Hiding Behind Terms And Conditions - Lynne Garner
Last month I had a little rant about the Green Party and how they wanted to ‘share’ my copyright with others. Today I’m on my soapbox again, still about copyright but this time with regards to the copyright of my photographs (which I use to bolster my writing income).
A friend recently sent me a link to a photography competition being run by a charity I support. I followed the link and clicked on the terms and conditions. It was no surprise that yet another competition wanted full rights of any photograph I submitted, even if I didn’t win. This is not the first time (and I doubt the last) that I’ll read this clause in a competition. The clause was:
"By submitting your entry, you agree to grant the XXXXXX a perpetual, royalty-free, non-exclusive, sub-licensable right and world-wide license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, display and exercise all copyright and publicity rights with respect to your entry, and/or to incorporate your entry in other works, in any media now known or later developed for the full term of any rights that may exist in your entry...."
As per normal I sent an email and asked them to explain why they wanted my copyright for no return. All credit to the charity in question they responded, the first ever to do so. The reply was:
“As a charity we receive lots of great photos which help to promote our cause and the vast majority of people are happy to see their photos appear elsewhere. Wherever possible we will credit these photos.
We do include this in the terms and conditions as we feel it is in the spirit of the competition for people to see the entries coming in……it would be a shame not to share them in the future!”
As with any competition, we do set out the terms and conditions clearly so that if people are not happy with them they can make the choice not to enter.”
Ok so my thoughts on the reply:
I couldn’t find any mention of crediting the photographer if they decided to use their photograph.
The clause is not just about sharing it’s about making money from something they haven't paid for. I’m happy to support charities that do such important work, in fact I run my own not-for-profit group that rescues sick,injured and orphaned hedgehogs, However I'm reluctant to support them if they can't be open about the real reason for running the competition.
I know it’s their ‘bad’ but how many people read terms and conditions? Of those people who do read them who understands the implications of such a clause? Before I started to make a living from writing and photography I didn't.
So my reply:
If you want to make money from photographs or anything creative entered into a competition then that’s great. But please don’t hide behind the terms and conditions. Be up front. Perhaps when advertising the competition use something along the lines of ‘support the great work we do by donating your photographs/short stories/poems and in return one lucky supporter will win….
Rant number two over – and yes again I feel much better.