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Author Topic: Nature Conservancy Photo Contest - A Warning  (Read 21596 times)
JeffKohn
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« Reply #20 on: October 21, 2009, 12:27:46 PM »
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Quote from: markhout
This is from the Ansel Adams contest rules.

"Participants, by participating in this Contest, hereby waive and release, and agree to defend, indemnify and hold harmless, Sponsor, SmugMug, Inc., all contest and advertising agencies, and their respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, distributors, and all of their respective officers, directors, employees, representatives and agents, and their respective successors and assigns (the “Indemnified Parties”), from and against, any and all rights, claims and causes of action whatsoever that they may have, or which may arise, against any of them for any liability for any matter, cause or thing whatsoever, including but not limited to any injury, loss, damage, whether direct, compensatory, incidental or consequential, to person, including death and property, arising in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, from: their acceptance, possession, use or misuse of the prize in the Contest; or their participation in the Contest; or the use of the Photograph, including without limitation any claims relating to violations of the Content Restrictions."

Not very easy to read, but from what I understand there is simply no claim possible.

As noted above, this is just a reminder that everyone should read the rules and decide whether to submit based on what they feel comfortable with. I don't believe that this is a rights grab (so I agree with Jeff), but rather an agreement not to claim if images are used for any purpose by a very broad group of "Indemnified Parties".
That's an indeminify clause though, basically it's CYA for them if the photo turns out to something that you didn't have the right to publish or enter int he contest (for instance, it's not your picture, or it depicts a person you didn't get a release for, etc). I don't think there's anything there that gives them the right to use your image beyond what's outlined in the paragraph I quoted from in my first post.
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ceyman
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« Reply #21 on: October 21, 2009, 01:15:37 PM »
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Quote from: Chris_T
What we need is more photographers speaking up, like Fairnsquare and many here. If we don't act to protect our rights ourselves, we can't expect others to.

Oh, I agree completely.  Also, speaking up makes others aware of what rights they are giving up.  Actually, the Ansel Adams contest conditions seem reasonable and a good model for others to use.  I'd suggest pointing those out to others holding contests as a model.  Those who intend to steal your work will not care.  Those who are sincere, but just copied someone else's conditions might take notice and change.

Carl
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gdanmitchell
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« Reply #22 on: October 26, 2009, 10:09:28 AM »
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Quote from: Chris_T
NPS's offer to speak with him in private may just be an attempt to pacify him. If NPS really agrees with his reasoning, they could easily reword the contest rules, or promise to do so in the future.

What we need is more photographers speaking up, like Fairnsquare and many here. If we don't act to protect our rights ourselves, we can't expect others to.

I've also encountered the "speak to use in private" business. In one case regarding a contest run by a well-known photo blog the person who runs the site sent me an incredibly unprofessional (and borderline wacko) personal email for having dared to mention the contest terms in public. Basically I had quoted the terms in a blog post. When this person accused me of posting an error-filled article, I offered to correct any inaccuracies in my post... but the person (who will remain unnamed for now) never pointed any errors. (I noted later that this person and his associates did change the terms of some of their following contests. :-)

I think that the "speak to me in private" request could be regarded as a partial success, but the follow-up steps must necessarily include the potential to speak publicly again. Essentially, the "speak in private" request demonstrates that there is a power in speaking of these things in public and that the sponsors both see the problem and fear that they would not look good in a public discussion.

If one is to have a "private conversation" about this with the sponsors, one needs to be very careful. I would certainly not agree that the outcome of the conversation should remain private, for example. I would certainly not agree to "discuss it in private and agree to keep it private."

The onerous rights-grabbing language used in many of the contests, if seen and understood by the public and the constituents of many of these groups, would damage their credibility. I'm thinking specifically of two run-ins I had. In one case I pointed out such a problem to the Sierra Club - a group that I have been a member of for decades - and I received two responses. One was an incredibly personal and angry attack. (I'm seeing a pattern here, by the way.) The other was a dismissive "we'd never do anything bad with the photos so why worry" response. (A second pattern.)

If the group would "never do anything bad with the photos," then they clearly should change the language of their contest terms so that their good intentions are clear. If they would never use the non-winning images of entrants, or let their affiliates use them, or use them without credit... and so forth... then there is no reason to include agreement terms that permit them to do those exact things and more.

(If you were signing a loan that permitted the party loaning the money to you to, oh, hold weekly parties at your home at your expense and give you no control over the guest list, assigned you all legal liability for anything that happened... and the other party said, "but, of course, we'd never actually do that!"... would you sign the loan papers? If no, why would would you agree to similar terms in a photo contest. If yes, please seek professional help! :-)

Dan
« Last Edit: October 26, 2009, 10:16:04 AM by gdanmitchell » Logged

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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #23 on: October 26, 2009, 11:15:13 AM »
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Quote from: gdanmitchell
... why would would you agree to similar terms in a photo contest...
I agree 99% with everyone who thinks along your lines about rights-grab contests. The 1% is reserved for this angle: how many people actually suffered from the rights grab, done by a reputable institution (say NG or Sierra Club)? I know  it is not the point, such legalese should not be there in the first place... and photographers should continue the pressure to remove it. But again, in real life, there are two questions here: 1. should the language be changed (of course it should) and 2. should we refuse to participate before it is changed. And that is where my original question comes into play: in real life, how many actually suffered from such rights grab? I support and applaud any effort (including yours here) to raise the awareness of bad legalese, including special forums or sites that list contests with it, but I am really curious to see a similar list of people reporting real-life abuse of contest terms.
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« Reply #24 on: October 27, 2009, 02:55:53 AM »
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Quote from: slobodan56
I agree 99% with everyone who thinks along your lines about rights-grab contests. The 1% is reserved for this angle: how many people actually suffered from the rights grab, done by a reputable institution (say NG or Sierra Club)? I know  it is not the point, such legalese should not be there in the first place... and photographers should continue the pressure to remove it. But again, in real life, there are two questions here: 1. should the language be changed (of course it should) and 2. should we refuse to participate before it is changed. And that is where my original question comes into play: in real life, how many actually suffered from such rights grab? I support and applaud any effort (including yours here) to raise the awareness of bad legalese, including special forums or sites that list contests with it, but I am really curious to see a similar list of people reporting real-life abuse of contest terms.

How many people actually suffered for a rights grab? Come on, as you yourself say, that is so missing the point. Would you send your images to someone who offered to pay nothing for them, not credit them and claim the right to do anything with them they choose, including selling them?

Duh, I think not...

If it was only winners who had to agree to some form of usage agreement, well (mostly) fair enough since there has been a reward of some kind. But these competitions are often claiming the right to use and even sell any images that were only submitted. They are playing on the pathetic eagerness of so many people with cameras by offering the merest possibility of getting 'published'.

It makes my blood boil and I have had this out with some organisers here in Australia with very limited success.

There's a current Canon competition which seems to be a good model - I can't think of its title but all image uses were limited to the promotion of the product and competition.

Our own terms in our magazines' competitions limits use of submitted images to education or publicity for the magazine. It means we might use the images to promote next year's competition or use the images in one of our article (with full attribution) if they illustrate some technique. They will never be sold, or offered to anyone else for any purpose - they are not our pics!

I say to people, in no uncertain terms, that they should NEVER enter any competition that claims unlimited usage rights (including on-selling) for submitted images. Internal use and product PR is OK, but on-selling is simply stealing wrapped up with a nice pink bow.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2009, 02:57:35 AM by Nick Rains » Logged

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« Reply #25 on: October 27, 2009, 08:31:50 AM »
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Quote from: Nick Rains
I say to people, in no uncertain terms, that they should NEVER enter any competition that claims unlimited usage rights (including on-selling) for submitted images. Internal use and product PR is OK, but on-selling is simply stealing wrapped up with a nice pink bow.

Um ... then don't enter the contest ... but why advise others not to enter?  I'm fine with the Nature Conservancy using my work to promote conservation - as are lots of people, I would imagine.

Not everyone is a pro ... and if you are, why are you thinking about entering such a competition?
« Last Edit: October 27, 2009, 08:32:07 AM by Jeremy Payne » Logged
Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #26 on: October 27, 2009, 11:35:13 AM »
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Quote from: Nick Rains
... Our own terms in our magazines' competitions limits use of submitted images to education or publicity for the magazine. It means we might use the images to promote next year's competition or use the images in one of our article (with full attribution) if they illustrate some technique. ... Internal use and product PR is OK...
Hmmm... Most magazines (yours included) are commercial enterprises... using an image to "illustrate some technique" appears to be for commercial purposes as well (helps sell the magazine and ad space)... so, why is it o.k. NOT to pay for it? By only attributing it to the author, but not paying him, aren't you also exploiting his vanity, in a similar manner those contests do? Aren't you also:

Quote
... playing on the pathetic eagerness of so many people with cameras by offering the merest possibility of getting 'published'.

Most people submitting to your contest are doing so to win, not to provide you with free material for possible publication. And to add insult to injury, not only you publish their pictures for free, you call them "pathetic" on top of that.
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« Reply #27 on: October 27, 2009, 12:44:15 PM »
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Quote from: Jeremy Payne
Um ... then don't enter the contest ... but why advise others not to enter?  I'm fine with the Nature Conservancy using my work to promote conservation - as are lots of people, I would imagine.

Not everyone is a pro ... and if you are, why are you thinking about entering such a competition?

I'm ranting not entering!

I only enter comps that have fair and decent T+Cs.
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Nick Rains
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« Reply #28 on: October 27, 2009, 12:59:27 PM »
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Quote from: slobodan56
Hmmm... Most magazines (yours included) are commercial enterprises... using an image to "illustrate some technique" appears to be for commercial purposes as well (helps sell the magazine and ad space)... so, why is it o.k. NOT to pay for it? By only attributing it to the author, but not paying him, aren't you also exploiting his vanity, in a similar manner those contests do? Aren't you also:

 
Most people submitting to your contest are doing so to win, not to provide you with free material for possible publication. And to add insult to injury, not only you publish their pictures for free, you call them "pathetic" on top of that.


OK, so my wording was a bit strong. I have a bee in my bonnet about these things and got carried away - apologies...

Just to be clear, our magazines' comp currently has a pretty decent $5000 prize, and we publish the winner's pics (or course). Other entries might get used, with re-affirmed permission, and they get a free magazine if so. So we do indeed pay.

What I was railing against was the blatant exploitation of amateur photographers' strong desire to be seen in print, even if it means fully giving away the picture against the slight chance of being published.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2009, 01:01:08 PM by Nick Rains » Logged

Nick Rains
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« Reply #29 on: October 27, 2009, 01:18:39 PM »
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Quote from: Nick Rains
OK, so my wording was a bit strong. I have a bee in my bonnet about these things and got carried away - apologies...

Just to be clear, our magazines' comp currently has a pretty decent $5000 prize, and we publish the winner's pics (or course). Other entries might get used, with re-affirmed permission, and they get a free magazine if so. So we do indeed pay.

What I was railing against was the blatant exploitation of amateur photographers' strong desire to be seen in print, even if it means fully giving away the picture against the slight chance of being published.

This is a non-profit conservation organization - essentially by entering the contest, you are making an in-kind donation to the Nature Conservancy.  Maybe that could be more clear in the collateral, but I don't see it as egregious a rights grab as I would if it were a commercial entity.

Is your magazine a commercial, for-profit enterprise?
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Rob C
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« Reply #30 on: October 27, 2009, 01:29:42 PM »
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Quote from: Nick Rains
OK, so my wording was a bit strong. I have a bee in my bonnet about these things and got carried away - apologies...

Just to be clear, our magazines' comp currently has a pretty decent $5000 prize, and we publish the winner's pics (or course). Other entries might get used, with re-affirmed permission, and they get a free magazine if so. So we do indeed pay.

What I was railing against was the blatant exploitation of amateur photographers' strong desire to be seen in print, even if it means fully giving away the picture against the slight chance of being published.






Nick, the problem is ancient and won't go away; it's part of what is killing professional photography in many areas, particularly stock. It is all about vanity and dreams, and as long as people have them there is no hope of change.

In my humble, the large stock agencies tried to fight this in their way, saw it was a losing battle so changed tactics and tried to buy out the cheapo/free competition as best they could.

Recent annoucements concerning one of the Big Two prompts me to think that this isn't working either.

I imagine that the only people who will survive to fight another day are the few doing highly sophisticated work in commerce and/or those running their own print sales operations and well enough hung to require little extra income in the first place. As for the rest, them bells is tollin'...

Rob C
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« Reply #31 on: October 27, 2009, 01:46:53 PM »
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Quote from: Rob C
it's part of what is killing professional photography

I can understand Nick's principled position - and would agree with him 100% if the Nature Conservancy weren't a legitimate conservation non-profit ... but ...

Your professional skills must be seriously limited and your comparative advantage quite slim if they are threatened by non-professionals entering contests sponsored by a well-established conservation organization.

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Wally
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« Reply #32 on: October 27, 2009, 02:58:18 PM »
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Quote from: Jeremy Payne
Um ... then don't enter the contest ... but why advise others not to enter?  I'm fine with the Nature Conservancy using my work to promote conservation - as are lots of people, I would imagine.

Not everyone is a pro ... and if you are, why are you thinking about entering such a competition?

Exactly. I think what many people fail to realize is that for many people photography is hobby nothing more nothing less. With regards to Nature and Landscape photography many of us (myself included) also view our outdoor time in the field as a hobby.

When such contests are offered by non-profit groups you can either enter to support the group, or not enter. The choice is up to you. As a general rule I never enter any photography contests because I am lazy and don't want to spend the time and/or money to do so. However I would glady donate any image of mine for a group such as the Nature Conservancy to use however they see fit. If they took an image of mine and made millions of dollars off of it GREAT! Since I have no means to give away that kind of money if a simple photograph that cost me nothing to make, can make them money good for them.

I have seen it claimed manyh times that gear is not free and as such we should never give any image away regardless of the situation. That is really not a valid argument for hobbyist photographers because we buy all our gear to support our hobby and as such we would have spent the money if they use the shot or not.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2009, 02:59:19 PM by Wally » Logged
Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #33 on: October 28, 2009, 01:36:33 AM »
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Quote from: Rob C
... the problem is ancient and won't go away; it's part of what is killing professional photography in many areas, particularly stock. It is all about vanity and dreams, and as long as people have them there is no hope of change...
Hehe... blaming it on vanity and dreams is like blaming world's problems on water and fire. Vanity and dreams have been with us since the down of the mankind, i.e., long before photography was invented, therefore can hardly be held responsible for the demise of the profession.

Coincidentally, aren't vanity and dreams the very foundation of fashion industry, and thus professional fashion photography?  

P.S. Did not mean to sidetrack this thread about competitions and right grabs.. just could not resist the comment
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« Reply #34 on: October 28, 2009, 03:36:07 AM »
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There is something fascinating in the manner in which anything written on this site can be seized, totally misunderstood - possibly willfully - and turned into meaning something entirely different.

"Your professional skills must be seriously limited and your comparative advantage quite slim if they are threatened by non-professionals entering contests sponsored by a well-established conservation organization."

The remark that I made was addressed to the profession of photography in general and not exclusively at competitions which are somewhat periferal to any pro's interest.

The threat from the non-pro comes from his supplying of the requirements of the buyer's bottom line. It has nothing to do with the pro's skills or lack of them; it has everything to do with the professional people who make buying decisions based on twenty cents a shot and the fact that accountants have authority over art directors/buyers

"Coincidentally, aren't vanity and dreams the very foundation of fashion industry, and thus professional fashion photography? "

Indeed they might be, but the fashion industry isn't built on twenty cents a shot; particularly do the "dreams" of fashion photographers not live within the domain of the cheap.

But as I suggested when I came in, there is nothing that can't be altered, twisted or manipulated to mock or ridicule the professional attitude; it all becomes so predictable, probably based on envy and the hatred of anyone who might, just might, have managed to live well by doing something others can only wish that they could.

But it's nine twenty-three in the morning, I have the breakfast dishes to clean up, a shower to take, the bank to go to and then lunch to worry about after that...

Rob C

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« Reply #35 on: October 28, 2009, 08:06:22 AM »
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Quote from: Rob C
There is something fascinating in the manner in which anything written on this site can be seized, totally misunderstood - possibly willfully - and turned into meaning something entirely different.

Sorry - it wasn't clear to me that we (i.e. you) had stopped discussing the topic at hand and had started rambling on about unrelated things ...
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« Reply #36 on: October 28, 2009, 12:04:32 PM »
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Rob,

You raised some interesting points in your last post (#35), and I'd love to debate them, but I already feel guilty for sidetracking this thread, so perhaps we'll meet again in some other thread?

As for your lunch, have a nice one!  
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« Reply #37 on: October 29, 2009, 07:43:34 AM »
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Quote from: ceyman
Chris,

If that is you who logged in to the Boston.com blog as Fairnsquare I'd be interested in what comes out of your conversation with the NPS.  It sounds like this may be a chance to bring about some change.
Lowell NPS' response and revised rules at:

http://www.boston.com/community/photos/raw...hy_contest.html

After speaking with a number of photographers regarding copyright and license issues, we've amended our contest rules to be more progressive and flexible to the individual entrant. Thank you for all the feedback.

IMAGE COPYRIGHT, USAGE LICENSE, AND RELEASES
By entering the Contest, all entrants grant a non-exclusive, royalty-free license to Lowell National Historical Park and its Authorized Parties, to reproduce, distribute, display and create whole or in part derivative works of the entries. However, all entrants retain ownership and copyright of their entries and are not restricted in the future use of their images.

If an entrant's image is not a finalist/winner and the entrant does not want their entries used/archived/published by Lowell National Historical Park, they may elect to "Opt-Out" of this license condition on the official contest form.


They followed one of Fairnsquare's suggestions to allow opting out. But they kept the meaningless statement "all entrants retain ownership and copyright of their entries and are not restricted in the future use of their images". And did not include giving credits.

A small imperfect but important step. Speaking up MAY bring about changes. Keeping silent definitely won't.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2009, 07:49:47 AM by Chris_T » Logged
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« Reply #38 on: October 30, 2009, 03:09:05 AM »
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Quote from: Chris_T
IMAGE COPYRIGHT, USAGE LICENSE, AND RELEASES
By entering the Contest, all entrants grant a non-exclusive, royalty-free license to Lowell National Historical Park and its Authorized Parties, to reproduce, distribute, display and create whole or in part derivative works of the entries. However, all entrants retain ownership and copyright of their entries and are not restricted in the future use of their images.


I wonder what 'distribute' means in the above T+C.

It's just not about the comp organisers using the pics for their own benefit, it's also about rights control. Photographers have been sued when an image has been used by two clients who both thought it was an exclusive use. If you have images floating around with unrestricted rights then you lay yourself open to this awkward situation cropping up. Also, no mainstream image library will take images unless they know them to be exclusive to them. Any images submitted to comps cannot therefore be put into image libraries since they could show up anywhere. This does limit the photographers rights regardless them 'keeping copyright'.

Amateur or pro, giving away your hard earned images for nothing is not a good idea.
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Nick Rains
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« Reply #39 on: October 30, 2009, 04:31:16 AM »
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Quote from: Jeremy Payne
Sorry - it wasn't clear to me that we (i.e. you) had stopped discussing the topic at hand and had started rambling on about unrelated things ...





That's called the freer spirit, Jeremy, the little breath of life that differentiates the wooden from the flexible.  I would hate the rôle of martinet and am perfectly happy leaving it to others...

As for unrelated things - really?

Rob C
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