American alternative band Red Jumpsuit Apparatus couldn’t have handled a copyright infringement any worse than if they had defecated on Sydney-based photographer Rohan Anderson’s backyard themselves.
The whole ordeal started with a single square filtered image. Sometime yesterday, RJA posted a photo on their Facebook, which immediately acquired likes in the hundreds. This photo was shot taken by Anderson in Sydney in 2013 during an RJA show.
Anderson admits in his blog post about the drama that it’s not uncommon for bands he’s photographed to use his photos without permission; but he points out that he usually lets those go because they give him credit and thank him for it. Unfortunately this time around, not only did RJA completely forgot to give him credit for the photo in question, they also cropped the original image (and thus removing his watermark) and added some sort of photo filter. To add insult to injury, the photo’s quality was greatly reduced.
This, of course, hit a nerve, as it would any artist whose work has been altered and used without permission. So Anderson emailed the band, informing them of the copyright violation and asking them to either take the image down or pay for its use.
Granted his email and his follow-up FB message were a tad icy (see them in his blog post); but the way the band handled the situation just added fuel to the fire, responding with a smiley face, an arrogant “lol go for it” response, and a management email claiming that Anderson has no legal claim on his photo, HIS OWN photo. They even went so far as trying to ban Anderson from all their shows and implying that as an unknown photographer, he should consider it an honor for a world famous band such as RJA (we don’t know about that…) to use his image. To make matters worse, they started involving the magazine Anderson shot the image for and their social media followers and fans, instead of keeping the issue private.
Unsurprisingly, the arrogant way they handled the situation blew up in their faces. We’re pretty sure the artistic community and a chunk of their fans didn’t respond well to their claim, as they were later forced send to out a public apology (well, sort of) on Twitter. But even then, they still tried to have the final word on the matter by posting this on their FB account:
“We believe most forms of DIGITAL art should be FREE! To prove this, our new record and ENTIRE discography will be posted July 4th!”
We don’t know how this whole drama will affect RJA’s fan base but they sure have shown the world what a bunch of conceited and egotistic musicians they are. Talk about pulling a Beiber. It’s funny that just a few days ago, the band posted the words “Every action in this world will bear a consequence,” on that same FB page. They should have heeded their own advice.