Be Careful With Contests

While doing the annual purging of the tryptophan ritual ysterday I came across Photojojo, which listed 12 contests on their website.  As usual, appropriate disclaimers were given as you may or may not surrender your copyrights to images even for entering the various contests.  I took a look through them, and one of them struck me by surprise:  National Geographic.  Here is the copyright condition for participating:

“By entering the Contest, all entrants grant to Authorized Parties (National Geographic Society and its licensees) a royalty-free, worldwide, irrevocable perpetual, nonexclusive license to reproduce, distribute, display, and create derivative works of the entries (along with a name credit) in whole or in part, without further review or participation from the entrant, in any medium now existing or subsequently developed, in editorial, commercial, promotional and trade uses in connection with NGS Products”

Surprise surprise…these types of restrictions and conditions for entering what otherwise appears to be free contests are commonly referred to by those who take care to reading the rules as “Rights Grabs”.  Basically, a magazine or other entity is looking to get a large collection of images for free, and by promoting the possible payout of prizes, many unwittingly enter, win nothing, and yet by entering surrendur their images for use by the magazine or other entity.  Moral of the story:  Be Careful With Contests

While the concept is not new to me, the fact that what would normally be considered an admirable publication like National Geographic would approach things in such a manner is rather unsettling.  To Photojojo’s credit, there were several that seemed to be worth considering, so for those of you with nothing to do after the turkey and football, feel free to head over to Photojojo and peruse the offerings.  From my perspective here’s the scuttlebutt on the rest of the contests they are showcasing over at Photojojo:

  • PDN Student Contest – Entry Fees, and must be an enrolled student
  • Center for Fine Art – Entry fees, no info on copyright prior to submission
  • M.I.L.K – No entry fee, all copyrights retained by Photographer!  Good one!
  • Sony World Photography Awards – No entry fee, photographer retains all copyrights – another good one!
  • Communication Arts Awards – Entry fees, no prizes (only recognition)…did not search for copyright info
  • JPG Magazine – No entry fees, cash prizes, photographer retains copyright – Another good one!
  • Million Places – Several contests, some are free, others require purchasing “credits”.  Seems photographer retains copyrights, and singular publication in a book is done per Rules and Guidelines.
  • Photoburst – Free, photographer appears to retain copyright – another good one ($100 B&H gift card)

Terms and conditions, rules and restrictions may change and/or vary, so always double-check before entering.  Happy shooting, have a great rest of the weekend and we’ll see you back here on Monday!  Leaving on a high note, enjoy the weekly editions of What the Duck, by clicking the link below which goes to my favorite:

Please follow and like:

6 comments for “Be Careful With Contests

  1. Josh Kline
    November 30, 2008 at 2:40 am

    Wow, that really makes me think. I certainly never would read all the fine print. I guess that is what we have you for! (other than for the good natured friendship and “nice” pictures 🙂

  2. mag
    December 1, 2008 at 5:42 am

    this is a great post!!!!!!! i was just looking for places to enter into contest but always felt strange about submitting my photos b/c of the rules and fees. thanks!

  3. Ziv
    December 1, 2008 at 10:11 am

    Gordon Harrison at keeps up with this kind of thing. Check-out his page of competitions that you may, or may not, want to enter.

  4. December 1, 2008 at 10:21 am

    Glad I could help Mag – turns out the link from Ziv below you is also highly useful! Thanks to both for sharing and chiming in!

  5. December 22, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    I tried to enter two of the above contests. Let me just say that they dont try to make it easy.

    And once you’re in, you’re up against the best – and for me, a beginner, its tough 🙁

    • December 23, 2008 at 4:08 pm

      They never do Joe, they never do…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *