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Pop megastar, photographer groups spar over copyright policy

Global pop icon Ariana Grande is used to having camera flashes exploding all around her, especially during musical performances.

That’s the price of fame, of course, and Grande willingly pays it -- to a degree.

However, a recent and growing spat between the singer and an assortment of professional organizations underscores the sometimes shaky and symbiotic relationship between celebrities and the individuals/groups that prominently keep them in the public eye.

Here’s the bottom line: Grande doesn’t care if you photograph her during a performance, provided your shots are both figuratively and literally focused on just three songs.

And approved in advance by her legal team.

Absent that permission, Grande’s representatives will focus in turn on litigation, alleging copyright infringement and demanding damages.

What reportedly drives the singer’s hard stance concerning concert photos is a cadre of photographers who take legions of pictures that are subsequently used to sell bootleg merchandise.

Understandably, Grande Inc. doesn’t like that, and its aggressive new policy -- sign a contract, with any photo taken being a “work made for hire” that is totally owned by the singer and licensable to third parties – is an attempt to stop it completely.

Some photographers are willing to play ball, but others aren’t. The latter camp includes established mainstream organizations ranging from the National Press Photographers Association and Gannett to the New York Times and Associated Press. Those groups express concerns that the singer’s contractual demand unduly threatens the creative rights of visual artists and is a legal “overreach.”

The dispute is ongoing. We will keep readers informed of any material developments that occur.

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