These criteria, which Pro Imaging has named the Bill of Rights, include that entrants should retain copyright on their entries, that competition organisers are only allowed use of images in connection with the competition, that photographers should be credited, and that the rules should be clear to understand.
In a statement, the group said: “Pro Imaging believes The Bill of Rights represents best practice to the photographic competition industry and our intent is that it should be adopted as a standard code of practice.”
Extracts from Pro Imaging’s “Bill of Rights”
1. [Competition] entrants will retain copyright and moral rights in their images…..Images used and published will always be credited to the photographer
2. The sponsor/organiser will only acquire limited usage rights for submitted images to any one competition….restricted solely to promoting the specfic competition.
3. The rules of the competition must be explicit and say either – that images submitted to the competition will not be used in commercial products nor licensed commercially, OR
that images will be used in commercial products or licensed commercially and that each such usage will be subject to a specific rights managed license with the photographer concerned.
4. There must be a clear statement of the manner in which the submitted entries will be used by the organiser and sponsors.
5. The competition must have a specified date on which prizes will be awarded, and that date must not be more than 16 months beyond the date upon which the competition details are first made public.
The move comes among increasing concern that amateur photographers are being unwittingly exploited by unscrupulous competitions which set up photography competitions as a way of putting together a cheap image library which can be used commercially.
Pro Imaging say that when they first become aware of competitions which fail to meet their criteria, they will first contact organisers and sponsors, giving them around seven days to respond before listing the competition on the “Rights Off” list.
Current blacklisted competitions include those organised or sponsored by photographic industry firms Nikon, National Geographic, PDN Online, iStockphoto, plus the British Council
Also listed is the “Million Places On Earth”: competition, which initially aimed to pay out two top prizes of $1m once a target of one million entries had been reached. Last year an EPUK report estimated that it would take around 20,000 years for that target to be met. The competition has currently received just over 500 entries.
In the past, the threat of adverse publicity has often proved effective at persuading organisers to change unfair competition terms, with both Nikon and Canon having forced changes in rights-grabbing competitions they had been sponsoring.
Pro Imaging says that the campaign, which is supported by other photographers organisations including EPUK, is a long-term attempt to persuade competition promoters and sponsors to adopt practices which respect all the rights of all image creators.
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