A real world response to your Copyright, Rant: An open response to Taylor Swift’s rant against Apple

Dear Jason Sheldon,

I am responding to your Copyright, Rant: An open response to Taylor Swift’s rant against Apple

First, I am just a mom of two, a new teacher at 47, old hair stylist for 20 plus years, and an occasional amateur artist who got a little perturbed by your sense of self-entitlement. An ugly trait, it is tragically prevalent in today’s society appearing to be the central cause for so much lackadaisical mediocrity.

I cannot help noting you have chosen to address Taylor Swift personally with your concerns. However, later you edited your note stating that in fact your issue is not with the specific artist, Taylor Swift. She stood strong in her conviction about her copyrighted material, persevering to the benefit of her music peers by refusing to release her content to apple. In fact, you clarified that your issue should actually be addressed to the publishers who contract you to take the photographs. As noted in your edit I quote,

Edit: it seems the circumstances of the contract aren’t clear to some readers, who assume this is a work for hire contract presented for being hired and/or paid by Taylor Swift.

That is not the case.. As a freelance photographer, I am asked to photograph concerts by publications. I get paid IF and when the photos are used, not for turning up to a show and shooting it. Therefore, if the newspaper has a bigger story to run and doesn’t have enough room to use my photo, I don’t get paid.

When I’m not allowed to do anything else with the photos, that means I’ve incurred expenses to work, which I can’t recover. Therefore preventing me from licensing my photos to more than one publication, or even (as later versions of this contract stipulate) preventing me from using the images for my own self promotion in a portfolio etc while they can use them without licensing the usage is highly unfair and unjustified.

I did not want to just respond without giving your argument for debate thorough analysis and thought. I understood that you are relating to her letter as a fellow artist who also wishes for fair compensation and arrears for your art. Like so many hard working souls from graphic designers, architects, to hair stylist like Vidal Sassoon artistic thought is at the center of your career. For you the value of your art depends on the purpose, focus point, originality of, and rights to your chosen medium.

The twist in your argument’s approach comes to me when I ask myself what your medium of art is and how it is marketed. You are a photographer not of the Ansel Adams sort who treks off into territories carrying the sole risk, unique interpretation, and cost of his artistic interest himself. You do not want to wait until favor is found in your art and your endeavors so that they were published and sponsored solely for their artistic value. Your medium is commercial and your points of artistic focus have been previously branded and are the intellectual commodities of another artist. Much like Andy Warhol and the Campbell’s Soup can or the images of celebrities, the focus art has a previous intellectual property owner. Also, you are not an artist for art’s sake; you do not accept the concept of a starving artist until your work is appreciated and give value by the masses. Your medium and professional purpose changes your rights to the intellectual property you work with.

You are seeking definite compensation for a job done, photography. You are a contracted professional who specializes in the sale of images. You suspended your right as an artist to seek future revenue for the intellectual property you produce, when you sought possible immediate monetary value for your labor instead. Just as a person writing computer code while working as a contracted agented for a big computer company knows, what you create while contracted on the job belongs to the “man”. You knew the terms going in and you gambled as many individuals do when they choose the freedom of freelance work. Sometimes you win and some time you lose but if you roll the dice and lay the chips down you accept the risk.

Your work within your chosen artistic medium specific to musicians and celebrities is much more like that of a studio engineer, another very gifted artistic profession. He or she uses their artistic prowess as a filter through which the musicians and singers focus their own artist efforts. The difference is as a free-lance photographer you request to be present in their moment. If your work is considered influential, an artistic concept trusted then you are be able to negotiate a stronger contractual relationship. If at completion of an engineers work, there is no use for the content or there is cause for concern about the quality of the product then the original artist has rights as defined within the contract in advance of completion. You are suffering the same fate in relation to your work as the engineer.

You do not dress or stage your point of artistic focus, the celebrity, during the events and/or concerts you photograph. You photograph their presentation of art so you are also a filter of their artistic energy. All the work you create while photographing your point of focus is conceptualized by (in your example) Taylor Swift herself and the team she has chosen to employ. And, given her current celebrity status they have excelled. You are there to capture high quality pictures of those moments. The value of your art comes from the stature, celebrity and creativity of personal branding achieved by the artist whose image you are capturing. If you are the chosen staff photographer asked to follow an artist on tour you photograph what you are ask, when they ask. If you believe, you contribute more you need to negotiate your terms giving value the extended work you do.

As you state in your note you are a contracted agent. The publisher is using the celebrity’s artistic image to sale and promote their publication, a benefit to both the celebrity and publisher. If there is no benefit to them then there is no need to pay you. Therefore, it would appear you are being paid according to a typical free-lance arrangement. It behooves you to keep YOUR brand in mind when negotiate the terms of your contracts. If the individual employing you does not see benefit in reimbursing you based on different terms and you do not wish to give away your images, you are free to do as Taylor did and say “No Thank You”, moving on.

Moreover, in investigating how many other professionally artistic individuals are paid it appears your reimbursement is a common approach across many fields. I choose studio engineers as my primary focus because both industries, yours and theirs, seem to have similar concerns about payment for artistic efforts. However, the approach by music studio engineers and their explanation for what is causing the devaluation of their work within the artistic medium, talent versus engineer, is very different. Many of the articles I read sited engineers working too cheap or free as the catalyst that has pushed compensation down. Those articles made me look back at the contract you showed as evidence an ask myself, should you and your whole industry see more value in your own work? Are “you” the cause of your own complaints, selling yourselves short? Yes, Taylor stood up for herself and in doing so, she benefited her peers. How are your peers behaving?

Consider that you may be taking the wrong lesson from her efforts. Maybe you should also refuse not to sign a contract to release your art if you will not be compensated, all while still allowing it to be used commercially? You are not offering up pictures of Taylor to an art gallery to wait for sell to a heartfelt buyer who loves YOUR work like Andy Warhol. These pictures sell because they are of the celebrity. Why are your peers accepting work instead of refusing to release their pictures until contractual norms are changed for everyone? Your industry has some real heavy weights who could shake things up if they wanted too.

Humanity tends to be its own worst enemy in this dog eat dog world so ask yourself; do you actually own her image as a work of art when you photograph her under contract to a publication? In that setting, are you barrowing a moment in her artistic expression to promote yourself? I respect what she did but I also get your point about fair compensation for your artistic expression. Nevertheless, as a contracted photographer working with celebrates you are not acting solely as an artist at that moment, the intellectual property is not individually yours.

Remember you have described the tough part of being an artistic person working in a white-collar field contracted profession, publication. In that setting, you are not an artist. It is a bottleneck career where only a few people find their way to the top to command respect. Taylor Swift aligned herself with her fellow artist still fighting their way to the top there by offering validity to their struggle while protecting her own interest. She functioned as a smart businesswoman who understand her value and the importance of appearances. Are your fellow photographers doing the same? I think you are gripping at the wrong group of artist. Change will require you and your peers to fix this problem within your own industry. Stand together or accept your fate knowing which battle you are really fighting.

Alternatively, you could change your career path and become an artist who works to create an original product, building your own concept from the ground up. As always with art, the value of your endeavors would lay in the hands of those who choose to purchase it. Art is subjective. Take pictures of images for which you can establishing your intellectual rights to first, and then offer them out for publication in the artistic arena instead of the commercial. Wait and see if the commercial takes an interest moving forward from there. Of course, that limits your access and resources, no free media passes to events. But, it would firmly establish your rights as a protected artist; tough decisions to make.

With kind regards,


A couple of quick references:











Blog 6 Sending out a message for brain stem strokes and aphsia.

So I have clarified all strokes do not present the same. If your loved one presents with vertigo, nausea and vomiting, do not ignore the symptoms. Take them to the doctor especially is you the symptoms expand to other issues like the ability to stand, walk, slurred speech, or headache. There is limited amount of time to treat a stroke so don’t waste time thinking it will pass.

Describe all your symptoms for your doctor. Don’t assume that the nausea ( or any other symptom) is unrelated to the whole picture. They need all the information to help. People often delay going which is life threatening.

Surviving a stroke is just the beginning of the medical journey for many. If the stoke victim is left with deficits seek help there are resources meant to aid recovery. Seek out resources and share everything with your medical care givers. They are there to help, let them.

If you know someone who has had a stroke and is having difficulty communicating, keep talking with them. It is good for their recovery and helps them avoid the isolation and avoid the possible depression that is common with a stroke. Recovery is a processes not an affliction, were the patient is now is not were they will be when they have had time to heal.

I am providing resources for the purposes of building knowledge. Please take the time to read and inform yourself. A stroke can create a victim in a seventeen year old just as it does a 70 year old, so being informed and sharing knowledge about the threat of stroke is important in the survival of possible victims.







Blog 5 Not All Strokes Look The Same.

The symptoms for my stroke were not like those of a typical stroke. It requires an MRI to see instead of a CAT scan to diagnose and does not present in the usual form. You will not see the droopy face or slurred speech you see with any other strokes, instead the presentation is vertigo, vomiting, headache, and difficulty walking. Yes, it sounds more like an intensely bad case of the flu or sinus issues. This is also the reason it is so fatal.

The stroke magnet I brought home from the hospital does have my signs of a stroke on it help people rush to the hospital. The location within the brain is the home to the central nervous system. If it crashes you crash. The heart will stop, breathing will stop, you either die or you may become locked in.

Locked in is a medical condition were the result of the stroke is that you can not speak or move. The stroke victim is “locked in” their body. They can hear what is going on around them and their eyes can open and see what is happening around them but they can not respond. I am lucky, both to be alive and to be able to take part in life directly. My issues do not measure to the severe magnitude of death. I put my feet on the ground each day and express my joy for life.

But joy for life and experiencing it with my post stroke challenges do not exist exclusive of each other. Surviving is not the same thing as having coming through without any disabilities. The disabilities will heal but healing to what level of my pre-stroke ability, I can’t say. It may be all, it may only be part, or the issues may stay with me and I will have to advocate for my well being. I am working to aid my healing process but that requires accommodations.

Accommodations are difficult to acquire for a disability that is hard to understand. It was not the type of stroke people recognize. People have not heard of it and can only relate it to what they know, which it are not the same thing. People often do not accept what the can not see directly so they question it, even with medical documentation. I feel it is important that people learn about this so they can take part in the healing and avoid the risk.

Read this story so you can under stand the side effects of just one person:

Click to access ucm_312542.pdf

Recognizing a brain-stem stroke specifically:

Resources for aphasia:

Post 4 for My 20% Project

I don’t know if anyone has missed me in the blogging world of Word Press but a lot has happen to me since my last post. I had a major life changing event, a stroke. Not what you would expect at my age, 46. I am in great shape given that it was an acute ischemic left cerebellar infarction, brain stem a.k.a central nervous system. My stroke was caused by a genetic trait in the blood vessels in my brain, call it bad wiring that can never be fixed. It doesn’t end there but that is OK I will survive this. What it also did was change my focus for the 20% project.

Call me selfish but I am interested in stroke survival, sharing awareness about the effects of a stroke. I have side effects from my stroke that plague me and the disregard and even discrimination I have experience has been amazing. I now have a documented disability caused by severe brain trauma. I have done as the stroke coordinator and doctors have told me to do explaining directly to people. Some people are courteous but a few have been cruel seeing any simple accommodation as an affront to themselves. They are inconvenienced by something they would politely do in any other situation for a stranger. I have experience people trying to “prove” I am okay by directly attacking my aphasia. I have been ignored when I explain the harm they place me in, treated badly and called crazy after I explaining its impact.

Because I look “OK” and can still walk and talk, not what they expect, people assume all is well and I just need to be pushed to adjust. They either can not or refuse to understand that my brain was damaged and altered by the stroke just like in a car accident or any other event that causes brain trauma. They disregard the doctors diagnoses because they cant see the scars. A piece of my brain is now dead and the rest trying to rewire its self to work in a new way. I need to be allowed to heal as my professionals prescribe. Added to the stress is the threat that this will happen again. It hangs over my head, looming there along with the many extended parts of my diagnosis. Apparently having a stroke wasn’t enough, it has to be more complicated. It multiples the likelihood of a second fatal stroke caused by the first stroke. By the genetic defect that exists in my brain, giving me a fatal location for it to occur again. The added health elements involved cause me to control the only I can. Myself, in the personal care of my health an awareness I’ve received. My plan is to share it for my benefit and the benefit of others. This is my new 20% project.

So Here is My Big Idea

Everyone Loves Research:
Ms. Nadine Cohen from the UGA’s library came to class on September 23 to aid us in finding scholarly research for our 20% project using Galileo. She was great and full of useful knowledge for future reference. As is so often the case with educational research she suggested I start in ERIC an online catalog resource I often use for professional journal articles. But I felt ERIC did not fit my need for this project, what I was looking for wasn’t really research but a place to find practical tried and true ideas to share. When I slowed down and explained myself more clearly she quickly agreed but the focus became about my new essential question again, “does that resource even exist and if so where”. She and I hammered that question around. I told her how I had been searching out resources and she agreed this was a little more than a typical research situation so we brought my instructor Gretchen Thomas into the conversation.
It was my teacher who became my guide next, she pointed out just as I had noted searching, that there are a million locations to find all sorts of Assistive Technology from Pinterest to University sites. The question of cataloging them in one location came up again and what that would look like if I tried it myself. She talked about why these ideas are so scattered and hard to catalog. You see students just like me along with institutions and even people work in fields requiring these resources all start out trying to put them together in one place. They collect them for a while then just stop keeping up with them.
An Idea Tried Before:
There are thousands of sites all over the internet that deal with assistive technology. People just like me who think it would be a great idea to collect this information and catalog it but for whom the task of sharing becomes overwhelming and there for eventually neglect it. It strikes me that a job this big requires everyone to give input and a common place those like minds to gather. I keep coming back to social media and wondering how you create an undercurrent of interest that travels far and wide. How do you reach across multiple fields and bring people together to actively catalog in one location so the task of collecting all these resource isn’t so big. A Facebook for educators, physical therapist, audiologist, care providers, family, and the list goes on and on to come together and share. Pinterest has taken on some aspect of this but it does not organize or catalog according to need or task and often lacks enough information to utilize so though a good starting place it is incomplete. The concept behind Facebook where people voluntary share information and it is cross-referenced and linked to outside resources is another example that has elements of what I am talking about. It depends on input provided from the outside individually added it by choose but providing a way of organizing and networking people so they connect across varied points of interest.
So This Officially My Project Concept:
I am not building a Facebook or cataloged Pinterest but what can I do to encourage people to link together and share. Most importantly, what platform do I use to provide that chance to make it happen? Maybe I do not personally provide it, maybe I put together the research efforts, provide the information to make a case for its existence and hopefully motivate a bigger entity to take on the project after I am done. In my grand fantasy of earning the ultimate “A”, I convince someone truly capable of running with my idea, maintaining this catalog aka social media platform. Convincing someone that there is purpose and benefit to be had from taking on my little project after I am done.
So why not go big or go home, I have my task list:
1. Find a platform to work off, my teacher suggests two that I have been playing with already.
2. Define my catalog system: groups and subgroups.
3. Start my collection of resource anywhere I can find them. Leave a request behind with each collection reaching out and make a plea to that outside resources to motivate them to come together of their own accord in this effort to network.
4. Finally start the process of seeking two entities to take this project on after I am done and carry it forward. * I feel it has to be two polar different institutions to make it really work. One must be academic so that sees the purpose as being motivated by the cause and the second the corporate technological such as Pinterest, Facebook, of some profit based share site that benefits from the challenge and philanthropy that comes from being part of a project like this. The academic maintains the legitimacy of the resources provided and the corporate provides the experience of social based data sharing.
Tonight I am playing with web site builders. I am compiling a list of possible corporate and academic partners and writing an open-ended letter intended to be forwarded in the hopes of seeing what happens if you try to spark an idea. I plan to send out a link on twitter at the beginning of next week and I have a list of web locations to find assistive technology already going. This should be fun, I know this is a different direction than most of the other projects in my class but I think it embodies the 20% project concept so I am all in. Check it out:

The 20% Project Overload

I have been really analyzing my idea for the 20% project and have had a hard time clarifying my thoughts about my essential question that is the heart of the project. My train of thought has drifted over what started the original idea, literacy, but has shifted as I sought out resources on the internet. I found lots of content but it was all over the place. So I brainstorm saying to myself, I want to advance literacy. My solution, attend UGA an obtain a special education degree with a focus in literacy, check. Next, I want to use assistive technology to advance my literacy goals for struggling readers because it will expand the strategic resources available to my students. Technology can be another aid used to adapt and differentiate for my students, check two. Finally I thought, I need to have clear path for finding cheap easy to use assistive technology, oops I found my problem so there is not a final check here. The questions then moves to, what assistive technology resource databases and libraries are available to implement my plan and how do I access them?

It is always easier to use a well-organized easy to find resource site than to fumble through chaos trying to find what I need. Often teachers are either overwhelmed by this task and/or give up. Worse is searching and never finding what you are looking for. Walking away knowing you have heard of or seen a good example of technology you could use but not being accesses it. I want to use technological resources to aid literacy but I also want to solve the problem of finding and storing them. My essential question has drifted toward seeking out information about and locating technology. Is anyone developing or can I find a fully comprehensive assistive technology database and/or library that embody my goals and those of other teachers?

For someone like myself who is not technologically literate the solution is always to “Google it”, the answer is somewhere out there on Pinterest or Teachertube. What I wish existed is an Assistive Technology public share library system. If I were talented, I would personally develop a database that functioned like a library with a cataloging system but that does not seem realistic. This cataloging system would begin with logical labels like FORM and FUNCTION: individual technology that require specific equipment or intended for a singular purpose, APPS and PROGRAMS that could be used with specific equipment like a phone or tablet provided by the individual needing the service. SOFT TECHNOLOGY could be things like the inventions we create ourselves to aid and then ADAPTIVE TECHNOLOGY which are things intended for one purpose but adapted to accommodate another need for an individual like kitchen tongs to pick things up off the floor. These groups need to be cross-referenced by: need, use/purpose, and disability/diagnoses, age group, free, cheap and expensive.

I guess my question has evolved to ask something new. If I want to use Assistive Technology to aid literacy how am I going to find it and then store it so it is easier to share and use later? I looked at a dozen of site over the past few weeks put finding my way back to those resources was difficult. I stored the links in my favorites tab but even that is not a straight path. I am looking for solutions to bank my assistive resources for ease of access later aka the magic hat I will be pulling all my ideas out of when I teach. I am afraid I now need to find a tech dummies solution to cataloging all these great ideas in one quick access location. My EQ continues to evolve, until next time friends. Return and we will see what I have found and what I decide to do about my 20% project. Maybe I will have begun trying some ideas out to see if they work for me by then. I like to use Google’s technology, maybe it’s time to see what I could build with Mozilla to solve my question?

Discovering How I Can Use Technology to Advance Literacy A 20% Project

My question is pretty simple and stems out of seeing my practicum teachers run in circles seeking ways to engage students. I see them using YouTube, TeacherTube, searching other schools online class sites looking for idea. I wanted to compile a list of how to and can do to aid me when I entered the classroom. To create that list I had to ask, what could I do as a teacher to create cheaper curriculum resources in my classroom? I have decided my focus is literacy, one because it is the cornerstone of all other subjects, two it would diversify into other subjects easily.

I spent the past several days roaming the web looking for ideas. I wanted and idea of how easy it is to access these resources and how many are out there and there are a lot. Some are great and some not but they do exist. I could not find a good central location of consistent library of ideas. The state site to teacher sites all has them but none is bridged to each other. It becomes a forest of ideas with no clear catalog of what is where. I intend to continue the journey this semester to create my own catalog of resource and to clarify my search literacy will be my focus.