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Red Bull rights grab: photographers respond

27 August 2001 - EPUK

The BJP editor Jon Tarrant has tried to pass off the Red Bull rights-grab fiasco as a storm in a tea-cup, but it’s been more like a brawl in a cow pat, and just as messy.

Tarrant to, and on, photographers

In reply to mail about BJP and Red Bull:

“As for forums ‘expressing disappointment with the BJP’, such concerns should be addressed to the magazine – assuming that the people concerned have the balls.”

“Be warned that I will name the names of AoP members who sign away rights one day while getting all high and mighty another.”

“We’ll fight this one out in public – if you dare!”

“It would be very unprofessional to moan about BJP in another magazine – and I would STRONGLY suggest that you run any such letter by your lawyers because our management is very quick to seize on anything that can get them some extra money.”

“If work is thin on the ground, the last thing you want is a law suit. Please understand this is NOT a threat, but a friendly caution.”

In reply to photographers on the BJP Professional Forum:

“I would like to ask what Forum readers think is meant by a ‘rights grab’? ”

“I don’t think this is a bad deal.”

On hearing that photographers were discussing the BJP on EPUK:

“I must stress that I take these reports very seriously indeed, and that despite being a private arena the EPUK forum will almost certainly still constitute ‘publishing’ under British law – with all the implications that brings for inaccurate reports that are damaging to us in any way.”

Photographers’ opinions on Tarrant, the BJP and Red Bull

From the BJP Professional Forum:

“It doesn’t set a good precedent for those starting in the business, and the mag’s stance doesn’t set a good example to anyone.”

“Seems to me that this is exactly the sort of promotion that NO working photographer would consider…unless they had no thought to future income…future business….future of the industry…..future retirement.”

“It’s a LOSE LOSE situation .”

“BJP has set a very bad precedent by defending ‘work for free’ arrangements especially as your magazine is read by students who might think that this is a normal business arrangement.”

“You must be out of your box.”

“Embarrassingly naive.”

“Come on John….wake up & smell the coffee.”

“Here is a magazine that supposedly represents the voice of British Photography supporting such a blatant example of ripping off photographers copyright.”

“It’s the last time I’ll pick up the BJP – if any other pro photographer across here sees me with it I’ll be a laughing stock!”

“Colleagues are asking me with dismay – this is a professional photographers journal in the UK? Thank god for the War of Independence and a strong US Copyright Act!”

“You appear to be suggesting that signing away one’s copyright is a creditable action, to be endorsed by the BJP.”

“All I can say is that it must be a sorry bunch of misfits in the editorial offices of BJP, if they can not see what is wrong with the Red Bull deal. I mean misfits in the sense that, they should not be working for a journal that is supposed to have the interests of professional photographers at heart.”

“Following is my comment regarding the BJP editorial comment on the Red Bull extreme sports: f*** you- cancel my subscription”

And EPUK members wrote:

“Cynical in the extreme.”

“There will be only one winner of the Red Bull in Focus competition, and it will not be a photographer.”

“Detrimental and harmful to the future of professional photographers and the photographic industry.”

“I am shocked and surprised at Mr Tarrant’s aggressive attitude. He seems to be spoiling for a fight. I sure his publishers would be interested to learn of how he is alienating his potential readers and threatening legal action.”

“I for one will not be renewing my subscription.”

“All this talk of balls and horns etc. leaves me wondering if their might be a bad case of foot and mouth at BJP towers?”

“I do not subscribe to BJP but I was a regular purchaser; I say was, as I will not be buying in future .”

“This proposition – work for a day, we might give you paid work in the future – would seem absurd applied to any other profession. Try it with an accountant, plumber, taxi driver, bank, programmer, indian takeaway, magazine editor or corporate PRO. Why are photographers so desperately insecure and feeble-minded that they’d even think about it?”

“Blinding arrogance.”

“I note Tarrant didn’t have ‘the bollocks’ to publish any of the criticism he has received.”

“Talk about losing/alienating/patronising your readers.”

“It is depressing and exasperating to see BJP join the corporate war on photographers’ copyright by sponsoring the Red Bull competition. Free pics for Red Bull, free copy for BJ, anopportunity to work for nothing and give up all rights for some freelances.”

“Competitions on these terms are a casting couch, that’s all : ‘let us fuck you and we might give you a break, honey’. Sickening.”

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