Official open camera policy?

Eugenia 11/10/09

This article just got posted on C|Net, and it's discussing the increasing usage of amateur camera snapping at music events. It says that the camera policy is usually set by the band (and not by the venue), and that more and more bands now have an open camera policy (like NiN).

Since the Trappas already have an open recording policy and many of the live performances can now be found on, I wonder why don't you guys go open-camera too, and make it official? I mean, it's not like you discourage the idea, since your web front page has these FlickR pics that people snap at your shows. ;-)

I personally prefer video because I can't take good pictures without flash (not with the small-sensor camera I had with me at the last BT show I was at anyway). Because I know how annoying flash can be for the musicians, I prefer to not snap pics at all, and just go for video snaps instead (few seconds of each song). The last time I tried to do that at BT's SF show, I was stopped by the venue staff at the beginning of the show.

So, what do you say? If that's all acceptable, could it be possible to make it official?

Eugenia 11/10/09

BTW, one interesting point here is that you could dictate the *license* of these pictures. So the deal could be something like: "sure guys, we let you snap pictures/videos of ourselves while performing, but your pictures must be licensed under a specific license".

Such a license could be the widely used, and "ported" to many countries' legal systems (so you won't have trouble with the license if you are performing and get photographed abroad), the Creative Commons "Attribution Non-Commercial" 3.0 (CC-BY-NC, explanation: ), which basically says "use that picture, as long as you give credit to the photographer, and the picture is not used for commercial purposes".

This way, you can still sell your image to professional publications, and the snapped pictures by fans will only work as viral marketing for you rather than anything else. And because you are the ones who would be setting the license, you can always make special arrangements with pro photographers to get excluded by that license (so for example, on any given show, the fans' pics would be CC-BY-NC 3.0, while the paying/paid pro photographer's would be "all rights reserved").

I believe that NiN is using the CC-BY-NC-SA 3.0 license mostly, which adds the "Share Alike" clause in addition to "Attribution" and "Non-commercial" (more explanation here about all these clauses).

Just please don't fall into the pit regarding picking the "non-derivative" clause, because this would mean that no one would be able to remix a picture. For example, if someone wants to do an artistic representation of a pic, by adding painting and photoshop work on top of a pic, he/she won't be able to legally do it. So, any of the Creative Commons clauses would be fine, except the non-derivative one which is too restrictive artistically IMO.

I hope the BT management and the band discusses the whole issue and we have an official response to it soon! :)

GrangerLang 11/10/09

"It says that the camera policy is usually set by the band (and not by the venue)"
The keyword here is "usually". Lots of venues still take charge of that. The venues I tend to frequent leave it up to the band, but I've had friends go to other venues where even the most taper/photog friendly band isn't allowed to let their fans take pics, and the security are like watchdogs and will pounce if they even think they see a camera.

Eugenia 11/10/09

This is true. However, there is already an open recording policy by the band, which is what ticks venues even more than photographs. So I don't see why this wouldn't work if it's discussed during booking.

Eugenia 1/10/10

So, I guess the silence means "no"? ;)

Band Member
marty 1/11/10

We're pretty explicit about no restrictions on recordings, some venues have problems with cameras for various reasons. Seems like with today's camera technology a discreet photographer would be able to avoid bans and security if they wanted. It doesn't seem like a big deal.

Sometimes there are professional photographers that we limit to taking images the first three songs. I don't know why, other than they can be distracting to the fans and musicos in the front of the stage. Sometimes people don't like allowing "flash" photography either.

Recently we realized that the live recordings people have been making of the shows are technically property of SP. I wonder if video and/or photos are too. It would be funny if we had to ban all recording media in order to keep content out of SubPop's hands.

Eugenia 1/11/10

Thank you very much for the reply Marty. I understand the complexity of the whole thing. I hope one day all this gets cleared up.

>in order to keep content out of SubPop's hands.

BTW, somewhat on/off topic: SubPop recently got listed as a full member at RIAA's site, while this was not the case before. Dunno what this can mean for your band, but I know what it means for me (== I will have to buy your new CD at your show directly, since I vowed to not pay money to RIAA again). My husband and I spent $2000 overall for music in 2009. We don't know any one else in our circle of friends who spends that much money on music. But I think we've had it with RIAA's shenanigans. Anyways, long story that I've detailed on my blog, I just hope SubPop keeps its cool with fans...

flyguy 1/12/10

Dearest Marty/BT,

Please do not ban recording media from your live shows. The matrix recordings on have helped me to spread the BT word to many friends.



Band Member
marty 1/12/10

haha, just joking of course. all these legal matters are mere nuance.

flyguy 1/13/10

I was hoping that you'd say that!

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