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SPJ signs open letter to entertainers on restrictive press credentials


Nov. 16, 2015

Paul Fletcher, SPJ National President, 804-873-1893, pfletcher.spj@gmail.com
Maggie LaMar, SPJ Communications Coordinator, 317-920-4785, mlamar@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS— The Society of Professional Journalists has joined Newspaper Association of America, the National Press Photographers Association and other media groups in signing an open letter regarding onerous credentialing requirements that entertainers are increasingly attempting to impose on journalists covering their events.

The impetus for the letter are the conditions that several entertainers, including Janet Jackson and Foo Fighters, have placed on journalists covering their events. Such credentialing conditions include restricting photos to 30 seconds only during the first and second songs, demanding that entertainers be the legal co-owner of any photos taken, reserving the exclusive right to use any photos for “commercial purposes,” and claiming that they get to pre-approve all photos before they are published in print or online.

Other celebrities and sports teams have sought to impose similar restrictions, which fly in the face of the important principle that photojournalists are the sole owners of their own intellectual property. The issue is particularly important for freelancers, who may often feel that they have no choice but to sign these credentialing agreements.

The letter calls out entertainers for demanding to view photos before journalists publish them. It also is against the demand that all photos taken become the rights of the entertainer.

“It seems that entertainers have been increasing restrictions on journalists covering their events. What they fail to realize is how helpful these journalists are to their brand and their careers,” said SPJ president Paul Fletcher. “These demands keep journalists from doing their jobs and maintaining ownership of their work.”

Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. For more information about SPJ, please visit spj.org.


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