Queen Guitarist Lashes Out at Photographer for Reporting Image He Posted Without Credit

Queen Guitarist Lashes Out at Photographer for Reporting Image He Posted Without Credit

In a rather strange set of events, Queen Guitarist Brian May lashed out at a photographer after she filed a takedown request when the musician posted one of her photos of him on his Instagram without credit. 

The issue began when the guitarist posted a picture of himself taken by Barbara Kremer without crediting her. She filed a takedown request with Instagram, which resulted in the post being removed and May’s account being disabled for about an hour while he resolved the issue. May then posted a screenshot of the takedown notice with the following caption:

Personally, I always find it a bit strange when someone like a musician shows either a misunderstanding of copyright or lashes out at someone for protecting it, as music is of course no stranger to this exact issue. I also find May’s response rather childish: purposely mentioning Kremer by name (presumably to drag her through the mud in front of his followers) and saying she’s exploiting him by using his image is both immature and shows a lack of understanding of copyright, something someone in his position should understand well. As for saying she should have messaged him because he normally posts credits, it seems silly to assume that she would know that or that she could even get through to one of the most famous guitarists of all time on social media. Luckily, many are defending her in the comments of the post. 

Lead image by Mark Kieve, used under Creative Commons. 

[via PetaPixel]

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105 Comments

Neville Ross's picture

May should know better than to behave like this; he should also know that it's HER JOB to take photos like the one she took.

Alex Cooke's picture

Agreed. The whole "I usually give credit" defense is very strange too. I don't get to steal a bottle of wine from the store and run out the door yelling, "it's ok; I usually pay!"

Well...shop owners will usually confront you, in a non-volatile situation, rather than call the police first. What he did was childish but she should have at least made an attempt to contact him first. What could have ended in a friendly relationship for her, and possibly better opportunities to photograph him, ain't happenin' now.

Alex Cooke's picture

Well, in fairness, the way IG messages work, it's very possible there's a message request from her that got lost in the thousands I'm sure he receives. Even if not, yes, it might have possibly ended more amicably, but she wasn't obligated to handle it that way. The shop owner would certainly be within their rights to call the police.

Nobody is obligated to do anything and the pursuit of rights often gets in the way of friendship. I would rather die poor with lots of friends than wealthy, alone.

BTW, I just couldn't watch that movie. Bela Lugosi dying in the first few minutes, without so much as one line, should have tipped me off. I'll watch The Princess Bride again. :-)

Edit: I don't know anything about social media so I guess your first statement must be true. I hope she tried.

Alex Cooke's picture

"I would rather die poor with lots of friends than wealthy, alone."

Couldn't agree more with that sentiment. And no worries, there's certainly nothing wrong with watch "The Princess Bride" an extra time. :)

"Nobody is obligated to do anything and the pursuit of rights often gets in the way of friendship"

Considering his ridiculous response he was the one not interested in friendship. All she did was to go through the motions to have the image taken down. A person interested in friendship would have simply apologized for *their error,* assuming it was an error to begin with.

"I would rather die poor with lots of friends than wealthy, alone."

I would rather die alone knowing I did the right thing.

Neither she, nor he, did the right thing. As this is a photography site, our emphasis is on her. Were it a music or rock fan site, I would have focused more on his behavior.
Doing the right or wrong thing wasn't a variable.
I fear you and I have some serious differences of opinion regarding what is right and wrong along with the majority of areas where we agree. Oops. Sorry. We never agree. ;-)

Sam, you shouldn't worry about agreeing or disagreeing with people when it comes to simply sharing your views and opinions. You do too much of that. But if it makes you feel better, we have obviously agreed on plenty of things. I upvote and downvote comments, not people. The only exception is the obvious troll impersonating me with an exact same name account.

I think the crux of where we disagree in this case has to do with your goal in no one being offended, even when he had no right to feel offended. Her taking advantage of a potentially career enhancing exchange is only important if she shares your interest and view on its importance.

?? I have no interest in preventing anyone from feeling offended. That goal is simply unattainable. My goal is to love others and promote that behavior in others.
No more. No less.

But that's the effect of what you say you are trying to promote so it's a fair conclusion. It's something you often mention, where people's feelings matter more to you.

Most business has nothing to do with love. It simply has to do with a transaction that is mutually beneficial to all parties involved. That's it.

I bet you throughout his career he wasn't interested in showing love through his lawyers.

If that's a side effect, that's fine. It's not my intent. I don't go out of my way to hurt people's feelings for facts that I don't care about but, I've hurt lots of people's feelings for things I do.

I don't care about business or lawyers. :-/

Peter Mabli's picture

I’d rather die wealthy with a ton of friends :)

Donna Macauley's picture

"I would rather die poor with lots of friends than wealthy, alone."
I used to think that way, but there comes a point when people take advantage of you so much that you break. I became tired of being a doormat and I started standing up for myself. Those who use you aren't real friends.

I'm a Christian. I know what I'm supposed to do.

Donna Macauley's picture

I wasn't telling you what to do. I was sharing my experience.

Me too.

"she should have at least made an attempt to contact him first."

Why? A person in his position should know better.

"shop owners will usually confront you, in a non-volatile situation, rather than call the police first.

Confronting a thief is rightly assumed to be a volatile situation. A shop owner may do that but they will also call security or the police. If I owned a shop and I had security I would let them handle it. I'm sure most shop owners in such a situation would too.

She had a lot to gain by contacting him first and nothing to gain by her course of action.

By non-volatile, I mean when the thief is a child, elderly person, etc. I'm sure we'll disagree on this as well but that's what makes our relationship interesting. :-)

Maybe she didn't want to gain anything more than simply having the image taken down.

On the other matter, you were addressing Alex. That's fine that you now specify children and old people but why put yourself into a situation of having to determine whether a certain individual is actually a non-volatile threat when the act itself is generally considered a potentially volatile threat?

As a shop owner I would simply hand that off to security and/or police rather than trying to determine whether a kid or someone older is actually a threat. It also isn't worth getting hurt or killed over a Snickers bar.

We're all speculating and have no idea what either principal was thinking.

For everything else, I believe in love and always try to act accordingly. You, of course, are free to act on whatever motivates you.

No, I'm simply going with the evidence in a reasonable way.

What motivates me in this context is reason.

Reason and what is reasonable is not the same as fact. Sometimes they intersect but it's merely coincidence.

I'm not trying to read and put thoughts in her mind, as you have been. All any of us can do is go with the evidence available. As I said, what you see as a positive that could have come out of the situation is not necessarily something she would be interested in. There is nothing wrong with that, if that is and was her choice.

I agree with everything you've said with the exception that I've been putting thoughts in her mind. I disagree with both their actions but have no idea what they were thinking.

Brandon Adam's picture

This is not the first time I’ve seen something like this, yet all musicians try to crack down on piracy. I don’t understand how that disconnect can be there, should be easy for the musician to put themselves in the photographer’s shoes.

This is yet another example that photography (and digital medias in general: music, movies, etc ...) are doomed to be treated more and more as commodities even by the artists themselves. That's why it is now impossible to succeed in art if you're not a good in business (including at least a good mix of marketing, accounting, networking, administration) too. You cannot be "just an artist" anymore.

Just another has-been trying to make news and stay relevant. Sad, really.

Norman Perkel's picture

Sorry (flamesuit on if people disagree), but I happen to agree with May on this one... All Kremer had to do was send him a message asking for credit. We also do not know if Kremer was there to document the show professionally or if she simply too the photo as a fan only to post it to her Instagram later and then get upset when she noticed May had shared her property without properly giving her credit???

Personally, I would have direct messaged the artist regarding the failure to give me credit and if he failed to respond after 72 hours or so then I would file a request with Instagram to pull the image... However that is a last resort, and mind you, the 72 hours is being generous in my book. Thoughts???

Jeff Walsh's picture

I agree, the time frame here is weird to me. It's like, and I'm assuming here, she didn't want him using the photo at all. To report the post as quickly as he says it was reported can only mean that there was zero attempt to keep it civil. Not sure where he pulled the photo from, but it doesn't seem to be from a personal account. As I said, the whole situation feels weird