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Arch Enemy - Issue Statements Regarding Photographer Copyright Dispute

A few days ago, Metal Blast published an article explaining how their photographer, J Salmeron, has been blacklisted from photographing Arch Enemy after a copyright dispute over the supposed commercial use of one of his photos without permission, of the band's singer, Alissa White-Gluz, by a clothing company, Thunderball Clothing, which made a piece of clothing that Alissa was wearing in said photo. The photographer claimed that the fee usually associated with the use of his photo would be ?500, but would be willing to let them continue using it if they donated ?100 to a certain cancer charity. The band and the company removed the photo and blacklisted the photographer. Now both the company and Alissa have released statements regarding the dispute.

The Thunderball Clothing statement reads as follows:

"I would like to publicly apologise Mr J. Salmeron for reposting one of the photos he took, on my Instagram page, without having his permission. When few months ago I was reposting his photo from the Instagram page of the Arch Enemy singer Alissa White-Gluz, I was simply proud that such a great artist is wearing a clothing piece that I made, and wanted to share these news with my followers. As I did the repost with an app that included all original credits and watermarks, I thought that it's OK. I meant no harm, and it wasn't my intention to promote any product, however, I do agree that it might looked like that, and I understand that the author of the photography could feel upset about it. And I am sorry about it."

"After I received an email message from J. Salmeron, who introduced himself as a lawyer and author of the photography, I interpreted it as another spam or scam (well, all of us receive this kind of emails all the time). I saw the amount of 500 Euro and the name of Alissa White-Gluz, from whom I reposted mentioned photo, so without going deeper into that message, I did what I thought was most logic - I contacted her, forwarded the original message that I got, and asked her what to do. I was instructed to take down the photo (what I immediately did), and was informed that someone else will take care of it. That again seemed logic, as I was aware that I'm not at the position of taking any actions on behalf of Arch Enemy, nor their members. I had no other contact with J. Salmeron, I haven't heard from him since then, and to be honest, for the last 6 months I had no idea that something is wrong, especially as the photo was taken down.

"That being said, I would like to apologise to J. Salmeron once again. Not only I'm willing to discuss with him how to compensate him and fix the situation, but also how to make sure similar situation won't happen ever again. After all, we're all playing in the same team, and we all have one thing in common. We love music.

"Marta Gabriel, Thunderball Clothing

Edit: Thunderball Clothing also published an update to their statement, which reads as follows:

"As many of you seems to follow this story, here's an update, and a final statement (you can see my previous statement and an apology from December 28 below [in this case above])."

"The photographer, J. Salmeron, accepted my apology for reposting the photo he took, without having his permission, and as this was his request, I made a donation to the charity organization of his choice (the Dutch Cancer Society). I believe we can say this ends the dispute between us."

"However, as I'm not able to handle the amount of hate and threats that I received and keep on receiving, I decided to do what I think is best in this situation. To end the being known as Thunderball Clothing (it's hard to use a word "company" here, as since day one it was just one person - me). I apologise for not being strong enough, and for not being next Internet hero that keep on saying "haters gonna hate". Within last 2 days I received literally hundreds of comments and messages that I'm a whore, a nazi, a communist, a worthless cunt, and that I either should quickly die, or that I should kill myself. There is no anger in me, and I apologise everyone that felt hurt or upset by this situation. Anyway, there is no Thunderball Clothing anymore. You won.

Alissa White-Gluz also published the following statement:

"In early June, I reposted a photo of myself on instagram from a concert photographer, which is common practice. The photo was already posted to Instagram by the photographer himself. I like doing this because it is a way to say thank you and tip my hat to photographers and usually there is a nice symbiotic relationship between bands and photographers this way. If you follow my socials you know this is something we all enjoy. His watermark was visible, the photo was unaltered and he was tagged and credited in the caption, the way we always do it. The girl who made the outfit I am wearing in the photo, Marta, reposted my post shortly after that. She didn't print it, didn't use it commercially, didn't upload or copy it - she reposted it with a free Instagram application called "get_repost", like many of you do. She was just happy to repost the news that I wear her creations (one of a kind clothing items we designed together, not a product that you can buy), and share it with her followers. 99% of the time, this is how this online world functions like a supportive community and everyone wins this way. Often, photographers send us folders of photos in hopes that we like them and we post those, always with their name and credit. We really felt we were doing just THAT."

"The photographer of this particular photo was ALWAYS fully credited for the ENTIRE duration of his photo being on my Instagram and Marta's. As soon as he expressed discontent the posts were immediately removed. There was never ANY attempt made by Thunderball or Arch Enemy to use that photo for commercial use, and certainly not without compensation. To our understanding, since there was nothing being sold or advertised in the posts, it was not commercial, but we still took his concerns seriously and immediately took the photo down. To be clear, this is not a photographer Arch Enemy hired, this is one of the hundreds of photographers who are in the photo pit at festivals. Once the photographer stated he wanted a fee for online use, we immediately (within minutes) agreed to remove the posts (which were online for a few days at most) so as to avoid any complications. If we were going to use a photo for any commercial application, we would pay them and there would be a contract ahead of time, like we always do and have done with hundreds of photographers."

"Marta forwarded us an email from a lawyer saying she owed 500 euros, was in breach of copyright and the email included payment method information. Marta goes by the name Thunderball Clothing online and is a fellow musician, artist and one-woman clothing maker from Poland. We tried to explain that this photo isn't selling anything, it is showing off the custom outfit I am wearing, but the emails felt more and more coercive, so we simply removed the posts. There was no product for sale in the photo and no attempt to keep using the photo once the photographer stated his discontent. I understand that there are laws in place that dictate when and how a photo can be used, although promotional online use is usually appreciated, especially when it provides exposure for all parties involved. But, the photographer was unhappy with the reposts so we removed them, plain and simple."

"We didn't want any trouble so we deleted the posts and thought that was the end of it since we had no contact since June. Normally, in my experience, people are happy to see the subject of their photo sharing their work and its a beautiful thing to be able to have one concert experience be a platform for musicians, lighting directors, clothing designers, photographers, sound engineers and fans alike all sharing in the art that is created."

"All that happened here was I simply posted a photo of myself with full credit, watermark and tagging, then took it down when a lawyer contacted my friend who was among several pages that reposted it. Lots of fan pages are run by teenagers in countries where there may be different laws or a language barrier, who might not understand, and I didn't want them to end up with some lawyer's letter in their inboxes, and I know they like to repost things I post, so I just took it down. I'm not really sure why this non-issue has been twisted to scapegoat us 6 months after the fact, especially considering we simply did what he asked and the last interactions I had with him, personally, were pleasant."

"We reserve the right, however, to decide who is allowed to photograph our shows and after having corresponded with him we didn't want any more issues like this in the future, especially when passes are limited and we know so many photographers who love having the opportunity to get a photo pass and have fun with us at shows."

"In conclusion, no one from Arch Enemy nor Thunderball ever denied paying the photographer in question for the commercial use of his photo: We simply did not use it.

Finally, the band's former singer and current manager, Angela Gossow, posted the following on Facebook:

"We did not infringe any copyright. A picture got re-posted and tagged (not on my or Arch Enemy's page). Then I got forwarded an email by Juan introducing himself as a lawyer and photographer and claiming money for said image -We had it removed immediately."

"Copyright issues, photographers on site we have no rights or choice to decide over what they do with the imagery does make artists feel vulnerable. The result: artists are trying to gain control over the situation again by having photographers sign a bunch of paperwork. We haven't done anything like that so far."

"There was some miscommunication and misunderstanding along the way, I am sorry if I offended anybody. I got angry. If he would have just introduced himself as a photographer I would have reacted differently as opposed to be receiving a lawyers correspondence, which feels threatening to me. To clarify: there was no extortion or threat in a legal sense."

"All the best to you, have a great new year. Angela"

Edit: Angela Gossow has published another statement:

"Dear whoever is interested in the subject,"

"I am reacting to the bully rally this photographer has set lose with his well crafted (he took 6 months to get it done and released), well timed mash up of different subjects at hand."

"The details often get lost in the emotion of the narrative - and the narrative is often controlled by who presents the story first. Mr photographer threw a bunch of different things into one pot and highly emotionalized it. Lets differentiate:"

"1) Copyright issue."

"Arch Enemy did not post any of his pictures, no breach of copyright there. Alissa only re-tagged his image and got written permission of said photographer and actually got asked to re-post, after she fearfully removed the said photo. She refrained from doing so. Conclusion: Zero involvement oft he band or Alissa in any of the addressed matters. Leave Arch Enemy and Alissa out of it."

"2) Thunderball clothing / Marta:"

"The lady re-posted the picture and said 'thank you for wearing my custom made outfit' along with it. Copyright breach, as this can be interpreted as commercial use. Not intentionally, because she wasn't aware of that fine line - a lot of people on the internet are not actually. Anything you re-post is a breach of copyright actually. She removed as well immediately. She did not react to the donation request because she was not sure if its scam. Donating to a cancer research fund is not going to buy her the rights to use the photo commercially. Only a paid invoice to said photographer would do. So why didn't he just invoice the 500 EUR and went ahead and donated it to said charity? That would have been much more transparent in every aspect."

"The internet hate campaign has destroyed Marta's business - all existing customers have cancelled their orders and/or returned their orders. She has received numerous death threads, accusations of being a Nazi and worse. She has closed her shop she built up for 8 years over this. Is mistake really that severe to justify this? NO. Is it justified to destroy an artist over this? NO."

"3) Angela Gossow, management:"

"This is an unfortunate situation and a private business conversation that was never meant for public consumption (unethical and contrary to the code of conduct for European lawyers) was being abused for this campaign. I was doing my position in my efforts to aggressively represent and protect my client and her business partner. I'm sorry that this has been made public and the issues are now misconstrued. I am personally shocked by the fact a business dispute turned into such a destructive wave of hate."

"The claim I had him blacklisted with all agents, festivals etc is false! I did inform my circle of people I do not want him in the Arch Enemy photo pit again. I did not ask any promoters, festivals, magazines or whoever to ban him. Mr. photographer, give me one person who has removed you from their payroll because of me. Nobody? Thank you."

"Why I changed some words in my previous posts - I received a legal letter from said Mr. photographer asking me to, otherwise he would pursue me legally for my wordings. The same happened to Alissa and Jeremy Saffer, who took his entire post down. So those going out on the fence defending us are being silenced. Freedom of speech? No, I don't think so. I am sure I will have to edit some of this post as well because I expect to receive a legal letter from him again within the next 24 hours. Just saying."

"Oh, and I took away the word sheep because those people who damaged Marta beyond repair, who are threatening Alissa and me in very serious ways are not sheep - they are much worse. They are bullies."

"We wish to move on from this and wish Mr Photographer the best with the career."

"You are welcome to discuss on my Facebook page - no comments disabled. I will not tolerate any threats concerning my person, my family and my friends. These will be pursued.

"Thank you for your time to read this.

Has this settled anything? Give us your thoughts.

Band profile: Arch Enemy
Posted: 29.12.2018 by RaduP

Comments page 2 / 2

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Comments: 32   [ 1 ignored ]   Visited by: 329 users
31.12.2018 - 13:24
Cynic Metalhead
Paisa Vich Nasha
Written by nikarg on 31.12.2018 at 11:18

Angela strikes again.

AE lost hefty while producing absolutely shitty records. Having said that, Gossow who studied Economics knows AE's balance sheet and I don't think it looked good in "Profit & Loss" account section. Now, the best Gossow trying to attempt is to muddle the whole shit.
01.01.2019 - 14:35

Don't care, still wanna bang the vegan smurf.

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