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Thread: Why you wouldnt enter a photo competition that grabs all your rights

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    Why you wouldnt enter a photo competition that grabs all your rights

    In my role as Photographic Competitions Watchdog - aka photowatchdog.com.au - after a great deal of lobbying, I've finally managed to arrange a one on one meeting with Queensland Government on the issue of their photographic competitions.

    I'll keep this reasonably simple and to the point. All of their competitions, are based on the premise, that every entrant to all of their specific competitions agrees to the unlimited use, without payment or reward, in perpetuity for whatever Qld Gov can think of.

    Prizes are always minimal, and there is only normally one prize per category - 3 categories in most cases.

    The reason for the competitions is not to encourage photography, but to aquire imagery at a very low outlay.


    The important part to remember that all entrants agree to these terms and conditions, and that its not just the winners, and finalists that are used.

    So I would like to ask everyone here (wether you live in Qld or not), do you support the approach of the Qld Gov in their approach to Photographic Competitions ?

    I'd like to hear from all areas - ie from the occasional amateur, the committed enthusiast, the semi professional and the professional.

    Can you please state at the beginning of your response, which area you consider you fit in?

    So please give me your opinions. Please try and be direct and to the point.
    William

    www.longshots.com.au

    I am the PhotoWatchDog

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    My response

    I'm a full time professional that depends on stills photography alone. I've been selling my work for over 35 years, and dependant on my photography income alone, for over 20 years.

    The World Intellectual Property Organization defines the purpose of copyright and related rights as follows-
    The purpose of copyright and related rights is twofold: to encourage a dynamic creative culture, while returning value to creators so that they can lead a dignified economic existence, and to provide widespread, affordable access to content for the public.
    Photographic competitions which depend on rights grabbing, seek to take advantage of a dynamic creative culture without returning value to creators and therefore the practice of rights grabbing is unethical, and morally questionable.

    A government should be demonstrating the best of standards, and not the worst.

    I will be appealing to Qld Government to follow the same path of Brisbane City Council who understand what a good competition is, and pointing towards NSW Government who also have understood the concept of doing the right thing.



    Brisbane Lord Mayors Competition
    http://www.museumofbrisbane.com.au/P...20Brochure.pdf

    NSW competition
    http://www.parliamentaryphotoprize.com.au/

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Well said William.

    I personally do not have an issue with the winners and place-getters photos being used by the competition organisers. As long as the prizes are commensurate to the intended use. I feel the prize must represent the value the photo gives to the government department. So a $50.00 prize for a photo that is used as the prime image in an international marketing campaign, which probably costs $M's to produce is not value in my books. However a local government competition with say a $100.00 prize where the photo is to be used on the council's rubbish collection date pamphlet is probably quite appropriate.

    I think the government departments should be transparent and advise what purposes the photos are being retained for. After all, big private competitions tell you what will happen to your photo should you win.

    Rule 27 in Christian's Competition as an example

    Nikon Photo Contest International
    has use that defines photos maybe used to promote the competition and also that they will be used in the exhibition. It also has the following clause which is what I alluded to above:

    A separate agreement will need to be reached should the organizer, its subsidiaries or affiliates wish to publish a submitted photograph for purposes other than the promotion of the contest.


    I think this or similar should be something your consider as a point in your discussions.

    Good Luck. Go get em!

    However, if they wish to use photos entered by those that did not place at all, there should be a clause that advises that entrants may be contacted and negotiations take place for use of the photo. No matter what, at all times copyright and moral rights should be retained by the photographer until such time as payment/agreement is reached on each specific photo!
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

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    Wish I had seen that NSW one a bit earlier!
    Odille

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    Quote Originally Posted by ricktas View Post
    Well said William.

    I personally do not have an issue with the winners and place-getters photos being used by the competition organisers. As long as the prizes are commensurate to the intended use. I feel the prize must represent the value the photo gives to the government department. So a $50.00 prize for a photo that is used as the prime image in an international marketing campaign, which probably costs $M's to produce is not value in my books. However a local government competition with say a $100.00 prize where the photo is to be used on the council's rubbish collection date pamphlet is probably quite appropriate.

    I think the government departments should be transparent and advise what purposes the photos are being retained for. After all, big private competitions tell you what will happen to your photo should you win.

    Rule 27 in Christian's Competition as an example

    Nikon Photo Contest International
    has use that defines photos maybe used to promote the competition and also that they will be used in the exhibition. It also has the following clause which is what I alluded to above:

    A separate agreement will need to be reached should the organizer, its subsidiaries or affiliates wish to publish a submitted photograph for purposes other than the promotion of the contest.


    I think this or similar should be something your consider as a point in your discussions.

    Good Luck. Go get em!

    However, if they wish to use photos entered by those that did not place at all, there should be a clause that advises that entrants may be contacted and negotiations take place for use of the photo. No matter what, at all times copyright and moral rights should be retained by the photographer until such time as payment/agreement is reached on each specific photo!

    BTW thanks for quoting both those competitions, as I was consulted with both, and specifically made the suggestion to both Nikon and Canon about future use agreements.

    And yes I too have no problem with winners and finalists being used. Its the issue of every entrant being used, and potentially for purposes not within the competitions purpose. For instance, hypothetically, picture of Grandad and Son hand in hand walking along pathway, being entered into family Queenslanders, and then being able to be used for Qld Child Protection week

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    G'day William

    vote = one-use only agreement

    I have got to the stage that I do not enter gov't or semi-gov't or commercial competitions at all due to their greedy attitude to get hi-quality images either for free, or for a pittance

    Regards, Phil
    Of all the stuff in a busy photographers kitbag, the ability to see photographically is the most important
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    Hi
    I fall into the committed enthusiast category and find the unrelenting want from all levels of government of photography to further their own cause amazing, they are so keen on creating a user pays environment, but only for incoming revenue, not out going.
    Cheers
    Cris

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    The DENR (SA) Art of Nature comp is another example.
    http://www.artofnature.sa.gov.au/site/art_of_nature.jsp

    It's not just competitions that seek to reap free IP, but some unscrupulous business ventures.
    (eg. http://www.ausphotography.net.au/for...ad.php?t=64772)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Longshots View Post
    The important part to remember that all entrants agree to these terms and conditions, and that its not just the winners, and finalists that are used.
    Yes, and for that reason whenever the issue of competitions arises, I advise people to read the terms and conditions.

    Most times they are not favourable to the photographers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Longshots View Post
    So I would like to ask everyone here (wether you live in Qld or not), do you support the approach of the Qld Gov in their approach to Photographic Competitions ?
    I do not support any competition whose terms come down to "all your images are belong to us".

    My belief is that the individual photographer should retain copyright and have control over where and how his/her image is used.

    If competition promoters are using these competitions as a way to harvest images, then I'm even less keen on them.

    People really need to read T&Cs carefully, and if the photographers have "irreconcilable differences" with them (as I often do), they should simply exercise their freedom of choice not to enter, and therefore not to diminish (or obliterate) their own rights and devalue photography in general.

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    William - I basically agree with Rick.

    Having worked for a government department until recently, I have first hand experience of their "strange" practices regarding the cost of products and services - at the same time as their blundering (mis-)management of the money that's allocated to them in outdated, so-called "budgeting" processes!

    I probably shouldn't cast all governments in the same light as my particular experience, but let's just say I would need a great deal of persuasion to change my mind about governments in general!

    Anyway, photographically, I am a complete hobbyist at the moment. I don't currently sell any photos, but I'm not discounting the option to do so at some point in the future. Any decision I make now regarding what I do with my photos will always have that thought at the back of my mind. To completely lose any rights whatsoever over a photo I have taken and submit to a competition, deprives me of that potential future income (subject matter notwithstanding, given all the other rules and regulations about what we can and can't sell commercially!!).

    If I enter a competition, I want absolute certainty that the organiser has no rights to do anything at all with my photo should I fail to place in the competition. If I do manage to get a place, or even win (), I want to know exactly what the photo will be used for - and the limits on what it can be used for, because again, I have to offset that against any potential future income. A $50 prize and the photo being used in perpetuity by the organiser is not going to entice me to enter that particular competition!

    Get stuck into the Queensland Government! Their practices are abhorrent.
    Cheryl B.

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    Other side of the hill ...
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    With the support of the forum owner and mods, I ran the Puppy Linux competition last month to find an image to use as the default desktop. One of the conditions was that the winning entry - and that entry alone - was required to be made GPL as the Linux distribution itself is GPL/LGPL. It occurred to me after "borrowing" the rules from one of Rick's competitions that I had failed to say what happened to the photographer's rights to his or her image if they won but the image was not used for the purpose entered. For that reason I added the following clause:

    "Rule Addition - specific criterion #7:

    The adjudicator and the Puppy Linux community is under no obligation to use ANY image submitted for any purpose, regardless of the outcome of the competition. In the event that no image is chosen for use with the projected software release, the adjudicator will not exercise the requirement for the winning image to be given over under the Gnu Public Licence (GPL) and will instead simply nominate a winner and two runners-up in this thread."

    As the sponsor of a competition that was trying to get "something for almost nothing", even though the requirement was to give the IP over as GPL we were quite prepared to follow the principles of Creative Commons by Attribution in distributing the image.

    I say ALL of that to simply put my answer in the proper context.

    I think it is DISGUSTING that a public enterprise of any sort should seek to deprive individuals of their rights without giving up something meaningful in compensation. It is called EXPLOITATION and I hate in whatever guise it represents itself. The obvious argument is they were only "trying to give the taxpayer value for money", but conveniently forget that it's a taxpayer they are exploiting in the process! if they wanted to save taxpayer money in such matters, how about cutting out some of their own extravagances to pay for the appropriate purchase of the IP?

    Go hard, sir, and do NOT give up the fight!
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    Want to be a professional - currently part time working photographer.

    I work on a casual basis for I & I NSW - a big super department.
    This is there model release..

    CONDITIONS OF USE I&I NSW may:
    • Use the photographs in any way it chooses. This includes distorting, blurring or altering the images as needed.
    • Produce the photographs in either colour or black and white.
    • Use and reuse the photographs for an unlimited time at no further cost to the Department.
    • Transfer or supply the images to another agency of the State of New South Wales without further permission.
    • Copyright of the photographs will be held by the State of New South Wales and will be managed by I&I NSW.

    Why would i give them any image for FREE but people do....

    I will not enter any competition where my rights are taken away.
    Good luck William it is a good thing you are doing....
    Jeff - Jeff D Photography
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    www.jeffdphotography.com.au


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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffde View Post
    CONDITIONS OF USE I&I NSW may:
    I have no problems with that IF the photographer (and model) are paid appropriately.

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    Perhaps these government bodies could consider photographs as a work of art instead of a product or commodity. That way, they could show more respect for copyright issues.
    Maybe they could think to structure their guidelines to a similar form such as the Archibald.
    http://thearchibaldprize.com.au/09/
    Last edited by RaoulIsidro; 19-08-2010 at 4:33pm.
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    Well I had a two hour meeting with Qld Gov today, and can say that their reactions and approach to amending this issue brightened my day.

    As I've said on another forum, dont get misdirected by the copyright issue. Most organisers are savvy enough to recognise and respect copyright - well apart from Tourism Australia with their original terms and conditions before I managed to persuade them to seriously adapt them - and now while most organisers will say that the entrant keeps their copyright (hmm very big of them! ), what many try on is that every entrant gives the competition organisers an unrestriced licence to use the image (at no cost) in perpetuity, and without credit (moral rights).

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    Quote Originally Posted by RaoulIsidro View Post
    Perhaps these government bodies could consider photographs as a work of art instead of a product or commodity. That way, they could show more respect for copyright issues.
    Maybe they could think to structure their guidelines to a similar form such as the Archibald.
    http://thearchibaldprize.com.au/09/
    They do in this report they refer to photography
    http://www.arts.gov.au/public_consul...inquiry/report
    Thanks Steve
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    Hi I'm an avid enthusiast(from Brissie) and after finding out about the dodgy Tourism Australia "scam" I am very reluctant to enter any government photo competitions.

    Unfortunately I don't make money from my photos but I feel that the free photo grab devalues the art of photography.

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    A great thread... very informative... makes me wary of entering comps!

    I am probably at enthusiast level... long term would like to earn some pocket money from photogaphy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kym View Post
    I have no problems with that IF the photographer (and model) are paid appropriately.
    Sorry Kym i should have added there is no payment in I & I for either photographer or model...

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    I consider my self a commited enthusiast at this point in time. As has been said, I too think prizes etc for competition winners should be commensurate with how/where/how long the images are going to be used - ie what would reasonably be expected to paid by an end commercial user to acquire those images, and with the entrant/photographer still retaining all copyright and licensing permissions.

    Furthermore all competition entrants (regardless of result in said competition) should retain all rights over their work and in no way forfeit those rights for any usage 'that the organiser and/or promoter sees fit'!
    Attitude is everything!

    Cheers, Paul

    Nikon

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