ARCH ENEMY manager and former singer Angela Gossow has issued another statement through her social channels regarding the ongoing photographer controversy.
As reported, photographer/lawyer J. Salmeron said he was banned and blacklisted from the band’s live performances after he reached out to Thunderball Clothing – the company that makes Alissa White-Gluz‘s onstage clothing – to stop misusing his work.
You can read the previous updates on this situation below Angela’s latest statement, which reads:
“Dear whoever is interested in the subject,
“I am reacting to the bully rally this photographer has set lose with his well crafted (he took 6 months to get it done and released), well timed mash up of different subjects at hand.
“The details often get lost in the emotion of the narrative – and the narrative is often controlled by who presents the story first. Mr photographer threw a bunch of different things into one pot and highly emotionalized it. Lets differentiate:
“1) Copyright issue. Arch Enemy did not post any of his pictures, no breach of copyright there.
“Alissa only re-tagged his image and got written permission of said photographer and actually got asked to re-post, after she fearfully removed the said photo. She refrained from doing so.
“Conclusion: Zero involvement oft he band or Alissa in any of the addressed matters. Leave Arch Enemy and Alissa out of it.
“2) Thunderball clothing / Marta: The lady re-posted the picture and said ‘thank you for wearing my custom made outfit’ along with it. Copyright breach, as this can be interpreted as commercial use.
“Not intentionally, because she wasn’t aware of that fine line – a lot of people on the internet are not actually. Anything you re-post is a breach of copyright actually. She removed as well immediately. She did not react to the donation request because she was not sure if its scam.
“Donating to a cancer research fund is not going to buy her the rights to use the photo commercially. Only a paid invoice to said photographer would do. So why didn’t he just invoice the 500 EUR and went ahead and donated it to said charity? That would have been much more transparent in every aspect.
“The internet hate campaign has destroyed Marta’s business – all existing customers have cancelled their orders and/or returned their orders. She has received numerous death threads, accusations of being a Nazi and worse. She has closed her shop she built up for 8 years over this. Is mistake really that severe to justify this? NO. Is it justified to destroy an artist over this? NO.
“3) Angela Gossow, management:
“This is an unfortunate situation and a private business conversation that was never meant for public consumption (unethical and contrary to the code of conduct for European lawyers) was being abused for this campaign.
“I was doing my position in my efforts to aggressively represent and protect my client and her business partner. I’m sorry that this has been made public and the issues are now misconstrued. I am personally shocked by the fact a business dispute turned into such a destructive wave of hate.
“The claim I had him blacklisted with all agents, festivals etc is false! I did inform my circle of people I do not want him in the Arch Enemy photo pit again. I did not ask any promoters, festivals, magazines or whoever to ban him.
“Mr. photographer, give me one person who has removed you from their payroll because of me. Nobody? Thank you.
“Why I changed some words in my previous posts – I received a legal letter from said Mr. photographer asking me to, otherwise he would pursue me legally for my wordings. The same happened to Alissa and Jeremy Saffer, who took his entire post down.
“So those going out on the fence defending us are being silenced. Freedom of speech? No, I don’t think so. I am sure I will have to edit some of this post as well because I expect to receive a legal letter from him again within the next 24 hours. Just saying.
“Oh, and I took away the word sheep because those people who damaged Marta beyond repair, who are threatening Alissa and me in very serious ways are not sheep – they are much worse. They are bullies.
“We wish to move on from this and wish Mr Photographer the best with the career.
“You are welcome to discuss on my facebook page – no comments disabled. I will not tolerate any threats concerning my person, my family and my friends. These will be pursued.
“Thank you for your time to read this.”
The photographer has issued the following response in the comment section of Angela’s Facebook post:
“Thank you very much for your interest in replying to this message with yet another comment which simply demonstrates an absolute inability to answer things professionally:
“1. Time of Publication: As I have explained repeatedly, due to personal health reasons, the story was pushed back. It doesn’t take us 6 months to write anything.
“2. Copyright: In your first e-mail to me, you said ‘Alissa’s sponsors and fan clubs are authorized to share photos of her.’ This was a false statement in regards to the copyright over the photo, and I explained to you as much. You replied saying that we were banned from future concerts for sending such ‘threatening correspondence,’ and added a number of people (for example, from Century Media) in CC. You knew, or at least had to know, that saying that I was sending you ‘threats’ would jeopardize much more than covering just your own concerts, but ANY concerts, since nobody would accredit someone who ‘threatens’ artists.
“As for copyright, since our publication, we have received e-mails from other photographers, the authenticity of which we have verified, where you have taken similar actions against them, demanding they give you their copyright for ‘exposure,’ and banning them from Arch Enemy’s shows once they refused. I can provide the correspondence that you had with these photographers if you want, to refresh your memory.
“3. Donation and Licenses: You are absolutely wrong on the issue of the donation. A photographer can license a photo for literally anything he wants, be it a grain of sand, a donation to a charity, or a million dollars. Your claim about the €500 is so incredibly wrong that I’m absolutely surprised you are making that statement.
“4. Free Speech: You absolutely have freedom of speech, but it recognises certain limits. Key among those limits is to falsely claim that someone else has committed a crime. You, Alissa and Jeremy Saffer, quite openly, accused me of committing the crime of extortion. Nobody is silencing your ability to express your opinion, I am just reminding you that you (yes, even you) are unable to simply call other people criminals without facing consequences. Additionally, true, you changed your previous messages because I had to remind you that you couldn’t simply falsely accuse people of crimes. Just to be clear on this point, however, did you falsely accuse me of the crime of extortion and threats, and that is the reason why you removed those comments, or do you stand by your previous accusation of calling me an extortionist?
“5. ‘Private’ Correspondence: It is very difficult to understand how you consider that our e-mail correspondence, which you forwarded to countless people, remains ‘private.’ In any case, and although I give you props for referencing European lawyers’ ethics, I AM NOT YOUR LAWYER, nor was I acting in a professional capacity as a attorney at the time, so I am not sure which confidentiality you expected to have there.
“6. Thunderball Clothing: Why was Marta given the terrible advice of being told that you would handle this situation, even though you clearly demonstrated not to understand how copyright works? Let me remind you that your first message was very clear on this regard, arguing that you and your sponsors HAD the right to use the photos, something that is patently untrue. Do you think that you did Marta a favor by doing that? As the emails that have surfaced from you with other photographers show, it seems to be a pattern of behavior regarding how you act with photographers who object to infringing use of their work, so I would assume that you knew exactly what you would do once Marta was told that you would ‘handle’ it. You knew that your actions could potentially backfire, since you were making legally false statements (to someone you KNEW was an attorney) hoping to just keep them quiet, and decided to proceed in that fashion anyway. The result? Marta is out of a job. Congratulations!
“7. Threats: I have received plenty of threats against my person, my family and my friends, I hope that you also will not tolerate, and will actively pursue, those who issue them.
“I hope that 2019 will find you and your family doing well. I sincerely hope, however, that your management skills will improve with time.
“As I mentioned in other places, I still think you were a very good singer fronting Arch Enemy.
“All the best, -J. Salmeron”