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For those who care about copyright


robert_k1
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<p>This is an old and very common story. Most "contests," in this context, are just inexpensive (for the sponsor) ways to pile up stock photography for them and most anyone to whom they grant license for use of the images. Whether or not such usage is a cash cow for the organizers of the contests, it's certainly a way for them to avoid any expenses when they need images for everything from TV ads to calendars, mailers, web content, and so on. <br /><br />Further, they can hand off those images to any partner (say, a large business interest) that is lined up with them on a campaign, donation, or relationship of virtually of <em>any</em> sort.<br /><br />As one poster in that thread comments, there are probably some very good photographers who knowingly surrender their work to such organizations, either out of an affinity for the group, or just to enjoy the exposure. They probably underestimate the breadth of the license they're granting - which includes the contest holder's rights to pass the images off to third parties, without any requirement to credit the photographer during actual use. A photographer's treasured antelope-sunrise-rock-formation shot could wind up licensed to a manufacturer of hunting equipment, off-road vehicles, or Viagra with the image hacked up and 'shopped into oblivion.<br /><br />So many photographers think they're just lightly engaging with the warm-and-fuzzy do-gooder entities that hold these photo harvesting "contests," and don't realize that they're actually dealing with very sly, cynical, oily marketing organizations that can see suckers coming from a mile away. I used to be a bit shocked by how craven the whole thing is, but now I'm just grimly amused by how many people fall for it.</p>
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<p>don't realize that they're actually dealing with very sly, cynical, oily marketing organizations</p>

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<p>Does anyone have any examples of contest photos that ended up in commercial usage (other than to promote the organization/publication sponsoring the contest) and would hence justify all the adjectives?</p>

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<p>I particiularly like this language from a recent National Geographic contest:<br /><br />"<strong>Selected entries may be published by either Sponsor, or</strong> <strong>their licensees, affiliates or designees (the "Authorized Parties")</strong> <strong> in print, on the web, or in any other medium, in Authorized Parties' discretion. </strong>By participating, all entrants grant a license in the entries to Authorized Parties, and acknowledge that Authorized Parties may use the entries in any media now or hereafter known, without restriction, including commercially using and exploiting the entries to fullest extent possible."<br /><br />The most interesting part is the "or designees" (which means, of course, that the Sponsor can designate <em>anyone</em> as a licensee). They can run a stock library, and charge to their heart's content. As indicated by the "exploiting the entries to fullest extent possible" part. In a way, that's refreshing. They're not just telling you they might use the images commercially, they're practically <em>promising</em> they will. <br /><br />Jeff: for examples of contest photos being used commercially, you only have to throw a dart at Google. <strong><a href="http://parconline.multiply.com/journal/item/75/Good_news_My_photo_is_on_a_billboard_....but">Here's one of the first random examples</a></strong>. It's typical. The photographer didn't read the fine print, and of course has only himself to blame. I'm not saying that the contest sponsors are doing anything illegal, only that many of them go to a lot of trouble to hype the social aspects of the contest, trying very hard to dimish the participants' awareness of their real purpose for collecting all of those images in the first place.</p>
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<p>other than to promote the organization/publication sponsoring the contest</p>

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<p>This was the important point I was making as you referencing licensing out to other companies. This is in-house usage. I was more interested in your comment:</p>

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<p>A photographer's treasured antelope-sunrise-rock-formation shot could wind up licensed to a manufacturer of hunting equipment, off-road vehicles, or Viagra with the image hacked up and 'shopped into oblivion.</p>

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<p>In that example, Gia, the model has her back to the camera, and arguably isn't identifiable. That frequently mitigates the need for the release. Um, says the non-arguably <em>non</em> lawyer, me. So, to each their own research and conclusions on that particular detail. <br /><br />There are a lot of these contests that, of course, specifically tell you that if you're selected as a finalist/winner, you'll have to produce releases for anyone recognizably seen in the image... or, they'll have to select an alternate winner. They're no dummies - they want no friction when they go to license/use those shots.</p>
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<p>It's really not about whether the <em>rules</em> are fair (since nobody is forced to participate). For me, the issue is whether the "contest" is being aimed at a generally less-savvy audience. A demographic to whom it would never occur that their favorite vaction shot could wind up making someone <em>else</em> money just because they thought they'd enter it in a contest.<br /><br />It's everyone's responsibility to read the terms of such things, and it's on them if they don't, of course. But some of them are clearly more predatory than others, and are conceived <em>specifically</em> as a way to harvest stock, rather than using the same legal boilerplate to preserve the rights to use the images in connection with the mission of the organization and the contest iteself.</p>
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<p>Peter Weimann - it already exists: here http://copyrightaction.com/forums/copyright-alerts/photo-competitions</p>

<p>The clause in many of these so-called 'competitions' that is really trying it on is the one that demands (despite you unwittingly handing over all rights so they can do as they please with your image) that you accept liability for any legal actions raised against them or their affiliates as a result of THEIR use of your image. What a load of bullshit.</p>

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<p>at a generally less-savvy audience. A demographic to whom it would never occur that their favorite vaction shot could wind up making someone <em>else</em> money just because they thought they'd enter it in a contest.</p>

 

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<p><br />Hmmm?..Kinda' has a little "Micro-Stock" feel to it. ;)</p>

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<p><em>This was a thread on a different forum, from about 4 months ago. Does it have topicality?</em></p>

<p>I don't know but there seems to be no harm in reminding people, especially those who did not read about the subject four months ago, to read the fine print when entering photos in constests.<em><br /> </em></p>

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<p><em>It's really not about whether the rules are fair (since nobody is forced to participate). For me, the issue is whether the "contest" is being aimed at a generally less-savvy audience. A demographic to whom it would never occur that their favorite vaction shot could wind up making someone else money just because they thought they'd enter it in a contest.</em><br>

<em>It's everyone's responsibility to read the terms of such things, and it's on them if they don't, of course. But some of them are clearly more predatory than others, and are conceived specifically as a way to harvest stock, rather than using the same legal boilerplate to preserve the rights to use the images in connection with the mission of the organization and the contest iteself.</em>

<p>Very well put. Posts like these will help those who are clueless or desparate. They may think twice before submitting anything online, and we will hear less whining of work being "stolen" here.</p>

</p>

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<p>As a new poster (member) I am not going to read 4 mos old post. Not saying I wont if I search a particular topic - but I woulndt have seen this topic if not reposted.<br>

LOL - I just went to a customer service meeting, and one person said "Isnt this redundant..." Well, maybe to the old-timers in the company - but not everyone....same goes here. Thanks for posting :)</p>

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<p>That thread may be started months ago, but new posts are very recent.<br>

Forums such as this one (and the referenced one) could made it a lot easier for the readers/searchers by creating a archive page/list of old but worthy threads, organized by topics. Those who care to read these first won't be asking the same old questions, and getting the same old answers repeatedly. That will definitely reduce the amount of redundant postings. But is that what these forum owners want?</p>

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