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Author Topic: Nature Conservancy Photo Contest - A Warning  (Read 22582 times)
Jeremy Payne
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« Reply #40 on: October 30, 2009, 06:46:16 AM »
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Quote from: Nick Rains
Amateur or pro, giving away your hard earned images for nothing is not a good idea.

You are seriously missing the point ... it isn't for nothing, it is for the cause of conservation.

Quote from: Rob C
As for unrelated things - really?

I'm sure you have a sink to clean or something, no?
« Last Edit: October 30, 2009, 06:46:42 AM by Jeremy Payne » Logged
Gary Brown
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« Reply #41 on: October 30, 2009, 07:58:58 AM »
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Quote from: Nick Rains
Amateur or pro, giving away your hard earned images for nothing is not a good idea.
Isn't that an argument against all charitable contributions? It seems, in effect, just like saying, "Giving away your hard earned money for nothing is not a good idea."
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Jeremy Payne
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« Reply #42 on: October 30, 2009, 08:05:43 AM »
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Quote from: Gary Brown
Isn't that an argument against all charitable contributions? It seems, in effect, just like saying, "Giving away your hard earned money for nothing is not a good idea."
Exactly.

... but ... by doing so, we are "stealing" professional opportunities.  If we were to refuse them, they might be forced to buy stock images to promote the cause.  We're killing the profession of photography by undercutting the prices - at least in this market.  

What a load of hooey.
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TimG
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« Reply #43 on: October 30, 2009, 08:50:07 AM »
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What's killing photography isn't amateur photo contests. It also isn't digital.  It's something the trades have offered for years which the professional photographic community sorely lacks - organization.

You don't see carpenters, plumbers, or electricians lamenting the loss of jobs to untrained professionals, and why is that?  They've banded together, forming unions which, unlike the "professional organizations" photographers typically join - ASMP, PPA, NANPA, etc., (all which use a "pay to play" membership model, making their organizations have about as much professional "merit" as NAPP), actually mean something.  These trade unions offer extensive, multiple-year training and apprenticeships the likes of which are non-existent today in photography.  Sure, you can "assist" a "working pro" for a number of years, even become a "pro assistant", but what does that mean, really?  Is that standardized?  Nope.  With the unions, it is.  7 years from apprentice (assistant) to journeyman (pro), and with clearly defined increases in pay/benefits.

But go ahead, keep paying into the coffers of the likes of Scott Kelby at the low low rate of $100/yr to show you how to swap heads on bikini models.  I'm sure there's a huge market for that somewhere.
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Nick Rains
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« Reply #44 on: October 30, 2009, 02:43:38 PM »
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Quote from: Jeremy Payne
You are seriously missing the point ... it isn't for nothing, it is for the cause of conservation.

I'm clear on the point.

If you are keen to support a worthy cause just let them use the pics free of charge, that's what I do. That's not the same as giving them away since I retain the rights.

The charity aspect is irrelevant to this discussion about rights grab competitions.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2009, 02:50:58 PM by Nick Rains » Logged

Nick Rains
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« Reply #45 on: October 30, 2009, 04:03:53 PM »
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Quote from: Jeremy Payne
I'm sure you have a sink to clean or something, no?



Wot! You still stuck in there?

Rob C
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Jeremy Payne
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« Reply #46 on: October 30, 2009, 05:14:45 PM »
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Quote from: Nick Rains
I'm clear on the point.

If you are keen to support a worthy cause just let them use the pics free of charge, that's what I do. That's not the same as giving them away since I retain the rights.

The charity aspect is irrelevant to this discussion about rights grab competitions.
Actually, it isn't irrelevant at all.  This is about the Nature Conservancy's rules and the contest rules do exactly what you suggest ... the rules don't strip you of your rights, they just grant the NC a perpetual license.
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TimG
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« Reply #47 on: October 30, 2009, 05:29:43 PM »
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Quote from: Jeremy Payne
Actually, it isn't irrelevant at all.  This is about the Nature Conservancy's rules and the contest rules do exactly what you suggest ... the rules don't strip you of your rights, they just grant the NC a perpetual license.

And therein lies the rub; why would you want to grant a perpetual license?

It would make more sense, IMHO, to grant a one-time, non-exclusive license, and with that, to place a value on the license for tax purposes.
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Jeremy Payne
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« Reply #48 on: October 30, 2009, 06:21:59 PM »
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Quote from: TimG
And therein lies the rub; why would you want to grant a perpetual license?

I entered with full knowledge of the rules.  As I said already, I'm perfectly happy for them to have the license in perpetuity.  It is a quality organization and if my images can help promote conservation today or tomorrow or the next day, then that's fantastic.

I'm sure many, many others feel exactly as I do.
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #49 on: October 30, 2009, 07:11:56 PM »
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Quote from: TimG
... why would you want to grant a perpetual license?...
Hmmm... because people feel like it?... because they can?... because it is the land of the free (market)?... as much some are free to charge for their photos, others are equally free to give it away... because of the law of (over)supply and demand?... because photos are "a dime a dozen" today?... so easily and quickly created (at the rate of 10 per second), so easily distributed (five thousand pictures per minute every minute uploaded to Flickr only)... because marginal cost of an image rapidly approaches zero?... because never before in history so many people are able to create so many (great) photographs and distribute them to so many viewers and users with so little (marginal) cost?... because never before in history so many amateurs are able to do so?... amateurs, which by definition have the first two steps in  the Maslow's hierarchy of needs already fulfilled, and are now moving toward the pyramid's top (i.e., esteem and self-actualization...or what our friend Rob C calls "vanity and dreams"    )
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« Reply #50 on: November 01, 2009, 12:52:16 PM »
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Tim G,
The reason why the trades (and my trade: physician) can exert this control is that the product of the labor has a potential bad effect on the safety of the users of that product so that the ever intrusive government has decided that protecting the public deserves regulating the trade (profession).  Bad plumbing or  wiring can kill.  Brain surgery  could be dangerous without training. The government steps in and creates a monopoly by education testing or training hurdles or all.  We all practice  medicine (take a Tylenol ever?), do amateur plumbing or wiring without a license.  But selling this expertise requires a license.  I doubt that you will convince a legislature that selling images is a dangerous profession and deserving of monopoly protection.  Hairdressing, braiding, barbering beg this question of course.  By the way need a bypass or meningioma removed- cheap? http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/style_...ault/tongue.gif

In general,
I am glad to donate a photo for limited use but even as an amateur an open ended perpetual license seems much. I already donate 4 figure amounts yearly from my profession to the cause- way more than I have ever or will ever make from photography (I guess I should not admit that here) but this bothers me.  I am not new age amateur enough to state that the photo itself  that the pat on the back is the reward.  I'm surprised they do not insist on the rights  to your raw image as well as a condition of winning. I have also considered giving somewhat crippled images (limited by size or jpeg compression)  but the Nat conservancy  lower limits make this difficult. See my  earlier post on the sister thread..  I have been told by several patients that they use my Web photos for monitor wallpaper and have printed the 7-8/12 PS quality  700pixel jpegs for their walls.  Whaddya say?  It's Mississippi.  http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/style_...fault/laugh.gif (Glad it takes 10 years to get my knowledge and license.)

Nature Lover

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Rob C
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« Reply #51 on: November 01, 2009, 02:38:57 PM »
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Interesting idea that: it has to be potentially dangerous in order to get the right to form a professional enough body to exert control.

I have an alternative idea that could be applicable to photography. If it can't be considered worthy enough of professional status to guarantee some form of unionised power, then surely the equitable corollary should be that it then becomes a tax-exempt occupation? No registration = no income tax collection! That would at least put it into the same bag as the shamateur, moonlighting mother hell-bent on ripping the food from the mouth of the photographer's child? Should be perefectly fair, then; with more time to spend on photography, being otherwise unemployed, the so-called but still scorned professional snapper would have the opportunity of catching up with his would-be child killer!

Of course, this would principally benefit the stock shooter since the specialists in the more esoteric genres are pretty well covered by their obvious expertise... but still, it would be nice were they helped along with realistic legislation intended to keep them working.

I understand that countries such as Germany require some form of professional qualification prior to the hanging up of the shingle - protection of the public's money, at least! - but certainly in the UK all you needed was the money to open shop. You could then cream as many visually unsophisticated people as you could find before word went around and you folded, or somebody bigger than you came around and did it for you, the folding of you, that is.

The more I think about it, the better an idea tax exemption for professional photographers seems. There must be a few votes in it.

;-)

Rob C
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N Walker
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« Reply #52 on: November 01, 2009, 04:02:02 PM »
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Quote from: slobodan56
Hmmm... because people feel like it?... because they can?... because it is the land of the free (market)?... as much some are free to charge for their photos, others are equally free to give it away... because of the law of (over)supply and demand?... because photos are "a dime a dozen" today?... so easily and quickly created (at the rate of 10 per second), so easily distributed (five thousand pictures per minute every minute uploaded to Flickr only)... because marginal cost of an image rapidly approaches zero?... because never before in history so many people are able to create so many (great) photographs and distribute them to so many viewers and users with so little (marginal) cost?... because never before in history so many amateurs are able to do so?... amateurs, which by definition have the first two steps in  the Maslow's hierarchy of needs already fulfilled, and are now moving toward the pyramid's top (i.e., esteem and self-actualization...or what our friend Rob C calls "vanity and dreams"    )


I perform my own DIY (within limits) to a very high standard 'just because I can' in my own free time and I can take my time - I would fail miserably as a professional painter and decorator if I only had so many hours in the day to complete the task as I would never be satisfied with an okay job. I am not prepared to perform a free or cheap service of any description to a commercial company just because I can.

Cheap commercial rights grabs will continue as these companies are fully aware there is a plentiful supply of hobbyists excited enough to see their name in print. They know that some entrants will probably overlook the rights grab, some not understand their full implications, and some won't care.

Relying on paying a dime, instead of purchasing an exclusive licence or funding your own photo shoot is not always a wise decision - http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB116...ml?mod=rss_free

On the other hand some people 'appear' to be making good money (accepting high running costs from his set-up) from istock images http://www.arcurs.com/  licences quoted at over 1.1 million images per year - good luck to him as he has seen the power of istock sales.

The internet without question has devalued photography if you can sell an image for the price of a regular cappuccino and a bun at Starbucks to a multi million pound company whom may gain great value (product awareness) from a particular image. I am fortunately not directly affected by istock sales as professional sport requires photographic accreditation.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2009, 04:37:31 PM by Nick Walker » Logged

John Camp
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« Reply #53 on: November 01, 2009, 05:19:25 PM »
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You're donating a photo. So what? They don't take exclusive rights, so you can use it and sell it as you wish. For 99.99% of the people who post here, having the Nature Conservancy use your photo would be a benefit, even if they had it knitted into throw rugs. What's better? 1) I am an amateur photographer, and let me tell you, I'm pretty good. 2) I'm an amateur photographer, and, in fact, won last year's Nature Conservancy contest.

I even think I know why they want unrestricted use - it's because they're going to get thousands of photos, distributed across many computer systems, which are hard to track. Hell, even amateur photographers have trouble managing their own individual data bases. If TNC should sometime in the future inadvertently use one of the photos, at least they can't be sued by somebody claiming it's worth millions...In other words, they're protecting themselves, and given the litigious society we live in, who can blame them?

Besides, anyone here can get 100% protection: don't enter.



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« Reply #54 on: November 01, 2009, 07:44:55 PM »
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A little off topic.  The original reason for  licensing and Boards and such was  to protect the Public  but here is licensing run amok:  
Wrestling and
Wrestling redux and finally its over.
and licensing  interior decorating.
Maybe we can license  photographers.  Good money grab for the govt.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2009, 07:50:51 PM by bopbop » Logged
gdanmitchell
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« Reply #55 on: November 08, 2009, 12:17:40 PM »
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Another set of contest terms, followed by some commentary:

[blockquote]By submitting an entry, entrant grants Sponsor and its designees an irrevocable, royalty-free, non-exclusive, worldwide perpetual license to use the entry and his/her name, city and state of residence for credit purposes in Sponsor’s online galleries, without further compensation, notification or permission, unless prohibited by law. In addition, each winner grants to the Sponsor and its designees an irrevocable, royalty-free, non-exclusive, worldwide perpetual license to use and distribute the entry [(as submitted, or as cropped by Sponsor)], and his/her name, city and state of residence for credit purposes, in any and all media now or hereafter known, including without limitation in Outdoor Photographer magazine, for purposes of promotion of this Contest and other Sponsor contests and/or for purposes of advertising and promoting Sponsor and, except as otherwise stated herein, without further compensation, notification or permission, unless prohibited by law.[/blockquote]

OK, better in some ways, but still a problem or two.
The positives:
  • The license grants the sponsor (and a few others) rights to use the photographs in ways connected to the contest itself.
  • It does not appear that the terms grant the sponsor, et all a right to use photographs for unlimited purposes.
The "not sure how good/bad this is" stuff:
  • While it doesn't appear that photographs can be used for an unlimited range of purposes, there is a rather large range of permitted uses - especially in light of the "negative" I'll mention below. These include promoting this contest (fine), other contests (hmmm, but perhaps), and advertising and promoting the sponsor (seems a bit broad to me).

The negative - or maybe not?:
  • One again, certain terms do not just apply to contest winners - they apply to ALL ENTRANTS. "By submitting an entry, entrant grants Sponsor and its designees..." However, I will note in defense of the sponsors that only the first clause of the agreement applies to ENTRANTS - " irrevocable, royalty-free, non-exclusive, worldwide perpetual license to use the entry and his/her name, city and state of residence for credit purposes in Sponsor’s online galleries, without further compensation, notification or permission, unless prohibited by law." And then, " In addition, each winner grants..."
Verdict? These terms are much improved in comparison to some of the very onerous terms that grab an unlimited license from all entrants for any use by the sponsor and affiliates for all eternity. Here, the ENTRANTS grant the sponsor a license for a type of use that I would regard as reasonable and necessary. Other terms apply only to winners, who grant the sponsors and affiliates considerable additional rights - though one could certainly make a case that the winners have been compensated by winning the contest.

The only concerning language that I see in my quick once over comes at the end: "and/or for purposes of advertising and promoting Sponsor..." This would clearly permit the sponsor to, say, run a public advertising campaign based on a photograph from any of the contest winners, and the actual value of a photograph used in such a way could easily exceed the value of contest prizes. I'd be more comfortable here with language that limited the use to promoting future editions of THIS CONTEST, and which eliminated the broad scope of that last section.

What do you think?

Dan
« Last Edit: November 08, 2009, 12:18:38 PM by gdanmitchell » Logged

G Dan Mitchell
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« Reply #56 on: December 17, 2009, 10:14:37 PM »
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Quote from: gdanmitchell
I just saw Micheal's quick note pointing out the Nature Conservancy Photo Contest. Being a Conservancy member myself I was interested, and since it had Michael's recommendation I thought that perhaps this contest might be free of the onerous IP rights grab terms that apply in many similar contests. So, optimistic, I visited the contest page and went straight to their terms and conditions. (Sorry, but their links don't embed well.)

I was very disappointed to find the following:

By entering the contest, you hereby grant to The Nature Conservancy (i) a nonexclusive, worldwide, irrevocable, royalty-free license to reproduce, distribute, publicly display and publicly perform the photographs you submit to The Nature Conservancy, and (ii) the right to use your name, city, state and country of residence in promotions and other publications.

Reasonable contest terms would require the WINNER of the contest to agree to certain LIMITED uses of his/her photograph in ways CLEARLY RELATED TO THE CONTEST. The problems with these terms are multiple:

1. The terms essentially grant the Nature Conservancy (a very fine and worthy organization, to be sure) a free, unlimited license to use contest photographs in ways that are not defined.

2. There is no guarantee of credit for the free use of contest photographs. If they want to use it on a book cover, they can. Calendar? Check. Advertisement? Check.

3. The worst part - the terms apply to ALL ENTRANTS, not just the winners. "By entering the contest, you hereby grant..." the license described here. Again, while I am a supporter of the Conservancy, I am not a supporter of terms that grant them a full, unlimited, cost-free license to each of the potentially thousands of photographs submitted in this contest.

4. Note that the "name, city, state and country of residence in promotions and other publications" also extends to all entrants - not just the winner.

As photographers, we really need to start calling these organizations on this stuff. It is impossible to tell the innocent cases (an overactive young contract lawyer, perhaps?) from those with more malicious intent. Folks I've spoken with at other organizations conducting similar contest have reported that their corporate attorneys are fully aware of the rights that they acquire with this and similar language. In several cases when I have contacted contest sponsors (a recent contest promoted by a well-known photo blogger - who responded with a very offensive email - and a couple by the Sierra Club - of which I've been a member for decades) the response was angry, accusative and offensive - but always coupled with a claim that "we would never do anything unethical with the photographs."

I learned that signing a contract (and that's more or less what you do when you enter a contest and agree to its terms) that says one thing when the other party to the contract says something else is a bad idea. If there is no intent to use "entrants" photographs in virtually unlimited ways, then the terms and conditions language should be changed to reflect the real intent.

I think that photo contests can be a good thing. I am positive that it is possible to construct mutually agreeable terms and conditions that properly protect both contest entrants/winners and the sponsor and their affiliates, and when this happens there can be tremendous benefits for all parties.

Please pass this on. More photographers need to hear about and understand the onerous terms of these contests.

Thanks.

Dan
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Joe Dragon Fine Art Photography
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« Reply #57 on: December 17, 2009, 10:20:19 PM »
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Dan,  Thanks for the info. re the Conservancy contest. You are spot on re comment that if an organization says they would not do anything untoward, then what is problem in having specific language and not just someone's word. Unfortunately, the hand shake doesn't work any more except in those we know and have proven trust. Joe Dragon
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SteveAlley
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« Reply #58 on: December 18, 2009, 10:49:53 AM »
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Re value and pro vs. amateur:

I am not a professional miner.  When I was a kid, I found a large gold nugget in my gravel driveway.  Since I am not a professional, does the gold then have no value?  

No question, it's mine and I can do as I wish with it; however, if I'm gonna donate it to your cause, whatever it may be, I will FOR SURE expect it to be called a donation, not a contest entry--and be valued accordingly.  Why should it be any different for a photograph which has real value in the marketplace--a value which is diminished to many buyers if it does not have the ability to be licensed for their exclusive use.  Non-exclusive licenses can, in fact, diminish the value of an image, regardless of the "professionality" of its maker.  

I have no issue with the donation of images to good causes; I do it frequently.  However, let's call it what it is, and be credited appropriately both in the usage and by the tax man!  Arguing that donating an image through a "contest" entry does not impact the value of the image is silly; if true, it means that your image is crap and has no value--in which case your donation is meaningless.  In order for your "donation" to have value to the organization, it MUST have value in the marketplace--ie, be a marketable image in which other users would have interest.  Donating rights to such an image does in fact impact the value of the image to you, and therefore you should be credited (including tax-credited) accordingly.  

Back to that nugget--a true story, by the way--just because I never intend to sell it does not mean that it has no value.  Why is this not also true of images?  

Steve
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Paul Sumi
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« Reply #59 on: December 18, 2009, 11:57:07 AM »
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A general thought about entering these sorts of contest (not limited to Nature Conservancy)  - I wonder what would happen if one were to visibly watermark one's entry (in a way not easily removed)?  

If the image was a winner, you would send another copy sans watermark. If not a winner, the image would not be usable.

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