Zoo Photography Fallout

My previous post provoked some passionate and interesting discussion within the national music community. My FasterLouder editor Liam McGinniss posted a news article on the site and kicked off a thread on the FL forums. I engaged with the conversation throughout Thursday before deciding to notify Birds Of Tokyo, and The Zoo’s management. The latter was the first to reply:

hi joc here from the Zoo –

just writing in response to the camera regulations and all of the posts – as we have stated on the website and mail out’s since bringing the policy in –

Please do not record the event unless you have gained permission from the venue and the performing act themselves, this also applies to patron crowd shots as well.

If you are interested in taking photo’s you are able to email the Zoo and ask permission to take shots as a number of people have done since this new policy has come into play. We then forward each request to the management / agent and it is then up to each act if they want their photo’s taken.

It is a lot more work for The Zoo but we are then trying to ensure that each act’s privacy and wish is taken into account not just assuming they are ok with people taking shots. It is each individual’s right to have or not have their photo taken – and i don’t think they should be thought of in a less than favourable light if that is their attitude to this matter. We have in the past been less strict on this matter and their were recent events that made us review the policy but we are walking along a new path for the Zoo and one we are trying to handle with our normal integrity and trying to consider all involved.

I am sure other venues would just say – no camera’s and that is it. They wouldn’t have the headache’s in trying to make a system fair for all. So please consider that when people are very rude and not understanding.

all the best

Joc Curran
The Zoo

Birds Of Tokyo guitarist Adam Spark replied later that day:

hey fella,
cheers for the message…thats all interesting news to us!! heh…
we didnt threaten legal anything…weird…our manager just asked some kid to take off the new tracks from you tube, which most of my friends bands do also…
but as far as all that stuff goes with the zoo….nothing to do with us mate…there is alot of misinformation on there i think!! we love people taking photos and film away!! just dont post up the new material just before new material is coming out…i dont think thats unfair? we just want people to hear our new material in its best form, after all we pay alot of money for people to make us sound good!! haha
other than that….post everything up on the net! fine with us!

cheers for the insight tho sir!! and yes i remember that off kilter solo! heheh pretty close!!
adam s.

It’s heartening that both parties were quick to respond, though both clearly dodged some issues. Transparency would be ideal, but impossible when both parties have interests to protect.

Joc isn’t wrong about the headaches that these new regulations have caused. Theoretically, they’ll have to respond to several hundred photography requests from concert attendees every week. Realistically, though, as the word spreads and cameras are confiscated for the duration of the night, punters will simply stop bringing their cameras to shows at The Zoo. Few will bother to email requests beforehand.

This outcome might be ideal for the handful of professional photographers who frequent the venue each week – that is, less amateur point-and-click photographers to contend with up front – but on the whole, the music community loses.

You know those guys who stand and film a show before uploading it to YouTube? They won’t be at the Zoo anymore. I’ve been in contact with one, and he’s told me as much. Fans of bands who play at the venue – both local and international – are the losers in this situation, as footage of their Zoo performances will dwindle and soon die off.

FasterLouder forum user Demosthenes wrote:

It’s more than the Tivoli or the Arena do for punters. And if you sent such a request to the Entertainment Centre or the Convention Centre it’d probably disappear into a black hole.

User Bananaphone wrote:

…going to see a gig is a night out. People at the Zoo take snaps of themselves and their friends just as much as they do the band!

While I’ve navigated this discussion without appearing to be an alarmist (hopefully), I think that these regulations will have a negative effect on the Brisbane music scene. It mightn’t be immediately noticeable; hell, in all likelihood, we’ll soon have accepted the rules as the norm and forgotten the issue, as is often the case with cultural change. After a brief period of protest, change is assimilated.

It’s a shame, but it’s reality.

Comments? Below.
  1. saint.id.au says:

    What about mobile phones? They can capture video for YouTube or photos. I’ve even seen services (such as qik.com) that can capture video and immediately upload it to the site and I’m involved in a company called messmo (http://www.messmo.com) that allows someone to take a photo and upload it immediately to their Facebook photo page. Sure, it’ll be a shit quality when it comes to resolution and size but nonetheless you’re doing the same thing…

    Performers and musos need to have their rights acknowledged moreso that the general public’s rights take snaps of their friends. It’s a bit of a grey zone for amateur/professional photographers (especially those who want to specialise in live gigs) though.

  2. saint.id.au says:

    ^ Oh, streaming sites like Qik isn’t going to happen in Australia today but it will eventually.


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