At the end of last year, the Dutch photographer and lawyer J Salmeron posted a video via Metal Blast resources entitled "How We got Banned from Arch Enemy Concerts". Currently, the video has scored several hundred thousand views, it was shared by major metal zines, and even the band’s fans expressed their support for the author of the video. In the article below, we briefly reveal the main events of this conflict.
In his video, Salmeron informed that back in June 2018, he photographed Arch Enemy at the Fortarock festival held in the Netherlands. Later, he discovered that his photo, featuring the band’s vocalist Alissa White-Gluz, was used as a promotion post by the singer’s sponsor, Thunderball Clothing. The brand’s owner Marta Gabriel made a repost of photo on Thunderball Clothing’s official page on Instagram, adding a comment that Alissa is dressed in custom items made by her company.
Salmeron, attempting to contact Marta via Instagram, later sent her an e-mail, reporting copyright infringement and the need for monetary compensation.
My name is J. Salmeron, I’m a photographer and [an] attorney based in the Netherlands. I’m contacting you because yesterday you posted my photo Alissa White-Gluz, taken at Fortarock, and used it on your site to promote your products (the photo is uploaded here: [the link is now broken]). So far the photo has gathered more than 200 likes, and has been viewed, of course, not only by your over 10 thousand followers, but also by anybody looking for tags related to Alissa White-Gluz.
Your use of my photo is unauthorized and, as I’m sure you are aware, represents a clear and blatant breach of my copyright. This infringement is, of course, made more serious when we take into consideration that your use of my photo is in connection with your business, which you are trying to promote with this post. In general, I charge a fee of at least €500 (five hundred Euro) to businesses that have posted my work in an unauthorized manner. In this case, however, I would be willing to forget about this problem and let you keep up the above post in exchange for a donation of €100 (one hundred Euro) to the Dutch Cancer Foundation. This is an organization that seeks to benefit cancer research as well as improve the quality of life of cancer patients. I can send you a link for the donation (which would be direct to the foundation, not through me) if you accept this method of payment.
I am looking forward to hearing from you".
Soon, Salmeron received a response, and not from the addressee, Thunderball Clothing, but from Arch Enemy’s management.
I would like to ask why you are sending discontent emails to people sharing the photo of Alissa? Alissa’s sponsors and fan clubs are authorized to share photos of her. Thunderball Clothing is a sponsor of Alissa and Arch Enemy. Arch Enemy loves to have a nice cooperation between photographers, fans and festivals, and sharing moments from the concert is a way to stay connected. Generally speaking, photographers appreciate having their work shown as much as possible and we are thankful for the great photos concert photographers provide. Please let me know if there is really a problem here or merely a misunderstanding.
Soon, Salmeron struck up a correspondence with Arch Enemy’s manager and former singer Angela Gossow, who ultimately accused the photographer of sending "threatening" letters in order to earn money by selling his photos to the artists depicted on them. Gossow also reported that the photographer was banned from all future Arch Enemy’s performances.
"We have immediately removed the picture you took at FortaRock. By the way, we are sure you don’t mind that you are not welcome anymore to take pictures of Arch Enemy performances in the future, at festivals or solo performances. I have copied in the label reps and booking agent who will inform promoters – no band wants to have photographers on site who later send such threatening correspondence to monetise on their images. Btw, the email below was not from Marta, but from Alissa herself personally. The artist you blatantly wanted to sell the picture to. Nice price tag. 500 EUR. In bcc the band so they know about you in the future.
Thank you and have a nice day!
Btw – we do frequently donate to charity, but on our own terms and free will.
After unveiling Metal Blast’s video and an article with all screenshots of correspondence, Arch Enemy’s members, the owner of the brand Thunderball Clothing, as well as Alissa White-Gluz and Angela Gossow, faced faced a negative feedback, including comments under later published posts of White-Gluz and Gossow. The band’s musicians and their manager were accused of forcing others to work for "exposure", disrespecting copyright, and exceeding their authority.
Some photographers also made public screenshots of their correspondence with Angela Gossow, who suspended them from taking pictures of the band after their request to delete photos posted without the permission of the copyright holder.
5 days after the video was released, Marta Gabriel announced the closure of her brand Thunderball Clothing.
"As many of you seems to follow this story, here's an update, and a final statement (you can see my previous statement and an apology from December 28 in my previous post).The photographer, J. Salmeron, accepted my apology for reposting the photo he took, without having his permission, and as this was his request, I made a donation to the charity organization of his choice (the Dutch Cancer Society). I believe we can say this ends the dispute between us.However, as I'm not able to handle the amount of hate and threats that I received and keep on receiving, I decided to do what I think is best in this situation. To end the being known as Thunderball Clothing (it's hard to use a word "company" here, as since day one it was just one person — me). I apologise for not being strong enough, and for not being next Internet hero that keep on saying "haters gonna hate". Within last 2 days I received literally hundreds of comments and messages that I'm a whore, a nazi, a communist, a worthless cunt, and that I either should quickly die, or that I should kill myself. There is no anger in me, and I apologise everyone that felt hurt or upset by this situation. Anyway, there is no Thunderball Clothing anymore. You won.
Marta Gabriel, Thunderball Clothing".
Angela Gossow shared this post on her official Facebook page, adding her own vision of the conflict, emphasizing that "the details often get lost in the emotion of the narrative — and the narrative is often controlled by who presents the story first".
Later, Salmeron admitted in an interview with Metal Insider that he didn’t expect "at all" such a reaction to the situation and that so many people would support him, including the fans of Arch Enemy themselves. Photographer also expressed regret that White-Gluz, Gossow, and Gabriel faced Internet bullying and that Marta had to close her business.
"It’s disgusting to see that anybody would think that they have the right, no matter how much they agree with me, to make violent threats against Angela, Alissa, Marta, or anybody else. If anybody is sending threats, I hope the police will get involved. I’m particularly worried about the backlash that Thunderball Clothing has received as a result of what happened. I don’t want her company to go out of business, I don’t want Crystal Viper, Marta’s band, to lose fans. Hers was a minor infraction that was blown completely out of proportion by a, to say the least, incompetent management team on the part of Arch Enemy. She has apologized, she wants to make amends and, like anybody else who makes a mistake, she deserves the chance to move on from that mistake. And, just in case there are any doubts (as I’m sure there will be, since I’ve been accused plenty of times in the last couple of days of being "after money"), I am not saying this because I’ve received anything in exchange. I still don’t want to see a single dollar or Euro for this problem. None".
Main photo — Arch Enemy's press photo taken from facebook.com/archenemyofficial