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Posts Tagged ‘rights-grabs’

I had mentioned in an earlier post (June 16, 2008 ) the growing trend of photo contests stealing the rights to your work.  The latest culprit in this despicable practice is none other than the venerable Smithsonian Institution and its annual photo contest. Take a look at this paragraph buried in their contest rules:

By entering the contest, entrants grant Smithsonian Institution a royalty-free, world-wide, perpetual, non-exclusive license to display, distribute, reproduce, and create derivative works of the entries, in whole or in part, in any media now existing or subsequently developed, for any Smithsonian Institution purpose, including, but not limited to advertising and promotion of the magazine and its Web site, exhibition, and commercial products, including but not limited to Smithsonian Institution publications. Photographs may appear on the Smithsonian Journeys Web site as well as in Journeys publications. Any photograph reproduced will include a photographer credit.  The Smithsonian Institution will not be required to pay any additional consideration or seek any additional approval in connection with such uses.

Ouch! Keep in mind that every ENTRY is subject to this, not just the winners! Steer clear of this contest! If you’re craving recognition for your work, do yourself a favor and start a Flickr account. Lots more people will see your work and you’ll get plenty compliments and feedback — without losing the rights to your images. 

You’d think they’d know better…

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Photo contests have been out there as long as there have been cameras. We photographers are a strange breed in that we crave recognition for our work. Contests are just one way we get that validation. While it’s true that photo contests are a great way to compare your work with other photographers, it has also, sadly, become a source of income and rights-grabbing for the contest promoters. Protect your work and read the contest rules CLOSELY. Too many contests require you to hand over the rights to your work regardless of whether you win or not…in addition to paying an entry fee! Don’t get me wrong, there are still plenty of reputable contests out there for pro and amateur shooters alike. Protect yourself and read the contest rules and disclaimers thoroughly before plunking down your money and losing the rights to your own photos. If you want validation and critiques of your work, you can always post your work on Flickr or any of the other photo sharing sites on the Internet — where opinions are free.

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