The website A Photo Editor has an interesting post from earlier this month regarding the photograph on U2’s new album No Line on the Horizon. The title song of the album was inspired by the photographers work and he allowed it to be the album cover with the condition of no text may obstruct any part of the image, which something not really done. Additionally the terms of the usage was an artist to artist deal, meaning U2 could use the image and the photographer obtained rights to the song for his use in the future. More information of how this whole transaction came about may be found on the A Photo Editor website and his recent post Hiroshi Sugimoto’s No Cash Deal with U2.
I find this transaction interesting with the value of the work exchanged between two artists. While Sugimoto will receive the exposure by being on the front of the new album and likewise have his image show up on any iPod when music from the album is playing, which can be quite significant for a band like U2, for this the value exchanged are the rights to use the title song of the new CD, which was influenced by his images, in any project of his in the future.
Photographers should look at this exchange with interest as there is a common misconception of when it is alright to use music as part of a presentation or more so website without the proper license. I have been to numerous websites of photographers who have strong statements about stealing their images, but yet use pieces of music which are quite mainstream and most likely not licensed for commercial use. If we are trying to educate people on why it is wrong to take images from a website shouldn’t we respect the work of other artists?