Update: Thunderball Clothing Issues Public Apology to Photographer Banned from Arch Enemy Shows

Update: Thunderball Clothing Issues Public Apology to Photographer Banned from Arch Enemy Shows

You may have seen an article floating around online about the metal band Arch Enemy banning photographer and full-time attorney, J Salmeron, from photographing their future shows after sending a takedown notice to an indie clothing company for using his image on social media.Since publishing our article (See: Photographer Gets Banned From Shooting Artist’s Show After Requesting Payment for Usage License), there have been some major updates to the story including lead singer Alissa White-Gluz digging herself into a bigger hole, both the photography and music communities up in arms, and the owner behind Thunderball Clothing issuing a public apology to Salmeron.

First things first: Alissa White-Gluz. She’s taken to social media to continue to remark on the situation with Salmeron and explain her side to fans who disagree with her. Through everything, we’ve seen her victimize herself and Marta Gabriel, owner of Thunderball Clothing, to gain public compassion… though it seems to be working more against her. A lot of fans and photojournalists are calling her out online for this, which lead her to turn off comments on some of her social media posts. That hasn’t stopped her from responding to comments she’s received so far. See below for screenshots.

While the internet is always a good place to spark a good, healthy debate, the split between who was justified in their actions, in this case, is just so shockingly even. Which is terrifying for any live music photographer. What many people still don’t realize is that a lot of photographers make their livelihood from photographing concerts and selling the images to the artists, management and label reps for them to use to promote the band, tour, and even new releases. Just like any other piece of copyrighted art — like music — should be paid for and accredited properly. Luckily for some photographers, while there are some bad seeds in the music industry who may not have grasped the idea of copyright working for more than one entity, a lot of my friends who also shoot concerts have been lucky enough to work with teams that were very understanding and professional. 

Other artists, however, were quick to jump in and share their two cents. See White Chapel’s bassist respond to an article published by another site below. Ironically enough, fans were quick to point out his avatar is a photo from one of their live shows.

The virality of this story is just too much to ignore, and one party that was seemingly quiet through it all was one of the key members to the whole story: Thunderball Clothing. Earlier today, however, Marta Gabriel issued a public apology to photographer J Salmeron across all her social media channels claiming “I was simply proud that such a great artist is wearing a clothing piece that I made, and wanted to share [the] news with my followers.” She continues, “As I did repost with an app that included all original credits and watermarks, I thought it was OK. I meant no harm, and it wasn’t my intention to promote any product, however, I do agree that it might [have] looked [like] that, and I understand that the author of the photography could feel upset about it. And I am sorry about it.”

While a lot of people have been giving Gabriel credit for knowing when to fess up and claim her mistake and apologize, it still boggles my mind that so many people still don’t understand that social media can be and is constantly used as a marketing tool. To think anything else of the platform is purely naive. And though it shows maturity from Gabriel to issue an apology after everything blew up, for me, it only begs the question: “Why now?” Why after all this media attention and public scrutiny and not when it had initially happened in June? 

What do you think of Thunderball’s apology? Is it too convenient considering the amount of backlash they and Arch Enemy have received with the virality of this story? Let us know in the comments below!

Lead photo by Caleb Woods on Unsplash used under Creative Commons

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51 Comments

Deleted Account's picture

I think the realisation that the aggrieved party happens to be a full-time lawyer might have sunk in.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

I agree. It was probably not a set up, but one can wonder why so much tenacity as well.

michaeljin's picture

You can't know a person's heart... you can only evaluate the things that they say and the actions that they take.

Mihir Shah's picture

Whilst I think that apology was a by-product of all the negative publicity being earned by the band and the clothing company, I am also refreshed to see one in the first place. We have seen many of these squabbles ending up in a limbo without a learning lesson for anyone else. In this case the mature decision by Marta will hopefully educate the fans and other bands.

Marcus Joyce's picture

Snowflakes.

Marcus Joyce's picture

This comment at time of writing has hurt 6 snowflakes...

Tony Clark's picture

Too little, too late. Marla missed the chance to express a genuine apology shortly after the offense. It appears that Alissa is blind or refuses to recognize Intellectual Properties. Of course, it doesn’t help when so many Record labels and management trample those rights for their own benefit also. Let’s hope the dialogue continues and the misconceptions are corrected.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

As a brand, Thunderbolt should have known better.

imagecolorado's picture

Life is hard. It's even harder when you are stupid.

David Kinnear's picture

The old saying is that "all publicity is good publicity." This episode has brought a tremendous amount of attention to Thunderball and I am sure that orders are going through the roof. Salmeron's efforts have done nothing but help Thunderball.

Justin Gill Photo's picture

Apparently not since she decided to shutter her business.

John Sheehan's picture

It looks like the White Chapel Bassist Gabe WC removed the post, but of course nothing on the internet is ever gone for good.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

You can't ask for free access, add pics to your portfolio and move on. If you pay to shoot, that's another story. Was this a free concert? Apparently no. The band expect some kind of return, some exposure and a follow up in exchange of letting you in. They are not entitled to use the pictures for free, but then they don't have to let you in either. Use of the picture for the band can be mentioning an article the images featured in. Too often, people ask for press access only to grow their ego.

Jen Photographs's picture

You clearly didn't read the whole story.

The photographer graciously allowed the band and the fans to share the photographs for their social media for free. It's when a business used an image to market their services (ie commercial use) without prior approval that problems started.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

I did actually read this. Metal blast today has this for message under their photography link - Our photography site is going through some troubled times... we'll be back soon - Not sure what that mean. Did Metal Blast sell prints to individuals? I don't know. Can any one sell prints from a not free concert without permissions? In car racing, only photographers who pay a fee to photograph are allowed to commercialize their images to businesses or individuals. What I'm saying is I need more details. Also I noticed Thunderball Clothing's apology yesterday, it's brand new. The case seem to be still active. Someone is still not happy.

Update: Did you go see our photographer's may 2014 article on Metal Blast.net entitled - Top 5 Reasons Why Gene Simmons Is A Piece of Shit - ? Personally, I just can't support some one with that kind of language. After reading that article that ends with F... Gene F..., I'm now 200% behind Alissa and Marta. How am I NOT surprised by his recent video rant after reading this...

John Sheehan's picture

Benoit, he didn't sell prints, stop clouding the issue with commercial use to try confuse people. That has nothing to do with this.

He was a photographer who photographed a show, it doesn't matter if he paid to shoot it or got in free to shoot it. He owns the copyright (unless he signs it away) and can decide how those photos are used. Now if he was hired to photograph the show by the band that means they have an arrangement, but that is not the case here.

If I take a photo of Alice Cooper at a concert, unless I have a pre-arranged agreement with his people those photos are mine and he has to ask me to use them. If I want to make a poster of an image I took of course I have to get permission (and probably pay a licence fee), but again that has NOTHING to do with what happened here.

I'm so sorry that curse words offend you and make you side with people in the wrong who infringe on a photographer's copyright, and then threaten to ruin his career by banning him from shows. I like to examine facts and logic to make up my mind, but I'm an adult. And I've met Gene. I agree with the title of the Metal Blast article.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

I didn't have to meet Gene to figure him out back in the late 70's. Never the less the title is actually polite compared to what's in the article that you probably did not read. Don't be sorry for me if you agree with curse words, thanks.
No, he can take as many pictures he wants, but selling can have limitations.

John Sheehan's picture

I read the article. I read it in 2014. Compared to most news and blog sites on the internet it's tame. Again, sorry if it hurt your delicate constitution to read bad words. Some adults talk and write like that. Have you been to or seen a stand up comedy show recently? Listen to music? Been out in the world?

And no one is arguing about nor is the article about limitations of selling his work. He owns copyright on the photos and if someone wants to use them they have to pay him or get his permission.

I took photos of a young and upcoming band this year and the band now wants to use the photos for the back of the first CD. I licensed the photos to them for a fee so they can use them on the CD (and I retain my copyright) . That's how it works.

I don't understand why you keep harping on this point. Either you're looking for a way to make the photographer in the article the bad guy, or you really don't understand how copyright for photography works.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

None of my clients write or talk anywhere close to this guy. Yes, I do know how some stand up comedians talk and my 14 year old music is full of that crap. Is it necessary? It must be SUPER COOL I guess. But no, it's clearly boring when the effect is gone and generic.
To your point, yes I do understand copyright. What I see here is a photographer who enjoyed the large exposure and flipped to lawyer when he decided social media was no longer cool. Don't do social media if you are afraid someone will re-post yours and expose your name.
Your turn I guess since YOU keep whining about how un-cool I am.

John Sheehan's picture

No, you don't understand copyright, and your previous comments and the one above confirm that point. I'm not even sure you are able to comprehend the above article.

Photographers can post on social media. If a for profit company uses our photos on social media, we can demand payment because they 1. didn't ask permission first and 2. infringed on our copyright. It's very simple but that point seems escape you.

>What I see here is a photographer who enjoyed the large exposure and flipped to lawyer when he decided social media was no longer cool. Don't do social media if you are afraid someone will re-post yours and expose your name.

We don't give up our copyright when we post on social media. He didn't mind when Alissa re-posted his work, but took issue when a for profit company used it without asking him. If a company used one of your car photos that you've posted here on Fstoppers I'm sure you'd be calling a lawyer. What is wrong with a photographer protecting his copyright? You keep trying to paint this guys as being in the wrong when that's not the case here. He didn't even want money for himself, but a donation to a charity.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

No one but you talks about giving up copyrights. I clearly did not. No, I would not call a lawyer because a small company re-posted my post as is. That is totally different from using my pic in a ad. I understand the benefit of getting some publicity in social media. Now if they kept re-posting on a regular basis or if my image was altered that would be another story. Taking an image direct from your web site would be a no no as well. Last thing I would do is create a video blaming a racer's sponsor for re-posting on social media. Not worth getting a bad reputation. Clearly, it's post on social media at your own risk, even older people like me understand that. You can't tease and then flip, it's called social not trap media. Don't post if you are scared, this is not the '80's or make it private.

John Sheehan's picture

We are talking about losing copyright to our images if we let any company re-post it without our permission. What good is a copyright if we let any company, small or big, use our work? The whole thing that set this story in motion was the company used his image and he protected his copyright. You might just let it go, but others will defend their copyright.

He didn't create a video because the company used his image.

He created the video because the band over reacted and banned him from their concerts. It's right there in the title of his video, "We Got Banned By Arch Enemy". Again you are confusing the issue.

You keep making out like the photographer was some cranky child who got upset someone re-posted his photo, which is not the case. He only asked for a donation to a charity if the company wanted to use the photo, which I think is a noble thing to do.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

Yes, well she did apologize and made a donation so what is your point?
"cranky child" He made the video because he was banned, how mature is that?
If you don't want to take the risk of losing the copyright of your images, social media is by far the last place to expose them. I mean don't we all know that by now?

John Sheehan's picture

She made a donation and apologized AFTER all this blew up. She ignored his first email on Instagram and passed the buck to Arch Enemy when contacted the second time. Or did you miss that?

>He made the video because he was banned, how mature is that?

What is wrong with him making a video about this? This is something that happened to him, and he let people know about it. He should be applauded for speaking up and exposing this. Otherwise this would continue to happen and no one would say anything.

So in answer to your silly question, it's very mature to stand up for your rights and expose a wrong that has been done. I respect that. I don't respect people who go belly up and let someone walk all over them.

>If you don't want to take the risk of losing the copyright of your images, social media is by far the last place to expose them. I mean don't we all know that by now?

And you act like images were never stolen before social media. I had images of mine used in a small magazine back in the 1980s with no credit, and never knew it until 2010 (long after the magazine had folded). They got them by taking photos of the images when they were displayed at an art show. Using your logic, I should have never displayed my work at the art show.

Souvid Datta stole photos and passed them off as his own, in particular a Mary Ellen Mark image. He most likely got them off her own website or Google. Using your logic, she should have never published her image.

Social media is just another way to display our work. If anything, it makes finding the infringing a little easier because we can find out about it almost right away, not over 25 years later.

Like any infringement (taken from social media, a website, or an art show wall), when we find out about it we need to take action. Salmeron took action because he learned of it right away. It was too late for me with the magazine. Again, there is nothing wrong with a photographer going after people who infringe on their copyright.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

Clearly this is a rant about him losing access to bands concerts. Enjoy your day.

John Sheehan's picture

Wow, you're still trying to twist things.

If this was a rant, it was the calmest, most thought out rant with backing documentation I've ever seen on the internet. Again, you're trying (and failing) to make it sound the photographer was in the wrong or was acting immature.

He was threatened with not only having future press access stripped, but the band said they be contact " ...label reps and booking agent who will inform promoters..." in a clear threat to blacklist him with other bands and venues.

If it was a rant, he had a darn good reason to rant.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

Here is a fact for you, may be it can help you? I doubt it at this point. Metal Blast 35 hours ago had 6659 subscribers to their YouTube channel. That channel has been around 7 years. At the time I am posting this, 35 hours later, the same channel has 7233 subscribers, over 8% increase in one day and a half. I just wish I had paid attention to this on December 25th since they grow at 5% a day right now. Someone is growing fast and it's not Thunderball Clothing. If you were sleeping, Thunderball Clothing closed for good last night. Happy New Year by the way.

John Sheehan's picture

So? I mean it. So?

Video subscriber increases have nothing to do with the incident above. People will see a bump in views and subscribers when a video goes viral. Truthfully, 8% isn't a lot. That's only 574 subscribers. That's nothing. I guess it is to someone who knows nothing about Youtube metrics, but that's a drip in the pan today with the way Youtube runs, especially since the "YouTube Adpocalypse".

What you're trying to do to smear the photographer is suggest that he did this to get subscribers. That's silly. He has no control over what goes viral nor does he have control over people who decided to subscribe. If he had a nonsense video where he attacked the band with no proof and just rambled with half truths and unsupported allegations as he drool at the mouth (as most videos by people desperate for subs and views do), I might see it. But he presented his side of the story with supporting facts in a calm manner. You're just grasping at straws to try and make him look bad, and it's just making you look out of touch.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

At 24hours the number was 5%. Before 48hours, it was 8% and now at 63 hours subscription has reach over 12%. By the end of the day that will be 1K new subscribers gained in 3 days vs 6k in 7years.
No I am not suggesting anything, but I do see a clear winner emerging and a shop that's now closed.
Did you know that the site also had to remove a clip from another band because they were not approved, never asked the band! Irony, irony, irony!!!
Their site does not have any ads, there is no adpocalypse at play here, just what seem to be a bothering ban.
I can't help you, but good luck with your dead locked opinion.

John Sheehan's picture

You are suggesting that's his reason, otherwise you weren't bring it up. It's a classic move of a troll who has no facts to support them, so they try and smear the subject they're against. Again, I see nothing that points to him creating the video to garner subscribers.

>>Their site does not have any ads, there is no adpocalypse at play here

The "YouTube Adpocalypse" was on Youtube and had to do with Youtube's restricting and demonetizing ads on videos on the Youtube site. It has nothing to do with his web site, but on his Youtube channel. I mentioned it to show that garnering subs and views are not a profitable as it was five years ago, or even a year ago. He doesn't seem to have a ads on his videos (I didn't go through all his videos so I'm not 100% sure). If he was doing to sinister reasons, as you keep implying, you'd think he'd put up an ad to get some money.

>>Did you know that the site also had to remove a clip from another band because they were not approved, never asked the band! Irony, irony, irony!!!

I heard about it on another story. First, I haven't seen any proof of that, other than someone in a comment section saying it. Once I see facts of the issue (again, not taking the word of an anonymous commenter) I'll make up my mind. If you have proof of that, please post it so we all can see it.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

Wow! I have good life buddy!

Jen Photographs's picture

Agree with John, you're conflating the issues. Regardless, I'll take a stab at answering your questions. Bear in mind that my answer is from USA POV, and very likely will not apply in other countries.

> Did Metal Blast sell prints to individuals? I don't know.

Not as far as we know. Metal Blast sells clothes for metal/rock crowds. The photograph was used to promote the business.

> Can any one sell prints from a not free concert without permissions?

In general (in USA), no. Most concert/band photographers shoot under what's called "editorial" usage, which allows them to use the images in magazines and newspapers. For commercial use elsewhere, you'd need model releases from the band members. Because the market is so niche, most photographers don't bother trying to obtain it. However, they often will sell commercial use license to the band itself, circumventing the need for MRs.

(I asked a concert-photographer recently; this is my understanding)

> In car racing, only photographers who pay a fee to photograph are allowed to commercialize their images to businesses or individuals.

The fee is to get access to the "good spots." Not to commercialize the images.

> What I'm saying is I need more details.

Call me crazy, but you could google.

Justin Gill Photo's picture

Yeah Benoit Pigeon you clearly didn't read the whole story, and your understanding of how this industry works sounds rather dubious.

First of all, the original photo was shot during a large festival that he was covering, which Arch Enemy was on the roster for. They were one of MANY bands he covered in total that night. They weren't the ones who granted him access to shoot. And regardless, just because a concert photographer is given permission to cover a show or festival, he/she is NOT obligated to hand over those photos to the performers or their management to use however they want. That's not how it works.

Also, concert photographers don't sell their photos in a commercial context unless they have written permission from those within the photo. Instead, they LICENSE photos in an editorial or journalistic context to news outlets and online blogs. MAJOR difference.

On the flip side, a wardrobe company (whether run by one person or a large corporation) appropriating his photos as a way to market and advertise their clothes for sale IS a commercial context, for which the photographer should be giving express permission... Usually for a licensing fee.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

I bet you are clueless enough to know that following this ridiculous deal she has decided to close her business for good. All she did was re-post and then remove when asked to do so. Then she apologized and made a donation. OBVIOUSLY she was new to this.
My congratulations to you guys! Obviously this was that big a deal! Hope you are all proud now!

Justin Gill Photo's picture

It's truly a bummer that she felt she had to shutter her business as a result of this whole episode, but that just goes to show how misappropriation of photography without permission can put you in SERIOUS jeopardy.

Still, that doesn't excuse YOU, Benoit Pigeon, from not knowing how the industry works.

The photographer was WELL within his rights to point out that using his photo without permission to market and promote her wardrobe pieces subjected her to licensing fees. The band and their management trying to make him out to be an extortionist and outright banning him was WAY beyond the pale, and any bad PR as a result is on their heads.

The sooner you can come to grips with that, the sooner you can stop being so misguided on this issue.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

Yeah yeah, blame me, now that's hilarious! ... but way too late. It's not a case of me not understanding the industry, you have that so wrong as well, it's just a matter of how you deal with the situation. And that, Justin, you have demonstrated where you fail.

Justin Gill Photo's picture

Actually, I think the photographer dealt with the situation EXTREMELY professionally. Even offering an easy 'out' by requesting that a donation be made to a charity instead.
He didn't have to do that. He would have been WELL within his rights to send her a bill.

It was the BAND and their management that blew the issue out of proportion with an inappropriate response, and now as a result all this bad PR makes them look terrible and the wardrobe designer decided to shut down operations. The photographer is not at fault here in ANY way on this issue.

Your inability to see clear to that, really does the photography industry a disservice.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

Sure, the Lawyer is an angel if you'd like... poof. Don't we all make videos to cool off a situation. Blowing it in that kind of proportions is where he lost my support 100%. That's called BS. Really, there was no need to humiliate her with a video, an article on Metal blast and get his followers to keep pushing the nail deeper in his blog. I guess that's what lawyers do.

Justin Gill Photo's picture

He made an article and video to shine a light on what is an ONGOING issue in the Photography industry -- especially common in the music photography niche. He just wanted to open dialogue so that maybe bands in general would know that this is not okay, and to encourage other photographers to not allow their images to be devalued, misappropriated, and infringed upon for other people's commercial gain.

The band/management's decision to DOUBLE DOWN on their position that photographers should just feel "lucky" to gain more exposure -- rather than admit they made a misjudgment and apologize -- is what caused the issue to spiral downward the way that it did.

But again: you not actually sticking up for the photography industry or for photographer's rights is EXTREMELY disheartening and seriously does us a disservice.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

Justin, you are right, I am sure this video showed them all, the entire world in fact. He got them good that's for sure. LOL
I think with his lawyer approach to the problem all he is really going to win is more doors shut.

Justin Gill Photo's picture

I mean...

the video ALONE has gained more than a quarter million views in just 5 days, has sparked conversations advocating for Photographer's Rights in the music industry on literally DOZENS of forums, has hundreds if not THOUSANDS of comments from people around the world voicing support...

But cool, you just want to keep arguing your unpopular, misguided opinion deeper and deeper into a hole. It's SERIOUSLY sad that you call yourself a professional photographer but you don't want to stand up for Photographer's Rights.

Peace out dude.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

And there you go again with your condescending and totally wrong facts on me and photographers Rights. Nice, keep trying. How much pleasure can you get after all? In any case, it sounds like your issue.
I'll stand up for any photographers. If you just ask me to stand up for that lawyer, nope, no chance ever. But feel free to stand for him any day.
In all honesty, if you haven't figured out that this guy was using you to get his ban removed, I feel sorry for you.

John Kim's picture

With a hint of public backlash, while not unanimous, comes the usual .... sorry, not sorry .... feigning ignorance as excuse .... and Alissa White-Gluz? .... what a POS ignoramous hypocrite .... and White Chapel’s bassist? .... the same

Jen Photographs's picture

Are you Shatner?

Jeff Wasserman's picture

Happy to see the apology but a little on the late side. That is all she had to do in the first place to avoid all the grief.

Rick Sweeten's picture

It's ridiculous that both the "artist" and the clothes manufacturer would risk this much bad press over a $100.00 donation to a charity. Sounds like both need better PR people.

Marcus Joyce's picture

Well if you don't pay me €100 in the next 10 minutes im going to leave a bad review of your photography business....

If you try to extort my xyz because I didn't reach out to you that took an incredible photo of my product.. but you've embarrassed me I'll make sure you never work in this town again!

Where does it end?

The photog is a lawyer by trade. I'm sure he is well aware of his rights.

David Smith's picture

She publicly apologized [repented] for what she did. She'll never do it in the way that she did again. Looks like everyone got to learn something that will hopefully restore some understanding for copyrighted works of [photography] art. Everyone wins, regardless of what's driving underlying motives, as I personally see it.

After reading more on this, good grief.. I think he should be happy enough.

As a photographer, I would have never made a fuss like this if the image was just shared online. I mean it did have the guys watermark, and as I understand it, it also gave him credits. The value of name recognition would easily compensate for the 100 bucks he demanded go to a charity.

On the clothing makers Facebook page alone he got plenty of free advertising. They've got over 16,000 people, plus the musicians social media accounts. That guy made out pretty well.. If they wanted to use it for print, that may be different, but if he tagged the artist in the photo on social media, and it was shared by them (with his watermark & credits), I'd say he already won.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

Yes, the brand exposed his name in a niche market but he decided to put an end to the social media experience abruptly after benefiting from the exposure from the band's social media. He received much more exposure than the clothing brand.
In the end, would you let in a photographer who has a history of showing up as a lawyer later?

Jen Photographs's picture

> As a photographer, I would have never made a fuss like this if the image was just shared online

Given that certain sectors of photography is in a race to the bottom, value-wise, maybe we should start kicking up a fuss. Stop rolling over and letting people/businesses use our pictures for pennies or free.

> clothing makers Facebook page alone he got plenty of free advertising.

Exposure does not pay the bills. What's more, "exposure" rarely produces new, paying work.

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