A row erupted yesterday between the Royal Opera and the blog Intermezzo. A cease and desist notice was issued by George Avory, Head of Legal & Business Affairs at the Royal Opera House, demanding that all photographs taken from inside the auditorium during ROH productions be taken down from the site within 24 hours.
The blogger reluctantly conceded, although only due to the threat of her being barred from future performances. However, she pointed out on her blog that the legal basis for the demands is thin at best.
By yesterday afternoon, the blogosphere had taken up her case. A number of media lawyers have been pondering the copyright implications of the case, although the most significant infringement that anyone has so far suggested is a breach of contract relating to the small print on the back of the ticket.
Most bloggers agree though, that the main repercussion of the incident is the huge amount of bad publicity that the Royal Opera has generated, especially considering the company’s continuing efforts to embrace social media.
I read it here.
This was from a few days back. Somehow I missed the brouhaha. Guess opera had taken up most of my time. But anyway, it’s an interesting thing to think about.
From what I can figure out, the blogger had taken images from the Royal Opera House and placed them on the site. I would never take an image from another site without asking permission first (I would think companies like the ROH would like the publicity, though), and if I received permission I’d then include the permission and link to the site where the image was found. To me that’s just the way things should work. I also don’t place poetry here without permission. Copyright is copyright. So there you go.
I try to keep rules. I’m silly that way. But I especially attempt to keep copyright law, since we musicians are notorious for making others follow that rule with our performances! (Some of this really needs to change, in my little opnion.) But do I break rules? Hmm. Maybe so.
Audiences are clearly told that we aren’t to take photographs in a hall. I abide by the rule when performances are taking place, but before and after I have never thought it was any big deal. That’s why you’ll see photos of the hall, or of bowing singers. You will never see pictures of anything taking place during the performance. To me that’s crossing a line. My iPhone is turned off when I’m performing. My iPhone also goes off when I’m attending a performance. I’m busy listening, so I am not about to distract myself or others by pulling it out, turning it on, and taking a pictures.