Check the Terms & Conditions. A cautionary tale for all photographers.
Photography competitions can be a good way to get motivated to create images and share your photography and dare I say, get exposure*. But there seems to be more and more photo competitions that pop up that are nothing but rights grabs. Over the last 24 hours I’ve seen 2 competitions on my social media feeds trying to get free photography. What’s most disappointing is that the businesses and organisations that are running these comps can more than afford to pay for photography. These competitions are run as ‘rights-grabs’.
So why are rights-grabs bad? Well, apart from taking away work from photographers, when you enter a competition you can lose all of your rights to YOUR photo. Yep, just by hitting submit you can lose your copyright or assign rights to the organiser for them to use and even on-sell your photography. It’s not really fair is it? And the arts industry, especially photography seems to be always the one that is hit. You don’t see comps that ask engineers, or architects or other professionals to submit their concepts for free and give away their rights.
While I understand that sometimes those running comps have good intentions and have just copied and pasted their T&C’s from another comp they’ve seen online, it still isn’t cool. Ignorance is not bliss. The great news is that if you want to run a fair and equitable photography competition that doesn’t exploit photographers, you can get great info from Arts Law Australia and you can even get in touch with them to review your competition.
Sadly, I feel that the only way to get this under control is to encourage people to read the T&Cs properly before they enter and if the T&Cs suck, just don’t enter. There are loads of reputable photography competitions that don’t exploit photographers. And if you don’t understand the T&Cs, check out Arts Law, ask someone or even ask me!
*a fraught and difficult term used mainly used to further exploit photographers but there are some good organisations legitimately helping raise the profile of photographers.
Check out Arts Law info on Prizes and Competitions https://www.artslaw.com.au/prizes-and-competitions/