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Author Topic: Photo contests and IP rights  (Read 3940 times)
mobsterman
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« on: September 18, 2006, 11:45:09 PM »
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Hi, I'm new here and this is the second issue I'm bringing to this forum for your advice and opinions.

As a freshly minted digital photography hobbyist, I've been on the lookout for contests that offer the chance of winning equipment (dreams push us forward, right?) The one I noticed a week ago is the Win an Alpha100 contest.

I read the Alpha100 contest T&Cand it says that "contestants agree to assign all intellectual property rights of the pictures submitted to Sony and NGC". When I googled "assignment", I found that there's a difference between "assignment of rights" and "granting a licence"

Just yesterday, I noticed this article "Shock as Nikon UK endorses rights-grabbing competition" where Nikon is being criticised for being associated with an online travel company's photo competition (Opodo Reflections Competition).

I read the Opodo terms and conditionsand it says:

"By submitting photos to Opodo, you agree to grant Opodo limited and its group companies a royalty-free, non-exclusive, transferable, right to reproduce, market, store, adapt, distribute, communicate and make available to the public the Photos in any way Opodo wants whether through Opodo's online services and/or through other products or services (whether online or offline). Opodo may use the Photos as set out above in any medium worldwide, including those which may come into existence in future.  

You will still own all your rights to the Photos you submit, but Opodo will own all right, title, and interest in any compilations, collective works or other derivative works created by Opodo which use or incorporate the Photos.  You agree to waive your moral rights in respect of the Photos and Opodo use of the Photos
."

I can understand if there is dissatisfaction over both contests imposing their respective conditions on ALL contestants - not just the winners. But I was wondering why nobody has said a word about the Alpha100 conditions. Could it be the lure of NatGeo?

In my opinion, and I could very well be wrong, the Opodo T&C is less "invasive" than the Alpha100 T&C. Opodo does not require contestants to assign all their IP rights to the organisers.

I wonder if I'm missing something here - perhaps I've isunderstood "assign all intellectual property rights".

Anyone, please?
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Hank
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« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2006, 03:30:49 PM »
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Here's another way to look at the question.

I'll present this to a car dealer and see if they'll sign:

"You agree that by allowing me to test drive this vehicle, you will asign title and all rights to me free of charge.  In exchange I agree to drive the car and display it prominently so your enterprise gets lots of good exposure."  

If photos are products, I'd like to hear of ANY other product that is given away in the same fashion.  Cars, computers, software.  You name it.

Come on folks.  Think!
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russell a
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« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2006, 04:58:54 PM »
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It's the unfortunate situation that most, if not on some level, all, contests are scams of one sort or another. They are great fund-raisers. The photographer/artist, starved for attention and recognition, will:  1) pay an entry fee, 2) for the opportunity to have their work evaluated by persons of widely varying qualification and unpredicatable taste, 3)  with a low probability that they will receive exposure that  4) results in any advantage to them of any sort, and 5) may or may not get their work returned in a condition that will allow them to re-use it.  Ripping off rights, as the poster above cites is just another feature of the scamming.   The operative question becomes how much one is willing to invest in the opportunity to "play artist".

A variation on this theme in my area are seasonal "parties" "to bring collectors and photographers together".  The photographers seriously outnumber the "collectors", pay for this "opportunity", and elbow one another in the throat to capture the limited table space and end up not moving any product.
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Nick Rains
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« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2006, 08:47:38 PM »
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Never ever enter ANY 'competition' with any T+C clauses assigning all rights to the sponsor/organiser. Even a 'non-exclusive' license like the one above is effectively reliquishing all your rights because you are allowing the organiser to do whatever they like with your images permanently, including selling them on.

It's not just small groups who do this, the Australian Tourism Commission recently did exactly this, in conjunction with a major newspaper group, News Limited, one of the biggest media groups in the world.

These people know that loads of wannabee photographers will fall over themselves for the small chance to be published and exploit that fact to the n'th degree.

Our Pro body over (AIPP) here has a lot to say on the subject and actively contacts anyone trying to scam copyright off people in this manner.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2006, 08:53:55 PM by Nick Rains » Logged

Nick Rains
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mobsterman
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« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2006, 11:48:59 PM »
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Hank, I like your comparison – do unto others …… (I forget the rest).

Russell, I agree with you and I think it stems from human nature to be optimistic and hopeful. Unless the “photographer/startist” puts down his feet and says no, these organizers will continue with their merry ways.

Nick, thanks for your advice (and I will follow it!) though I wouldn’t consider the Alpha100 organisers small groups. Many in my community are taken in by the chance to be associated with that particular august organization.

By the way, I had a relook at the Alpha100 T&C earlier yesterday. Seems they have amended the T&C for all contestants for the better:

“agree to assign rights of their pictures usage … for their promotional purposes” instead of “agree to assign all intellectual property rights of the pictures submitted.”

“As such, Sony and NGC will have full rights to the pictures usage for any above and below-the-line marketing activities and any other activities.” has been deleted.

However, I notice that they still use the word assign which I take exception to.

As for the T&C for the 3 chosen winners, they’ve added in a time limit of 1 year for their right to use the pics taken by the winners using the Alpha100. They still require the 3 winners to assign all IP rights to them (for the 30 pics they’ll take with the prize cam, I think) – I doubt I’ll be one of the 3 if I enter, but I think it’s fair for the winners to give up their IP rights for the shots taken with the prize.

Hmmm,  maybe they’re reacting to the Opodo/Nikon furore.

Once again, thanks to all who have taken the trouble to share their opinions. Really appreciate it, folks.
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mobsterman
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« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2006, 04:46:54 AM »
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Good news, folks! My little voice has been heard by the people at NGC. I’ve just had another re-look at the T&C & it appears to me that they’ve further amended it.

I first wrote to them last week & they told me on Tuesday that they’d revised the T&C to the wording mentioned in my previous post. I pressed on and wrote to them to explain why they should replace “assign” with “grant”. And lo and behold they’ve done just that!

Morale of the story? If you don’t try, you’ll never know … even if you’re just a faceless, nameless little voice in the wilderness. And big organizations do listen if you reason with them.
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Andrew Teakle
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« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2006, 07:25:49 AM »
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Well done mobsterman. Most people would just grumble and forget about it.
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alainbriot
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« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2006, 05:41:53 PM »
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Quote
Never ever enter ANY 'competition' with any T+C clauses assigning all rights to the sponsor/organiser. Even a 'non-exclusive' license like the one above is effectively reliquishing all your rights because you are allowing the organiser to do whatever they like with your images permanently, including selling them on.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=77110\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I second Nick on this.  Definitly a "no no" as they say.
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Alain Briot
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Rob C
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« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2006, 02:54:56 PM »
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Quote
I second Nick on this.  Definitly a "no no" as they say.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=77315\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Hi folks

For what it's worth, my opinion closely follows others here with regard to assigning rights, but further, I would refrain from entering any competitions at all.

I base this on a personal experience many years ago when I was about nineteen years old. I was member of a camera club because it provided me with the only darkroom I could access; they ran a competition and I thought I'd come up with a pretty good shot. It got nowhere, along with the comment that it was 'too commercial'. Now, I could have been really discouraged at not getting anywhere with a good shot; I might have folded there and then with such comment from the 'seniors'. But instead, I went on to make a damn good career as a professional photographer whilst the other members went on - well, being camera club members.

So the advice remains: keep away from gurus because they are primarily self-appointed, and as they tend to run most things in the amateur world they cannot permit themselves to be challenged.

Sleep well - Rob C
« Last Edit: September 23, 2006, 02:56:01 PM by Rob C » Logged

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