Lead guitarist for rock music legends Queen, Brian May, recently found himself on the flat side of the Instagram ban hammer after allegedly sharing a picture by photographer Barbara Kremer on his Instagram account, a share that got his account reported by the artist for copyright infringement and a temporary ban from the social media platform.
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Most users would take this in stride, but Brian May addressed it specifically in his social media accounts, expressing anger that Barbara wanted to protect her work.
Coming from someone in the world of music, notorious for its enforcement of copyright, the guitarist’s stance is interesting.
May posted a screenshot of the ban notification from Instagram on his account once it was restored and lamented that the photographer did not contact him first before resorting to Instagram, saying he is careful to credit people when he shares the work of other artists.
Peta Pixel quotes the Queen guitarist’s open response to the photographer, “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.”
The guitarist then goes on to threaten Barbara Kremer with a ban from future Queen concerts, “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.”
To quote the famous Internet meme: Well that escalated quickly.
As Peta Pixel points out, Queen is no stranger to calling out others for copyright infringement of its own work – the band posted the message “An unauthorised use at the Republican Convention against our wishes – Queen” to its Twitter account following the public exhibition of their hit song “We Are the Champions” at the US Republican National Convention nominating Donald Trump as that party’s candidate for the 2016 US presidential contest.
In addition, May co-signed a 2012 letter to then-British Prime Minister David Cameron asking him to help fight online piracy.
“Well this is what I woke up to. 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. So, 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. 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. Well, Good Morning !!!”