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Brian May got a takedown notice and he’s not happy

By | Published on Wednesday 15 November 2017

Adam Lambert + Queen

Brian May has received a takedown notice and he’s not happy about it. All he did was post a photo on his Instagram account and went to bed. Then the next day, it had been taken down just because he didn’t own that photo. The cheek!

“Well this is what I woke up to”, he wrote, posting a screengrab of the notice informing him of the copyright violation. Although he was only able to make that post after his account had been reinstated, it having been temporarily taken down by Instagram because of the copyright breach. “How RUDE! I’m usually very careful to credit anyone whose photos I post – but in this case, at the end of the day, I must have forgotten”.

He continued: “Rather than write to me and say, ‘Dear Brian, you seem to have forgotten to credit me on this picture’, this person – Barbara Kremer is her name – reported me to Instagram and they not only took the picture down but disabled my whole account until I’d dealt with the issue – which took about 45 minutes of my time that I could not afford because the link refused to work on my phone”.

It’s not clear exactly how this takedown notice came to be served to May. Or whether the photograph is a professional or amateur shot (at risk of offending Barbara Kremer further, it appears to be a photo taken by a fan from the audience). Though either way, the photographer, as the copyright owner, has the right to demand the picture be removed, credit or no credit. Unless there’s some sneaky rules in the terms and conditions on Queen tickets.

Was he finished? No. “What an incredibly unfriendly act from you, Barbara! You not only took my picture and are evidently exploiting my image, and making money off me without so much as a ‘by your leave’ – but you actually stop me using a picture of myself! What a crazy world we live in these days. All I can say is that if you feel you were ‘violated’, I feel pretty violated myself. To the point where if I ever discover that you are at one of our concerts in future, look out, because, logically, I will be tempted to have you thrown out”.

There is no evidence that Kremer is making any money from this photo – to date it has only appeared on Twitter and Instagram, which would suggest she isn’t. And she didn’t actually say she felt “violated”, Instagram did. He’s right though, he is in the photo.

Back in 2012, May joined Simon Cowell, Robert Plant, Roger Daltrey, Elton John and others in writing to then Prime Minister David Cameron asking him to improve UK copyright law for the British creative industries and stamp out online piracy. In particular, the letter talked about implementing the sanctions against those uploading content to the internet without permission that had been outlined in the 2010 Digital Economy Act. Seems he’s less keen on that sort of thing now.