more than once (are there any more instances of this image being used?). If those flyers are printed again I want the same credit line from the poster added to them.

If the flyer was made after I emailed, how could the same mistake happen again?

I am happy for you to use my photos if you let me know what they are being used for and ask permission (as well as provide credit).

If one of my photos is used again without my permission then I will take this matter further.

I don't think I've said anything wrong in this email but again, as this was the third usage without permission, I felt like I needed to say that if it happened a fourth time that I wouldn't just roll over and let it slide.

These were the two emails I received from different staff at Banquet records...

The New Noise flyers have rotating images at the top and are used for maybe a few weeks at a time when there is a memorable show that's appropriate for the club night. These were made the week after the show, long before you mailed originally. I've made so many variations of this flyer and they are such a small deal that I wouldn't have even thought about mentioning it. If it ended up in your ticket order it's probably just because the mail order flyers are the more out of date ones. I'm pretty sure it's not the one we're currently using but as I say...I do so many and they're used for such a short amount of time I don't know.

The poster was amended with the credit and hasn't been printed without it since.

As your last line suggests you will take further measures if this happens again...well obviously that won't happen again as we won't use any of the pics. We'll re-do the flyer tomorrow (when I'm actually at work, it's my day off right now). Also although as the photographer you do own the copyright to the image itself - on the same token the subjects of the photo have as much right to tell you you can't use it / profit from it unless you were issued a photo pass or given permission. The band were stoked on the pictures as it was one of their favourite ever shows and that's why they were used.

We simply do not have the time to go through every picture and credit it, which is why we have our own photographers at a lot of these events. As much as I appreciate you're just standing up for your art it will only serve to restrict the ability for anyone to bring cameras to shows in the future without approval / being issued a photo pass in advance, which is obviously not something we want to do.

And I mean jeeze, this would be different if we were Live Nation or any of those multi-national corporate promoters (who will have lots of small print about photos, model release stuff) but I mean...what exactly would be the point in taking anything further, If you want the broken chair with no back or the recycled garden furniture...sorry, workstation I use in our office you're welcome to it... :)

As I said, we will remove the photo and use the official one for the tour ASAP. Obviously we can't do anything about the ones that are already in circulation.


Hi Derek

Yeah, just want to re-iterate what **** said really.

First off, genuinely sorry that you’re pissed about it… but as Dave said this flyer was done long before that Gallows Peel show poster was done. . You were probably sent a NN flyer with Frank Gallows on specifically because you’d ordered a Gallows ticket. Other than that, this flyer isn’t in ‘ciruclation’ as such. We have, for years, used different images on an otherwise generic New Noise flyer. Recently there’s been some sick shows at the cocks, and its to show that off and celebrate it... Currently we’re using the New Found Glory picture here

I wasn’t at that cocks show as I was at a stag do. And maybe this is why something wasn’t clear at the time, but the general gentlemen’s agreement we have is that if we’re letting someone use a camera, at New Slang, at The Cocks, at anywhere we do shows, then they’ll always let us use the pictures for promo on our site etc. I really don’t know what to do about all this. Its left a bad taste in my mouth about why people would want to take photos at our shows. Shows that, in more cases than not lose us money. Punk shows, by punks for punks. The whole ethic seems to be missing through the tone of the ‘taking this matter further’ comment. As I said last time this came up (which is the same issue for us, but understandably not for you), I don’t want to get to a point where we have to make people with good cameras (does an i-phone count?) sign contracts for release of photos… Do we ban cameras entirely? I dunno.

But yeah, both Dave and I failed to inform you of a flyer that was created about 2 months ago, as, quite honestly, we have other stuff going on in a day we have to deal with. We should have told you and for not doing so I’m sorry. But that’s about it.

It wont happen again, and I wish we’d never had that Gallows show for the hassles a poster and flyer has caused

I found both their responses to be rude and disrespectful considering they were in the wrong. I found the fact they have said in several emails that they are to busy to ask photographers if it's OK to use their images. It's just bad practice as a company and a designer and I think it's quite unprofessional. I know quite a few designers who would never do this as it could get them in serious trouble.

I found the last line about how he wished he hadn't put on the Gallows show because of the hassle I've caused to be both rude to myself and the band.

I don't like the fact that they think that because they don't have a camera policy at the gigs they put that it automatically gives them to the right to use photos without permission. I don't understand how you can have a 'gentleman's agreement' without actually agreeing it with photographers.

I really didn't feel like I was going to get any further with them through emails and just felt all that would happen would be that we'd carry on arguing. I emailed back to make sure they were aware that I thought they were being rude and disrespectful.

This was the reply I got...


Leaving aside the fact I find the talk of ‘taking this further’ also disrespectful against one of Gallows’ biggest supporters over the last decade, I’m sorry you feel this way.

Like I said below, genuinely sorry you’re pissed and sorry we both forgot that those NN flyers were even made

The irony is that we do all this stuff to please music fans such as you…

Nothing has been done with that image since the first email, and it wont be at any point again.

Up until now I've always said good things about Banquet Records and had a lot of respect for them as they've put on good shows and seemed like one of the good guys. I don't think they've acted like it in this situation.

I'm a big Gallows fan and the last thing I want to do is cause trouble for them. I am always grateful of the opportunities they have given me. If I have annoyed you guys or you would prefer that I don't take photos of your band I'll understand. I just want to be treated fairly.

I'm not sure what I would like to happen from all this. I feel like they don't really get where they've gone wrong and I feel uncomfortable at the idea of photographing any of shows now because they've made me feel like I'm the bad guy for complaining and wanting some credit/acknowledge/respect. Not money. I'm not trying to screw the shop over.

If I've done or said something wrong or handled this situation badly then please feel free to let me know Hopefully some other photographers can learn something from this as well as maybe some bands, record labels and venues.

Asking a photographer for permission doesn't take much and a little bit of effort to credit photographers goes a long way.

Thank you my friends and other photographers who have been very supportive on Facebook and Twitter.


  1. Godamn that's fucking ridiculous. It's like emotional blackmail. If it was punks for punks doing it for the fans they wouldn't be screwing people for profit.

  2. I think its disgusting how they've tried to use the band's name as emotional blackmail. To not accept the blame and then go on the defensive with a backhanded apology is ridiculous. Grow up!

  3. What makes me laugh is the fact the first guy to reply didn't even have the decency to say sorry but instead tried to switch the blame back on you! Their replies are so immature, especially the one about how he wishes he hadn't put the show... on!
    Good for you sticking up for yourself, if you don't say something peoples images will continue to be taken without permission. Let's hope that BR sit back and think about what they've done and can see why you are upset rather than get defensive over it

  4. Dude, you've really not done anything at all wrong here. Banquet records are 100% in the wrong for not understanding, or acting respectfully to copyright laws. You own the rights to your photos, regardless of whether the photo was taken on ...their premises. If they have a "photo policy", they need to have it in writing and have you sign a piece of documentation before entry to say that you agree to their use of your photos. They cannot use your photos in "print" (with/without) a credit without your permission. That's what copyright laws are there for; and they haven't got a leg to stand on when it comes to the fact that the leaflets were created to promote an event and therefore were made for profit. (There is a great area for not for profit companies/ charities and obviously the internet is a big fat grey area). Fact is, they have PRINTED documentation with your photography on without a) your permission and b) without even crediting you. If they have a in-house photographers they use for promotion photos, they should use them.

    I know you're a nice person but this is ridiculous - 3 fucking times!!! Saying there a small company that doesn't make any money because it's punks doing it for punks, isn't really an excuse is it? They're acting like

    ps: please try not to take it personally. This isn't your fault and you're not being unreasonable. x

  5. hey
    this is jt. Im actually on that top flyer there.

    i think the thing that is important here is this... That flyer was made and done and forgotten about.

    Since then we'd spoken about the Gallows flyer, and come to an agreement. We'd apologised for taking the photo without crediting it. Agreed to do so in the future, and it was all done and dusted with no hard feelings.

    Then this flyer from yestermonth came up which we'd all forgotten about. And brought it all up again.

    If i was derek i would have found it hard to believe that we forgot this flyer had been done. Or that it wasnt done after those original conversations. Hopefully the date on the Useless ID flyer hints at it being a while old.

    Derek's had a bad experience here with us, but i think there's enough people out there who havent had such bad experiences.

    Yep mistakes were made, but i dont think that means the whole ethic on which we run this business is flawed.

    As i've said many times, genuinely sorry that there was this amount of ill feeling caused by ultimately being too busy in a day.

    But we'd sorted our differences until this old flyer from the original crime surfaced looking like an entirely different event.

    As both parties are fans of the band i think its a shame it got this far.

    email me if you wish

  6. I think it would be a nice "goodwill" gesture actually Jt to reinburse Derek for his Gallows' ticket (since you've essentially been getting his photos to use for free on your promo without any credit).

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  8. from what i understand, luisa, Derek's gripe isnt with not getting paid, its with not getting credited.

    but yeah, im sure there's some way of appeasing everyone. this hasn't come up before (as far as im aware) in the 13 years i've been putting on shows in Kingston, and i doubt it will again. its an unfortunate set of circumstances, but most photographers we have dealings with we get on very well with.

    i can't see why we cant put it all down to experience and move on... mistakes were made, yep, but we cant all bitch until november 26 and have it out in the pit can we..?

  9. First off I don't justify what Banquet have done, and their responses to you is not what you would expect when writing to them explaining your concerns. Having spoken to Jon about the usage of our videos promoting bands/shop/shows on the banquet sites I can say nothing but positive things about his work ethic.


    I find it hard to understand why you are so upset and would threaten to 'take matters further' when you say "I love taking photos, I love going to gigs and I'm not in this to get paid" when someone uses your images. Threatening people will only spark a negative response

    You haven't watermarked your images or stated not to be used without permission, this is leaving your images open to be used by anyone that can right-click and save. This does not justify that someone has used your picture on a commercial/promotional product but I feel that Banquet did explain themselves and apologise for this, they also offered and delivered promotion for you on the posters.

    I hope that you do watermark/tag in future, not only to protect your images but to also promote your work. They are good images, be proud of them.

  10. In this particular case I cannot see where BR apologised. Okay there is one apology in the second email, but what about the first responce? I don't see any apology there, in fact I have to agree with Del that I think it's quite disrespectful and rude.

    If the first email had just explained the situation and included an apology then I don't think this would have gone on to become such an issue, but instead it just goes on about how they're far too busy to credit anyone. They weren't too busy to surf the internet to find the photo that they subsequently stole though, were they?

  11. hey, '.'

    FWIW, there was a very real apology sent.. not all of our communications are online in this blog.

    again... we made a mistake. we apologise and apologised for it. but at this point, really, what should we do doing that we havent already done.

  12. I think the point of the matter is a point of pride... I think it's pretty obvious that DB just wanted a copy of the poster with his name on it. How fuckin' gnarly would that be if you're a big fan of the band? To see your name associated with that band... with a photo you took? Also I don't think it's too hard to understand why he would want to not be rolled over completely...

  13. I think that if BR had emailed back with a proper apology and not been so rude there wouldn't have been such a fuss. I get that the flyers had already gone out but DB just wanted to know why he hadn't been told since he'd spoken to BR about this image previously. There was no need to get so defensive when BR were in the wrong. Yes BR are a busy company and maybe lost track of what they'd used this image for but surely even a small company like BR are aware of copyright issues and I'm sure most other photographers would want to protect their art. I'm also sure if someone had asked in the first place DB would have been thrilled to have his pictures used and probably would have offered to take some specifically for BR (as always at no cost).

  14. JT: Thank you for your reply. It is a shame that it got this far but I felt like I was getting no where in emailing you guys about it. In my opinion it's taken this blog to get a decent, reasonable reply from you. So again thank you for that.

    It's not the fact that the photo was used, or the fact I wasn't credited, it was the fact that it was the third instance of this happening. Where you draw the line and say that you've gone two far?

    If you change your policy on cameras because of this it's a shame but I just want to be treated fairly.

    As I've said all along, I have no problem with you using the photos or using photos in the future and I even offered my services in a previous email if you didn't have a photographer. If you would prefer me to get in contact with you with beforehand with regards to bringing my camera to one of your shows then let me know.

    Dave: I've always avoided using watermarks because I don't like the way they look, I think they detract from photos and unless they are put right across the middle or across someones face, they can be easily cropped out. If I put them online at smaller sizes then I don't think they look anywhere near as good and it will be only me who loses out.

    The main places you can find my images are on my blog and on my flickr, both have my name and contact details in numerous places. I don't feel I need to watermark my images. Again, it was the third time they had been used and I didn't think their responses were reasonable. Again, how many times does it have to happen before it's too far?

    I think BR using your videos is totally different.

    Chanti: I'm not sure why you removed your comment and I would have like to have been able to reply to it.

    Basically I think everything that needs to have been said has been. Yes, I may have gone too far in 'airing this in public' on my 'self-important blog' but I have been trying to sort this out in private and felt like I wasn't getting anywhere. I also think it's pretty clear I didn't go 'straight on the attack'. If I have screwed myself over and come out of this looking bad then so be it.

  15. I'm sorry but if BR used an artists music for a promo clip for BR website without permission, there would be a solicitors email/letter heading to them straight away.

    All that was asked was a bit if credit that he went to the show, took amazing photos and also nearly got trampled on from start to finish :D

    For BR to right click and then Photoshop a poster without an email sent or even Dels name on the bottom is wrong, regardless that it's not watermarked.

    From what I can see by reading the email, even though there isn't any notification on entry or on the tickets sent, that if I take any photos or videos from the show, BR are entitled to use them.

    I would just like to see if the same approach would be used if Johnny Carters videos was taken for whatever reason and he contacted BR.

    You've got every right to be pissed Del!

  16. Apologies for the grammar, being annoyed, having predicted text and posting from an iPhone doesn't help!

  17. I just find it sad that not once did Del say NO to the images being used, nor did he ask for MONEY.

    There really isn't actually a big problem here, it is a matter on Banquet Records being lazy in their "punk" approach to business and graphic design and using people's fully copywrited images and fully NAMED websites just like a Tumblr.

    Also considering Del isn't a whiney photography student or a pretentious photographer from a magazine ranting about money, but instead he's a dedicated, passionate and ALWAYS appreciative photographer, who (just like Banquet Records, I'm sure) is trying to gain recognition and appreciation for the great work that he does (and can I say, BR have OBVIOUSLY recognized this - evidentially TWO posters and flyer). But hey - what's in a name hey?

    Also, Del even offered to take photos for BR without any gain or return from them, which would mean more rights for BR and great photos of BR's great bands and gigs. I think this was a noble thing to do, and BR shouldn't of got so defensive when there was an olive branch before all this kicked off good and proper.

    Perhaps even just considering in future that people are as passionate and as "punk" as you, Banquet Records, and these photos (especially to this photographer) and someone's talent and creativity and pictures of bands they admire- and you can't blame someone for sticking up for their art - that surely deserves a one lined email just to ask, or merely inform.

    What this actually all boils down to is better communication between people supporting, promoting and actively participating in the SAME scene. And perhaps a little common decency!

    Finally, considering Jon's/BR's communication during this time, and twice the Twitter comments I have received, I'd say "You're photos are great- can we use them?" doesn't take more than 140 characters, or two minutes out of your time.

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