Organizers had initially sought AP photo coverage from inside the ceremony, but said that due to coronavirus precautions it could not accommodate a wire service photographer.
The association instead said the AP could license images of the show. The AP declined.
The AP said it would cover the show if it could take screenshots of the broadcast, as it has done successfully for the Emmy Awards, BET Awards, MTV Video Music Awards and others. The CMA instead said it would only grant AP permission if it agreed to not move screenshots from the broadcast that included the faces of guests seated in the audience.
The AP insists that if it covers the event, it be done so without restrictions on images that are publicly broadcast.