Girl left alone

NORWEGIAN photographers, television and newspapers solidly boycotted Dolly Parton, a country singer, when she played Oslo Spectrum on 15 March. And why were they reprising Girl left alone, the B-side of her 1959 debut single?

Because, as you may have guessed, her management had presented photographers and media with contracts limiting them to using pictures just the one time, only  with a write-up of the gig - and stipulating no close-up pictures.

Ann-Magrit Austenå of the Norwegian Journalists’ Union (www.nj.no) reports that there had been an informal word-of mouth-action boycott of an earlier Norwegian concert in Bergen. The Norwegian Broadcasting Company NRK did cover this, but a local newspaper which sent a photographer decided not to publish anything. After the Bergen concert all media organisations in Norway, representing journalists, photographers, editors and publishers from all media sectors, joined forces and encouraged all members to boycott the Oslo concert.

Ironically, Dolly Parton herself made a significant stand for Authors’ Rights when Elvis’s management demanded all rights in her I Will Always Love You. She refused, and they declined to let him record it under normal cover version terms, with royalties. Years later Whitney Houston did it, and Dolly raked in her due. Perhaps she's not aware of what her management is doing.

Europe-wide guidelines

On 5 April the European Federation of Journalists issued guidelines on photographers' access to events. These say that photographers "should be free to take pictures whenever they want and how they want, only limited by the principles of ethical journalism" and call on them to "refuse to sign any contract which deprives them of their ownership rights over their work or any contract which forces them to submit their pictures for prior authorisation before broadcast or publication in any form."

The full guidelines are available via www.ifj.org/default.asp?index=4804  

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