On 26 July 2018, I reached out to Spirit Tribe, requesting the image be removed from online or that Spirit Tribe purchase a commercial-use license. Later that day, Eric Fatovic contacted Miah in order to see if they could continue using the image in question. Eric did not respond to me.
While I waited for a response, Eric continued to promote for Native Noise Festival. On 30 July 2018, I went public with a detailed blog post outlining, among other things, Spirit Tribe’s copyright infringement.
The images were taken down from the original links that I found, later the same day. Within the blog post was a requirement that public apologies be made by Spirit Tribe to the relevant parties. No apologies were made.
On 09 August 2018, Eric contacted me in private to state “we accidentally used your photo that has now been taken down and was taken down the moment we could. The moment we took the photo down this entire issue should have been over […] You should of (sic) did the right thing the moment we did the right thing by taking your photo down.”
In October 2018, I discovered four more instances of the same altered image posted online, also dated as of the 25th of July 2018, under different accounts on Facebook. They were recorded by me and forwarded to my attorney for review and documentation.
On 05 August 2019, a copyright infringement lawsuit was filed against Spirit Tribe, Inc., in Federal Court.
A settlement offer was made by Spirit Tribe in December, 2019.
In early January of this year, after review and consultation with my attorney, I signed the agreement, forwarded the documents back to my attorney, and took down the original blog post as a gesture of good faith.*
As of today, 28 February 2020, no signed agreement has been forwarded to my attorney, nor has any settlement payment been made, although the additional infringing images of DJ Miah Love have been deleted by Spirit Tribe — and again without apology.
*I am not obligated to any terms contained within the settlement offer until a formal contract is actually agreed to, signed by both sides, and payment made to bind the agreement. My removal of the original blog post was merely voluntary.
About Spirit Tribe, Native Noise Festival, Into the Wild Festival, etc.
I can say with confidence that I will never support Spirit Tribe,Inc, Native Noise Festival, Into the Wild Festival, or any event associated with Spirit Tribe.
Spirit Tribe, Inc. is a NYC, New York and East Stroudsburg, PA based psychedelic event crew that puts on Native Noise Festival annually during the summer and plans to host Into the Wild Festival in May 2019. Native Noise Festival is held at Echo Lake in Afton, New York, while Into the Wild Festival was held in Parksville, New York this year. Spirit Tribe also hosts a number of smaller scale events around NYC during the course of the year.
My reasons for saying so are simple:
Spirit Tribe assumes consent exists where it has not been granted, willfully engages in copyright infringement, and refuses to engage with me directly in order to rectify the situation.
After closely reading Spirit Tribe’s publicly published Sales Agreement and Photo Policy for Native Noise Festival, Spirit Tribe’s Vendor Contract, Spirit Tribe’s Musician Contract as provided to me by a trusted source, and The Spirit Tribe Shop/The Pearl Charmer’s Sales Agreement it is clear to me that, in black and white, their policies are self-serving and run counter to any outward claim they make of “Community” and “good vibes.” (Apparently nativenoisefestival.com is no longer a valid domain…-ed)
If you are a guest, attendee, vendor, performer, photographer, customer, or musical talent of any kind looking to do business with Spirit Tribe, I urge you to read any paperwork that comes from them or is returned to you by them very carefully before you decide to sign anything, agree to anything, or purchase anything.
(Seriously, some of you complained about my “unreasonable” proposal to either pay a $3,843 invoice OR request that they instead delete the photos in question yet Spirit Tribe tries to require your consent to a $5,000 penalty fee for “findings of copyright,” “damages of defamation,” and threatens to hold you liable for “any damages or emotional distress” caused by, among other things, “negative energy pointed towards us” after completing a purchase?..)
This blog post is not, nor has it ever been, a personal vendetta against one event crew or individuals within that crew. Newspaper work required me to be aware of these potential issues, from day to day, assignment to assignment, and required me to remain emotionally detached enough to be willing and able to record truthfully what I saw around me. I could not function as a photojournalist, otherwise. Spirit Tribe and Native Noise Festival is merely indicative of the kind of rot, hypocrisy, deflection, consent issues, and cowardice that I see infecting multiple scenes from within. This blog post serves to document my experiences with Spirit Tribe as the most obvious and most current example.
Allow me to be absolutely clear:
I will never support any Tribe, crew, organization, festival, event, or promoter that willfully engages in copyright infringement or any other predatory behavior towards their Community, upholds questionable policies towards their Community’s children, and refuses to accept any responsibility when held to account by their own Communities.
I hope you, dear Reader, will feel the same.
17:38, 06 Aug 2019:
I had more or less let things stand as they were in August of last year after Eric had reached out to scold me because, in his words, “we accidentally used your photo that has now been taken down and was taken down the moment we could. The moment we took the photo down this entire issue should have been over […] You should of (sic) did the right thing the moment we did the right thing by taking your photo down” (09 Aug 2018, 15:10PM).
Two months later, in October 2018, I found multiple instances of the photo online and, as of today, they are still online. Clearly, Spirit Tribe, Inc. has not done “the right thing,” as Eric claimed. Since finding those instances last October, this blog post, the original photos, and relevant screenshots and URLs, including time and date stamps and metadata, have all been fully documented by my attorney and as of last night, Spirit Tribe is now facing a Federal copyright infringement lawsuit under Title 17 US Code, Section 1202(b).
In case there is any doubt concerning the legal jeopardy Spirit Tribe, Inc. is now exposed to, the statute spells out mandatory civil penalties for willful infringement listed under Section 1203 and potential criminal penalties for willful infringement for purposes the of commercial advantage or personal financial gain listed under Section 1204.
17:02, 16 Aug 2018:
I have updated this post to reflect what has grown far beyond the bounds of my original post. Yes, Spirit Tribe has deleted the photo from the three links I had found that began this whole mess. Yes, I had taken this post down, initially as a gesture of good will and good faith, while requesting input from Spirit Tribe to in order to try exonerate people based on potential new developments. Without a willingness to engage, professionally, that is impossible; therefore, I was left with no alternative to re-release this blog post live, with appropriate updates.
In the meantime, through private contact between myself and Eric Fatovic, it is clear that this will remain irreconcilable; therefore, I am forced to stand by the truthfulness of this post’s original claims by placing initial responsibility of copyright infringement squarely on Spirit Tribe, and to also shine a very bright spotlight on Spirit Tribe’s refusal to publicly acknowledge their culpability and make amends to the people directly involved.
Over the course of collecting the information that I need to properly document my experiences with Spirit Tribe, more and more information came to light about the kinds of practices they engage in within the greater Community, the level of emotional deflection they are willing to engage in, and the degree that Spirit Tribe is comfortable manipulating the Community for their benefit. All of it has been documented with screenshots, direct links to relevant publicly accessible content, and documents provided by a trusted source.
This is not okay, and it is impossible for me to remain silent over what I see as clear problems. I have altered sections of this post to reflect more clearly the very public stance that I am willing to take. This has never been all about me. This has never been about Eric Fatovic or Mickayla Gibson, personally, no matter how much they try to make it seem so.
The screenshots I’ve collected since this blog post first went public have been very revealing. If making a public stand against the predatory practices of one event crew is enough for individual people to make very publicly absurd calls for me to be “banned from psytrance,” or make public offers to DDOS my website, or issue poorly worded threats to “go after this fucking asshole…we need to this ashole he deal with Wrong crowd” or make emotionally manipulative and libelous claims of me being “one specific person” making them feel they “should just be in the ground” and that I am making them “sure know [they] should feel this way,” rather than face your own culpability, your own hypocrisy, your own “negative energy,” if people remain unwilling to honestly acknowledge the problems infecting this scene from within the community, or if people within this scene remain willing to scream about “vibes” yet turn away from what is right then this scene is not rotting, this scene is rotten.
22:18, 03 Aug 2018:
As of Monday, 30 Jul 2018, Spirit Tribe removed the image in question below, prominently linked in three locations for promoting Native Noise Festival. I have reached out to Spirit Tribe and offered to assist in moving forward by helping to craft a more child-friendly photo policy. I also signaled a willingness to issue an immediate and public retraction and apologies to Spirit Tribe, should new information received by me on Tuesday exonerate Spirit Tribe as acting in good faith. Spirit Tribe via Eric Fatovic, refused to consider further contact until this blog post was removed. As an act of good faith, I removed the blog post on Tuesday and informed Eric directly of the post’s status in multiple locations, and reminded Spirit Tribe of my willingness to issue an appropriate apology and retraction should any new information come to light, and corroboration of any new information would require cooperation and assistance on the part of Spirit Tribe.
As of today, I have received no response, nor any signal from Spirit Tribe that they wish to receive any retraction or apology from me by corroborating information I received that has the potential to demonstrate that Spirit Tribe acted in good faith up to the point of choosing not to respond to my initial contact on 26 Jul 2018.
This post is, therefore, re-released live with appropriate updates made for accuracy as the story evolves, and my statements stand.
Spirit Tribe took a photograph from DJ Miah Love’s profile that I created. It depicts his likeness and displays artwork created by Diana Lunorb and Kalomo Jordan for Heady, an an unrelated event, for LoveTribe, an unrelated crew, incorporated it into an advertisement for Native Noise Festival 2018 on 25 Jul 2018, and then posted it onto Facebook in multiple places. Spirit Tribe deleted photos in question linked to from the promotional images in question on Monday, 30 Jul 2018, within about four hours of this post going live. Continuing efforts to resolve the issue based on new information received on Tuesday, 31 Jul 2018 and an offer to assist in crafting a more community-friendly photography policy remain ignored. Additionally, Spirit Tribe continues to refuse to directly address any of the issues I raised over their Photography Policy, especially as it relates to children who attend their events.
The photo used for Spirit Tribe’s marketing collateral was textually watermarked by me with my name visible, and the event crew’s website visible, part of my normal workflow prior to delivery of images. Additionally, the photo link it was taken from clearly shows me as the photographer based on the conversation about the photo. The image was incorporated into a Spirit Tribe “Sound Shaman Spotlight” profile graphic, altering the original photo, and obscuring the watermark.
I have reached out to Spirit Tribe to do the right thing in this regard: pay me for commercial use of my image, or remove any advertisement and any post containing the image. Not only have they refused to contact me directly, Eric Allen Fatovic, co-founder of Spirit Tribe, reached out to Miah in an effort to find out if they could continue using it, instead. Clearly, it is seen as having value in Spirit Tribe’s eyes:
“hey brother, we received a message from Adrian regarding the photo we used. He mentioned that ‘the photo itself had been taken at a LoveTribe/Awake Productions event for LoveTribe/Awake Productions’s future marketing collateral and Any model release, licensing/usage rights, property release, or any other agreement on that specific photo of Miah would fall between him, myself, LoveTribe/Awake Productions.’ So I believe since you are the CEO of Love Productions and a DJ at Awake Productions you would be able to use the photo.
I am just trying to figure this out because the image had the watermark cut off and almost completely unnoticable. That is why we weren’t able to see it. But if you have rights of usage to the photo we could possibly keep it up. If not and you would like it removed let me know. The photo got a nice response, so that is why I am asking.”
Eric Allen, Spirit Tribe, 23:40, 26 Jul 2018
It should also be noted that Miah informed Eric that he does not, to the best of his knowledge, have any usage rights to the photo and re-iterated to Eric that he, too read the email I had sent repeating my request to be paid for the photo for Spirit Tribe to remove it. He went so far as to remind Eric to “work it out” with me and that he would repost it if satisfactory arrangements were made. Per Eric’s request to Miah, he had been informed by Miah that he did not have usage rights and that Miah had removed the photo from his own profile.
Spirit Tribe’s Native Noise Festival Photo Policy as of 26 Jul 2018
I searched their photo policy posted online to see where they could make any claim to my photography. One slightly concerning thing I noticed was although it was not particularly difficult to find, it is also not very clear where it can be quickly located.
“All Guests Consent to Photography and Videography when attending the event. This also includes staff, volunteers, and hired workers. Photography and Videography will be used in promotional ads and flyers. Guests with children understand that photography and videography will be taken of their children and consent to the photography and videography being taken. Spirit Tribe hires professional photographers and cinematographers to capture guests enjoying the event. Spirit Tribe possess the copyrights of all photographs taken at the event. Guests release their rights to privacy regarding photography and video consent when entering Native Noise Festival – a public event. Guests are allowed the right to photograph the event as well. Guests who photograph and video the event consent to Spirit Tribe using their photos and videos in promotional ads, and promotional pieces of artwork, such as a flyer, social media post, on website and on social media galleries.”
As of 26 Jul 2018
One slightly concerning thing I noticed was although it was not particularly difficult to find, it is also not very clear where this policy can be quickly located.
As written, no condition exists to where Spirit Tribe would have any rights to my photo: I have never photographed for Spirit Tribe, nor have I ever attended an event hosted by Spirit Tribe. The photo of Miah was not taken at an event hosted by Spirit Tribe. The photo of Miah was released only for use on social media non-commercially. Additionally, the photo was released to LoveTribe for their marketing collateral in exchange for them providing me a few perks and granting my access to their event.
Additionally, any agreement between myself and LoveTribe had been made as a verbal agreement between myself and LoveTribe. In general, this does not create a work-for-hire situation where any copyrights would belong to LoveTribe. Without getting into an in-depth analysis, according to United States Copyright Law, a work-for-hire relationship is generally based on a written agreement. Since no work-for-hire relationship was agreed upon in writing, copyright status legally remains by default, with me, the photographer.
I am including the full text of my email sent to Spirit Tribe here at 19:52, 26 Jul 2018:
Hi Eric, Mickayla, Spirit Tribe, et al!
I was going through my paperwork the other day, and noticed a discrepancy that I thought you could help me clear up.
In your marketing collateral for Native Noise Festival 2018, a photo of mine appears to be used in one of your most recent [“Sound Shaman Spotlight” graphics], depicting Miah Love, a DJ. https://www.facebook.com/djmiahlove
I have searched my records from 09 Apr 2016, the original date of the photo’s public release, through yesterday, 25 Jul 2018, the first date that the altered photo was used commercially by Spirit Tribe. I have been unable to find any record of a commercial-use license purchased by Spirit Tribe authorizing any rights of use to Spirit Tribe.
This is causing me great confusion, especially since the photo itself had been taken at a LoveTribe/Awake Productions event for LoveTribe/Awake Productions’s future marketing collateral. It is also important to note that the image depicts artwork created by Diana Lunorb, aka Artemis, and Kalomo Jordan, aka Meszenjah/Om Olak, both active members of LoveTribe/Awake Productions, and for LoveTribe/Awake Productions’ use. To the best of my knowledge I have never been hired by, or taken photos for, Spirit Tribe or any of Spirit Tribes frequent events, nor has any agreement to license photos been made between myself and Spirit Tribe. Also, to the best of my knowledge, no agreement has been made between Spirit Tribe and anyone else that I am currently affiliated with to share any of my image rights.
To put it simply: Any model release, licensing/usage rights, property release, or any other agreement on that specific photo of Miah would fall between him, myself, LoveTribe/Awake Productions, and/or anyone else to whom I am able to legally assign my rights. Spirit Tribe and I have no such agreements in place.
Did Mickayla have a difficult time in finding who the original photographer was for the image of Miah? I have screenshots of her, in a different photography related thread dated 18 Jun 2018, confidently expressing that she will “give credit whenever [she] can find the information. It’s a photographer’s job to ensure his/her watermark is on their photos when sharing them with the public and other blogs…” To date, this has not happened, and I am happy to provide those screenshots, if you like.
Regardless, “proper credit” does not clear up any commercial usage issues created by altering my original photo, obscuring the watermark, and placing it in an obvious advertisement for Native Noise Festival 2018. Properly licensing my photo will.
From which link below did Mickayla appropriate my photo? After all, a token glance at any of the links I’ve provided below will very easily demonstrate that, I, in fact, have and regularly do watermark my images for the very purpose of easy identification. I imagine that one could even more clearly see the watermark if one were inclined to magnify the image on any modern electronic display. If it had been via one of the links where a conversation between myself and Miah had taken place, Facebook creates a clickable link on my name which would easily bring one to my Facebook profile, where contacting me directly is an equally trivial effort.
Moving forward, for what it is worth, I do have permission from Miah, from Diana, and from Kalomo to license this specific image depicting their respective likeness, and/or intellectual property for Spirit Tribe’s commercial use.
The point to all of this is simple. Spirit Tribe can appropriately help clear up the discrepancy by doing one of the following:
1) Purchase a license for Spirit Tribe’s commercial use. The photo is not authorized for use by Spirit Tribe for any purpose that falls outside of Fair Use. Publishing the altered photo on a page linking to ticket sales falls under commercial use, and is not authorized by myself nor is it allowed under Fair Use provisions.
Is there an address where you’d prefer me to send an invoice? My time at the LoveTribe/Awake Productions event was roughly five hours, plus expenses including round trip travel from Boston to New Haven and parking, plus time editing, plus a licensing fee. This would NOT include my time actually traveling to and from Boston to New Haven, just gas.
My hourly rate is 300/hr for the first hour, and $200/hr per additional hour (listed here: [adrianfeliciano.com/rates] (Original URL has been changed to this one. – Ed))
To base it on just my hourly rate, at 4 hrs, my fee would be $900 but I am willing to offer Spirit Tribe a one time discounted purchase price for the image as full resolution, 16-bit TIFF, with full usage rights, including commercial use, for $375.
2) Please remove any and all advertisements containing my photo immediately.
In the future, please make sure to actually contact the photographer whose images Spirit Tribe would like to use, pay the photographer for the correct usage rights to the photo, and use the images properly under the terms of the rights/license purchased from the photographer.
Thank you for your very prompt assistance in resolving this discrepancy. I will be checking back tomorrow morning.
Love and Light!
An Open Letter to Spirit Tribe:
Dear Spirit Tribe,
When I reached out to Spirit Tribe, I gave until the morning of 27 July 2018. You obviously received and read my email because Eric Allen Fatovic, co-founder of Spirit Tribe, contacted Miah, instead of me, to address my concerns. In the original email, I had given a written time frame of “tomorrow morning” to reply, approximately fourteen hours from the time I sent the email. Within about four hours you had chosen to reach out to Miah directly, instead of to me, so clearly you had access to email and could have contacted me right away to clear the matter up. You didn’t. Rather than confront over it, I continued to quietly give you more time, and you’ve continued to brush me off, and during the course of that time continued to promote for Native Noise Festival, even until Monday 30 Jul 2018 at 09:37AM. I published this blog post at approximately 12:00 on the same day, after you were given approximately four days to respond.
I had hoped you would choose to do the right thing and reach out to me, the copyright holder, in order to quickly resolve the issue. Instead you chose to respond to Miah, who informed you that the status of any usage rights on the photo you chose was very unclear immediately, and chose to continue ignoring me in favor of continuing to promote for Native Noise Festival. Therefore, I am free to conclude that theft, assuming consent exists where there is none, and hypocrisy is acceptable to Spirit Tribe.
According to your own contract, titled “Musician Contract Terms and Agreements” you clearly know the importance and value of respecting the copyrights of photographers, proper credit, and proper licensing of images for promotional use.
Excerpts From Spirit Tribe Document Titled “Musician Contract Terms and Agreements”
“YOU AGREE THAT SPIRIT TRIBE OWNS ALL COPYRIGHTS OVER THE PHOTOGRAPHS AND VIDEOS THAT ARE TAKEN BY THEIR STAFF AT THE EVENT, REGARDLESS IF YOU ARE IN THEM.”
“YOU AGREE YOU WILL NEED TO PURCHASE A LICENSE FOR THE PHOTOS/VIDEOS IF YOU WISH TO USE THEM FOR MOMENTARY, PROMOTIONAL, OR OTHER BUSINESS PURPOSES.”
“YOU AGREE TO GIVE CREDIT TO THE PHOTOGRAPHER/CINEMATOGRAPHER AND THE EVENT (NATIVE NOISE FESTIVAL 2018) IF YOU SHARE THE PHOTOGRAPHS OR VIDEOS THAT HAVE BEEN TAKEN AT THE EVENT. THIS INCLUDES BOTH PROFESSIONAL AND PERSONAL SHARING.”
If you require the very same considerations for your photography as I would for my own, then you should know better than to steal someone else’s photography no matter where you found it, especially after one of your co-founders publicly declares that she always make an effort to contact the photographer and that “it is the photographer’s job” to ensure that their images are properly watermarked when sharing them publicly. In this light, it is an act of hypocrisy for Spirit Tribe to STILL take my photo without my consent, alter it in such a way that it obscures/crops out the very watermark you insist is so important, and then incorporate it into an advertisement in a very obvious violation of United States Copyright Law.
It is not the victim’s job to prevent theft; it is the thief’s responsibility to not steal.
When confronted about it by me, directly, Eric tried to find ways to continue to avoid engaging with me by reaching out to Miah to see if there was any way that he could continue using my photo to advertise for Native Noise Festival.
Consider this to be the only opportunity, and a very firm learning opportunity, that I will give for you and Spirit Tribe to do the right thing by me, yourselves, the artists, and the very community you claim to support and be a part of by doing one of the following:
Pay me for the appropriate rights to use my photo to advertise your event, a desire Eric Fatovic clearly expressed to Miah. Unfortunately, I am no longer offering it to you at the discounted price of $375 that I had proposed via email on 26 Jul 2018. Eric’s obvious and willful attempt to continue using my image to promote Native Noise Festival 2018 via Miah, who has no legal rights to do so, in order to avoid engaging with me directly has destroyed any chance of that.
The price for full-usage rights, including commercial rights, to my photo is now $3,843 based on the following:
$1,200 – 5 total hours at event
$800 – 4 hrs time spent on emails, conversations, phone calls, text messages
$600 – Over 100 miles driving
$400 – 2 hrs editing/post-production
$375 – Licensing Fee
$200 – Wasting my time fee
$112 – Insurance
$50 – Creative Editing fee
$30 – Tolls
$26 – Misc Fees
Delete my photo immediately, including any and all advertisements and marketing collateral, from any and all online pages, groups, social media accounts, properties owned by Spirit Tribe and/or members of Spirit Tribe, Spirit Tribe’s agents, assigns, vendors, and/or anyone else affiliated with Spirit Tribe, and or anyone else potentially affiliated with Spirit Tribe, Native Noise Festival, Into the Wild Festival, and any event associated with Spirit Tribe, and never again try to appropriate any image of mine, or any other photographer’s image(s), for any purpose related to or affiliated with Spirit Tribe, et al. without properly licensing it first, licensing that you require for your own photographic works.
AND (in either case)
Issue a public apology to Miah for putting him in an uncomfortable position due to Spirit Tribe’s assumption of consent existing where there was none; to LoveTribe, in particular to Diana Lunorb, and Kalomo Jordan, for appropriating an image depicting their artwork commercially, again, by assuming consent existed where there was none; to your Community including, but not limited to, members and representatives of your fellow Tribes, crews, groups, festivals, attendees, vendors, venues, and families for making yourselves a very poor example of PLUR, Community, Vibes, and Spiritual Wokeness by engaging in behavior that runs counter to the incredibly thin veneer of Love and Light that you market for yourselves; and, finally, to me for stealing my image, hypocritically declaring that you make every effort to properly contact and credit the creators of images you decide to appropriate while obviously refusing to do so when given the opportunity to live up to your bullshit, trying to find a way to continue using an image you’d stolen, ignoring my outreach to you, and wasting my fucking time when all you needed to do was take five minutes to reach out to me directly and ask if you could make use of a photo (which I would have gladly granted for proper credit back) or reached out to Miah to ask if he had a specific photo that he wanted to use for your festival’s Woke “Sound Shaman” Profile Spotlights, the way that a real and professionally run organization normally would.
AND (in addition to the above)
Change your photography policy into one that is friendly to the following: Your photographers and your brand, the attendees who show up to your events, and to the children of those attendees that you place at incredible risk to their safety in the name of marketing and advertising your events, potentially exposing them to domestic abuse situations, family court problems, and other potential legal issues, by requiring that their consent is given by default to be photographed by your photographers while additionally claiming ownership of any photography taken by any attendee naive enough to be present at your events.
Until you fully comply with all four terms as listed above, and I will accept no less, I will continue to ensure that any artist, photographer, crew, tribe, promoter, organizer, or potential attendee, any other member of our shared communities, anyone I am personal friends with, or anyone else no matter how remotely relevant they are is made very aware of Spirit Tribe’s practices, Spirit Tribe’s willful infringement of me intellectual property, Spirit Tribe’s underhanded responsiveness and refusal to professionally address concerns when contacted directly about them, and Spirit Tribe’s total disregard for the safety and privacy of any child unfortunate enough to be brought to Native Noise Festival, Into the Wild Festival, or any other event hosted by Spirit Tribe as a result of Spirit Tribe’s self-serving photo policy.
All of this could have been very easily avoided if:
Eric Allen or Mickayla Fatovic of Spirit Tribe had reached out to me directly to work things out after my initial notification via email
Eric Allen or Mickayla Fatovic of Spirit Tribe had just bothered to reach out to me directly about using my photo of DJ Miah Love for a Native Noise Sound Shaman Profile
Eric Allen or Mickayla Fatovic of Spirit Tribe had just bothered to reach out to DJ Miah Love about which photo he would have wanted to use for a Native Noise Sound Shaman Profile
Continuing to fix broken links, and image references after migrating website from Squarespace to different web-hosting platform; updated captions and misc text for clarity and deleted redundant content.
18 Oct 2018:
Updated 17:02, 16 Aug 2018 to read “Spirit Tribe has deleted the photo from the three links I had found that began this whole mess.”
Updated names to be more accurate, based on public sources
Added “Into the Wild Festival”
Continual minor edits for grammar, clarity, and continuity
16 Aug 2018
Update “Status Update” section
Updated Blog Title
15 Aug 2018
Updated “About Spirit Tribe and Native Noise Festival 2018” section to better state reasons for refusing to support Spirit Tribe or Spirit Tribe events and to clearly state that issues raised are not personal in nature but are intended to raise Community awareness to problematic behavior within “the Scene” itself.
Updated TL; DR section to clarify more precisely summarize where issues remain
Added direct links in anchor text to Spirit Tribe’s publicly accessible policies
03 Aug 2018
Added “Potentially” to Blog Post Title
Added paragraph explaining how work-for-hire status does not apply between myself and LoveTribe. Linked externally to US Copyright publication, and American Bar Association for reference
Added screen-shot with caption for morning of Monday, 30 Jul 2018
Added references to the time, to the dates, when my original email was sent, and Spirit Tribe’s initial response to Miah was sent. Time difference was approximately within four hours.
Added section describing, and referencing direct quotes, from Spirit Tribe’s “Musician Contract Terms and Agreements”
Added “licensing that you require for your own photographic works”
Altered text with H3 tags, bold face, and/or italicization in places for better emphasis
Emphasized Miah’s actions were taken in good faith, explaining to Eric, of Spirit Tribe, that there were doubts to correct usage rights to the photo selected by Spirit Tribe
Removed references to “The Radial Engine Tribe” from watermark from banner photo, and in image caption. Rephrased to “at a public event before doors opened in Brooklyn, NY”
Updated grammar and punctuation document-wide as appropriate
Updated TL; DR to reflect current status of images. They have been deleted.
Updated first paragraph in “Open Letter” to more clearly describe my use of “tomorrow morning” as a time to respond to, added language to clarify Spirit Tribe’s choice within an hour to respond to Miah instead. Added additional paragraphs describing where I continued to give time to respond while Spirit Tribe continued to promote for approximately four days
Updated document to more clearly reference Eric Allen and Mickayla Gibson in their role as co-founders and representatives of Spirit Tribe rather than referencing them personally
Rephrased paragraph “It is not the victim’s job to prevent theft, just as it is not the victim’s job to prevent their rape. It is the thief’s responsibility to not steal in the first place, just as it is the rapist’s responsibility not to rape” to be more palatable. Rephrased it more succinctly and removed all references to “rape” and “rapist”
Rephrased “trying to sleaze your way behind my back into continuing to use ” as “trying to find a way to continuing using”
Rephrased “engages in such blatantly hostile and predatory behavior towards their Community, and Community’s children” as “engages in such potentially predatory behavior towards their Community, and questionable responsibility toward their Community’s children”
Deleted “To this date, Miah has not heard back from Spirit Tribe after that last message while I have not heard back from Spirit Tribe at all” to reflect Spirit Tribe’s responding to me on Monday 30 Jul 2018
Deleted “Eric and Mickayla” from salutation from “An Open Letter to Spirit Tribe” and replaced reference with “Dear Spirit Tribe:”
Deleted “sleazy” from “Eric’s obvious and willfully sleazy attempt”
Deleted “How slimy of you, Eric”
Deleted word “Spiritool” from “Woke ‘Sound Shaman’ Spiritool Profile Spotlights”
Deleted “As parents of children, yourselves, how dare you!”
Deleted “Mickayla” from “I mean, proper credit DOES ‘help in the growth of MY photography,’ too, right, Mickayla?”
06 Aug 2019
Status update re: copyright infringement under Digital Millennium Copyright Act added.
During the height of summer festival season for 2018, and I began seeing things that bothered me more and more. It really brought out issues of consent, particularly where it is assumed to be granted vs where it is explicitly granted, and the idea of “community.”
At one festival, a friend had a gift from her mother cut off her tent and stolen as part of a Pirate Flag stealing game. It was her first festival, and none of this was explained to her. It was just assumed she was participating, and has been told multiple (paraphrased) times that “well, that’s just how the game goes,” and “if you didn’t want it stolen, you should not have brought it.”
It happens that at a festival I attended, the year before, I had my own pirate flag that I had put out onto the side of Nightshade, specifically, so friends who were attending could find where we were camped. Someone on a golf cart, claiming to be a member of security, warned that “well, it’s gonna get stolen, cuz that’s how the game goes.” Again, this was new to me, and after pushing back along the lines of “no one here has consented to this game” his reply was, basically, “it doesn’t matter, I’m just giving a warning and a heads up; it will get stolen.”
Again, how rape-y.
Concerning another festival due to take place later in 2018, a friend discovered that a photo of her and her child had been used for this year’s marketing collateral. After some back and forth with members of the festival crew, it was pointed out to her that she had consented to all terms and conditions on their website by agreeing to attend. Though this is normal, what I found specifically concerning was “All guests consent to photography…[to be used] in promotional [material]” and that people attending with children “understand that photography WILL be taken of their children” and that they “consent to photography” of their children, also to be used potentially in promotional material. Their photo policy further states that they possess full copyright “of all photographs” taken during their event and that “guests who photograph [at the event] consent to [the crew] using their photos” in promotional material. Her follow up contacts have been ignored by the festival crew in question ever since. It appears to be their modus operandi.
Yet again, how rape-y.
Also concerning that same festival crew’s marketing efforts, I discovered a photo of mine edited and used to advertise ticket sales for the same festival without my consent, and without any compensation. My out-reach to them was most definitely read and ignored. Instead, the event crew’s co-founder reached out to the talent depicted in the photo in order to see about continuing to use the photo. They never contacted me directly about using it or continuing to use it. Ultimately, my attorney sued them for copyright infringement.
Once again, how rape-y.
Another annual event’s photo policy states that “your attendance…grants consent for any picture or movie that is put in the public domain, taken by you, to be used [by us].” People who pay to attend are consenting, by default, that any photography they take, professional or not, can be used promotionally to sell tickets to the event, without any need to contact the original photographer or to discuss purchasing rights to use those photographs in any commercial manner.
Still fucking rape-y.
And, in 2019, I attended a festival in Massachusetts. For the 4 days on site before the festival opened, the pirate flag was left alone. I had put it up for friends to use as a landmark, again, to help them find me once the festival itself opened. On the day the festival opened, the flag was stolen from my camp. During dinner, that same night, I made an announcement that it was stolen, and thievery was not cool. Though some sitting at dinner snickered, a couple of people sneered, and I pointed out that snickering and sneering at a theft was not cool, no one came forward. The flag, ultimately, was never returned.
Contrast the above behavior, experiences, and policies with excerpts from the venue page that hosts The Starwood Festival, a Pagan oriented summer festival in Ohio:
Leave No Trace is a set of principles for participation in outdoor recreation that seeks to minimize the impact on the natural environment. Proponents of Leave No Trace believe that individual impacts caused by recreation can accumulate to degrade the land. Therefore, the Leave No Trace message encourages people who spend time in the out-of-doors to behave in such a way that they can minimize unavoidable impacts and prevent avoidable impacts. It is often summarized: “Take only photos, leave only foot prints.”
Please be respectful of the privacy of others while photographing and recording. It is necessary to obtain permission from the subjects to photograph people.
If it is not yours, please leave it where it is. This could be a chair, a drum, a blanket, or other instruments. The owner WILL return for that item, whether it be tonight, tomorrow, or next year. Please help us maintain the trust we hold with our attendees that their things will be safe with their neighbors.
Please do not touch anyone without their consent, be they dancer, drummer, or other energy worker. You are also an energy worker, and please feel empowered to speak to any of the staff nearby, or a fire tender, if you are made to feel uncomfortable. Please do be aware that drummers, dancers, and energy workers may be on their own journeys, and attempting to engage them is a form of energetic touch which also requires consent.
During my time at Starwood, I put out my pirate flag. It was left alone, even though there were Pirates everywhere and I was on site for a week.
From start to finish, the Starwood Festival was true community participation. The opening ceremony was an authentic and honest ritual without any ridiculously new-age appropriative “shamanic” costuming and verbal psychotwaddle, one that took itself so seriously that they could laugh every time someone made a mistake. Saturday night at Starwood, which is typically the peak night of any festival that takes place, generated more energy and tapped into deeper magick with more reliance on organic instruments, individual moments of ritual, and the acknowledgment that accepting chaos and loss of control is as equally necessary as structure and planning.
Via conversations held with people, Starwood had its largest festival attendance (estimates were about 1,200 by Saturday afternoon), and on Sunday it was stated that there were zero calls required to any outside services. No medical/EMS calls and no calls to Law Enforcement needed to be contacted, and the property was, to the best of my knowledge, left completely alone and un-harassed by any outside authorities.
I urge us all to look past the veneer of whichever festivals we have attended this year or in years past. The most powerful magick, art, performance, or transformative festival experience occurs when the artist, magus, director, or crew can create the ritual experience, canvas, stage, or structure that allows the participants to tap into the deep flow of energy on their own, in their own way, as they will. In the end, what is magick, but “the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will.” Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.
We preach magick and transformative experiences yet fail at allowing deep magick to truly manifest in favor of more lights, more visuals, more sonic ambience, more forced authenticity, creating the proper aesthetic, and lust for control and structure. We preach consent and support while failing to see how another person may need to be heard or listened to. We assume or we require that consent is given just by virtue of physically existing in the same space. We preach PLUR constantly, but fail to apply it to others in favor of requiring it and expecting it for ourselves first. Therefore, I feel it is appropriate to challenge all of the so-called transformational festival crews, organizations, tribes, retreats, events, burns, and communities that we are a part of to actually learn something from Starwood Festival’s example.
We conveniently appropriate elements of paganism, here and there, into our respective scenes while forgetting that Pagans have been partying in the wilderness, and have been doing it better with far less, for a much, much longer time. We can do better.
We must do better.
The Pufferdome at Starwood Festival: A Photo Gallery