Angela Gossow Bans Photographer From Arch Enemy Gigs After Copyright Dispute
Concert photographer J Salmeron has been banned from all future Arch Enemy shows following a dispute with band manager / former vocalist Angela Gossow. After one of his photos of vocalist Alissa White-Gluz was used by the Thunderball Clothing Instagram page, Salmeron asked for compensation, only to be notified of his ban from Gossow.
Salmeron penned an article about his experience on Metal Blast, adding his email correspondence with Gossow, along with screenshots of Thunderball Clothing’s post and Instagram messages between himself and White-Gluz.
White-Gluz originally posted Salmeron’s concert photo via Instagram, with Thunderball Clothing re-posting the image, mentioning the vest, gauntlets and belt they made for her concert attire. Salmeron sent a message to Thunderball founder Marta Gabriel about their usage of the photo, asking that €100 be donated to the Dutch Cancer Foundation in lieu of his typical €500 fee:
My name is J. Salmeron, I’m a photographer and [an] attorney based in the Netherlands.
I’m contacting you because yesterday you posted my photo Alissa White-Gluz, taken at Fortarock, and used it on your site to promote your products (the photo is uploaded here: [the link is now broken]). So far the photo has gathered more than 200 likes, and has been viewed, of course, not only by your over 10 thousand followers, but also by anybody looking for tags related to Alissa White-Gluz.
Your use of my photo is unauthorized and, as I’m sure you are aware, represents a clear and blatant breach of my copyright. This infringement is, of course, made more serious when we take into consideration that your use of my photo is in connection with your business, which you are trying to promote with this post.
In general, I charge a fee of at least €500 (five hundred Euro) to businesses that have posted my work in an unauthorized manner. In this case, however, I would be willing to forget about this problem and let you keep up the above post in exchange for a donation of €100 (one hundred Euro) to the Dutch Cancer Foundation. This is an organization that seeks to benefit cancer research as well as improve the quality of life of cancer patients. I can send you a link for the donation (which would be direct to the foundation, not through me) if you accept this method of payment.
I am looking forward to hearing from you.
After the message was forwarded from Thunderball Clothing to Arch Enemy, the photographer received the following response:
I would like to ask why you are sending discontent emails to people sharing the photo of Alissa? Alissa’s sponsors and fan clubs are authorized to share photos of her. Thunderball Clothing is a sponsor of Alissa and Arch Enemy.
Arch Enemy loves to have a nice cooperation between photographers, fans and festivals, and sharing moments from the concert is a way to stay connected. Generally speaking, photographers appreciate having their work shown as much as possible and we are thankful for the great photos concert photographers provide.
Please let me know if there is really a problem here or merely a misunderstanding.
Salmeron, a lawyer in the Netherlands, brought up the copyright infringement issues surrounding the use of his photography without permission:
Thank you very much for your message.
I believe that there is a fairly significant misunderstanding regarding how copyright works, and which leads to your confusion on this matter. I am happy to explain the current state of the law here, so as to highlight the strength of our position.
It is not correct, as you assert, that “Alissa’s sponsors and fan clubs are authorized to share photos of her.” This is not at all a legal argument, as the only person who can authorize the use of a photo is the copyright holder. In this case, as you certainly know, I am the copyright holder of the photo, and therefore the only party who is able to authorize its use.
While, in general, I might allow fans or even the musicians [themselves] to use my work, this does not change the fact that I hold the right to authorize or deny the use. Additionally, here the images are used for promoting a business. In this case, as you undoubtedly understand, the images are used to increase the visibility of your products and drive up sales, allowing you to profit from my work without any revenue being reported on my end.
In regards to your assertion that many photographers are happy to see their work exploited for free for “exposure”, I can only say that other photographers are free to deal with their work in whatever manner they please. Their right to oppose such a use, however, remains the same.
It is in light of the above that I would like to give you the opportunity to remedy the infringing use of the photo by donating to a cancer charity (the Dutch cancer [society]) in lieu of a direct payment of a license.
In the response from Arch Enemy’s reps, the photographer learned he was corresponding with Angela Gossow, who fronted the band from 2000 to 2014 and now manages the metal act. In this email, Gossow informs Salmeron of his lifetime band from Arch Enemy gigs:
Fair enough, Mr Salmeron.
We have immediately removed the picture you took at FortaRock. By the way, we are sure you don’t mind that you are not welcome anymore to take pictures of Arch Enemy performances in the future, at festivals or solo performances. I have copied in the label reps and booking agent who will inform promoters – no band wants to have photographers on site who later send such threatening correspondence to monetise on their images.
Btw, the email below was not from Marta, but from Alissa herself personally. The artist you blatantly wanted to sell the picture to. Nice price tag. 500 EUR. In bcc the band so they know about you in the future.
Thank you and have a nice day!
Btw – we do frequently donate to charity, but on our own terms and free will.
Having been asked about the situation on Instagram, Alissa White-Gluz offered a statement in the comments section of a Dec. 26 post:
This is misconstrued and it is slander. Also, read carefully- I barely said two words in all this but all the blame is being placed on me. All I did was repost a photo of myself, WITH tag and credit and watermark, the same way all of you do. And then I defended a friend when she got a lawyer’s letter for reposting MY post and we immediately removed the posts to prevent any more issues. Now, 6 months later, this random, totally twisted essay appears using arch enemy as a scapegoat to fit some pre-existing narrative we weren’t a part of. We NEVER tried to use any photo for commercial use and I deleted my Instagram post within minutes of reading his email. His article certainly pulls the sympathy strings but in fact HE was trying to prevent an artist, a single woman who makes clothing in Poland, from displaying HER art which was on my body in the photo. He was sending extortive emails trying to get money out of her for a photo that was long deleted and NOT commercial anyways since my clothes are custom made, one of a kind and not for sale. it’s really a beautiful thing when all the people involved in a concert work together, and 99% of the time that is exactly how it goes. As a human being it’s a really weird feeling to have an entire article written accusing you of being someone you’re not just because you posted a photo of YOURSELF, with permission, and then defended a friend who did the same. The instant we were made aware there was an issue we remedied it by immediately removing the image, which was online for a couple days at most. I would also like to point out how his piece thumbnail is a quote from someone else, not me, posted over an image of me, which he is now using to get clicks to slander me.
After reaching out to Angela Gossow for comment, Gossow informed Loudwire that an official response from Arch Enemy will be posted at a later date, and that they have a lawyer looking at the situation.
Update: A similar situation happened in 2010 with photographer Anouk Timmerman. See Gossow's email revoking her access to Arch Enemy gigs here.
Top 30 Frontmen + Frontwomen in the 21st Century