Mastodon @ Soundwave Festival

Soundwave Festival Perth 2014

So like the Big Day Out in February of this year, it was confirmed that the 2014 edition of the Soundwave festival would be the last time the festival traveled to Perth, so in the space of 2 months Perth loses two big festivals. The festival organiser AJ Maddah confirmed that rising costs of staging the event and lack of support of local governments was to blame for ending the Perth leg of the festival.

Now while some of that is true AJ also has accept some of blame on this matter as his negotiation skills can be quite abrasive which has led to some bands cutting ties with him and his company Soundwave touring over the years but anyway there is not much we can do about it now.

The day itself was quite hectic as I was one of two photographers covering the event for Spaceship News and I’d ended up photographing 13 bands on the day which is a new record for me in terms  as that is the most bands I’ve covered in a single day. It was also the 3rd time I’ve covered the festival and the thing is, that I’ve covered it at 3 different venues (Steel Blue Oval, Claremont Showgrounds and Arena Joondalup) and the strange fact is that I’ve covered in even number years (2010, 2012 & 2014). My festival highlights of the day were Testament, Mastodon, AFI, Green Day (only for 1 song) and Korn. You can check out my photos from here.

Rolling Stone Magazine

Rolling Stone Australia Magazine, February 2014 Edition

Rolling Stone Australia Magazine

Now here is something I’d thought that would never happen, in the February 2014 edition of Rolling Stone Australia magazine 2 of my photos got published in the magazine, now before you say to me “well done” or “awesome” there is a story here that you might find a bit amusing. First of all I’d never knew the magazine were going to publish my photos (yep you read that right!) nor did they contact me directly via email or on the phone asking me permission or to say that they were going to use my photos or didn’t even offer to send me a copy of the Feb 2014 edition.

The sad thing was I was actually contacted on FaceBook by another photographer based in Melbourne who also found out that some of his shots were used in the same edition as mine.

Now for the record we’ve both been credited by the magazine which is nice and it’s good that they did that, but the question remains how the hell did they get those shots from?

I’d suspect they got them from my Flickr page where I’d had a Creative Commons licence on all my photos. When I’d signed up at Flickr a while ago (circa 2008) the licence at the time stated that anyone can use the photos from my Flickr page but a photo credit must applied to them and they must contact me if they wanted to use the photos for any commercial purposes.

However a couple of years ago all the licences on the site were updated and as I was reviewing these in wake of this event I found out that they didn’t have to contact me if they wanted to use my photos for commercial purposes, but they still had to give me a photo credit. Now if they did go down this way, than that’s fair enough they did nothing wrong according to the licence but it would’ve been nice to get an email or phone call from them.

The photos that appear on the page (Josh Pyke and Seth Sentry) were shot for The AU Review website as these shots were featured in 2 seperate festivals photo galleries (Southbound 2011 and Groovin The Moo 2013) were the only other places they could have got them from but once again I’m speculating here as I still don’t know to this day how they got those photos. I’ve contacted the magazine via their FaceBook page but they haven’t responded back and in wake of this event I’ve ditched the Creative Commons licences on my Flickr page and now have gone to the standard  “All rights reserved” which is a shame that it had to come to that but now if anyone else wants to use my photos they have to ask me first now.

Now you’re probably thinking why I’m making a big fuss about this? Well first of all I usually don’t get paid for my live music photography, so whenever I’d shoot for Spaceship News or The AU Review (or in the past FasterLouder) I do it for the love of it, I enjoy seeing live music and photography is one of my favourite hobbies. Second of all the internet has made things a bit more difficult for photographers in terms of copyright and ownership rights, every now and then we have to sign photo release forms that place restrictions on our art on where they can be seen.

So out of all of this I’ve learnt a big lesson and I’ve put in measures to make sure that I can control the use of my images around the internet and if certain publications want use my photos, they will have to get in touch with me first instead of taking them without asking. Let that also be a lesson to all potential photographers in general, read up on all the licensing options and copyright restrictions before you put your images up on sites like Flickr, Getty, ThinkStock or iStock, because learning that information and keeping up to date with will save you headaches down the track.

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