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It's that time of the year again - Landscape Photographer of the Year. I gave up entering several years ago when I realised my images just weren't inspiring enough but I've always been a bit bothered by the rules, which seem to apply these days to pretty well all competitions.

 

As usual, entrants must "have the prior permission of those pictured in the image" and "have received any necessary permissions from the owner(s) of buildings included in submitted images" for the usage rights required, which is basically anything connected with the competition.

 

So how do others react to these rules? If you see a stunning landscape, would you walk all round it first to get written permission from any people in the shot? If you're taking an urban scene would you visit every building in the shot and get permission from the owners before pressing the shutter? Or would you submit the pics anyway on the basis that the usage rights required are not commercial in the narrow image rights sense, but in the knowledge that you have been dishonest in accepting the terms and that you might lose any prize you were awarded?

 

Or do you just not enter the competition because it's virtually impossible to adhere to the rules? If so, do you wonder how all the other entrants sleep at night if their images contain people or buildings?

 

Alan

 

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As a practical matter, I suspect many people just submit their images and (a) don't read the rules or (B) ignore them.  And probably don't lie awake at night fretting even if they do!

 

Don't know that I agree with your view of commercial rights - although not familiar with this specific competition - someone will be sponsoring these competitions and I'm guessing that the competition rules probably say something about granting a licence for the competition hosts or sponsors to use the winning entries (or any other entries) for promotional, etc purposes. You are then well within commercial licensing territory.  

 

The requirement to warrant that you have the necessary releases is to cover the their backs for ongoing use of the images, including commercially.  If the terms also include an indemnity from you in the competition sponsor's favour, and bet they do, I'd be worried!  I would be less concerned about losing prizes and more concerned about whether a third party (unreleased person / property owner) might object to use of the image and whether or not liability will shoot home to you in those circumstances.  That risk may be very remote but if you want something to fret about, that's probably closer to the mark.  

 

Off topic, but I sympathise with your dilemma in more general terms - I have a whole backlog of travel images I am slowly trying to edit and upload.  None have releases and I don't have the time, capacity or inclination to track down if they are needed. And neither do I have the time or the Photoshop skills to professionally clone out all possible TMs, etc.  

 

I am very new to this - I signed up to Alamy ages ago but did nothing with it until a couple of months ago.  I had started out submitting these images as editorial royalty free to some of the micro agencies before being accepted to Alamy, but I am getting increasingly uneasy about doing so (even with 'editorial only' screaming at buyers from those sites).  In a lot of cases, I strongly disagree with the view taken at some of the micros about what images do or don't require a release, and they are completely inconsistent in their approach, but this just highlights the uncertainty.

 

The upshot is, I am starting to lean towards putting all of my unreleased travel images, at least all those with people, on Alamy as RM, though some of the initial ones are RF because I already had submitted them to other agencies.  Although not bullet proof at all (especially in light of paragraph 4.5 of the contributor agreement), it does control usage a bit more, and more transparently shifts the onus on to the buyer to obtain whatever permissions they need.  It also makes coding easier.  For me, though, that means that I effectively become exclusive at Alamy for these images, since I am not submitting RM images anywhere else as yet.  And I don't know yet, but I suspect that making the images RM rather than RF might limit their saleability to a certain extent. Especially since I don't really rate my own images that highly.  Hmmm...back to agonising over that one...sigh.

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I stopped submitting images for competitions some time ago when I realized that I could earn more putting them on Alamy. I personally see no point to submit my best images and giving away all my rights for the potential of a modest prize. I guess it would be different if one needs the kudos or industry exposure to further ones business or to gain credibility within ones peer group ie photo society.

 

dov

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If the terms also include an indemnity from you in the competition sponsor's favour, and bet they do, I'd be worried!

 

Indeed they do: I would be indemnifying the organisers against any future claim by a third party.

 

Alan

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Off topic, but I sympathise with your dilemma in more general terms - I have a whole backlog of travel images I am slowly trying to edit and upload.  None have releases and I don't have the time, capacity or inclination to track down if they are needed.

 

I've never worried about that. I made a very early decision that I would only ever use RM and thus restrict myself to editorial sales.

 

Alan

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Oh, bother, I don't know why every time I try and quote a post and then post mine, I lose it.  Anyway, Alan, thanks for that.  I just typed out a little off topic philosophical rant about how I think I have come to a decision moving forward to just upload all my images here as RM, rather than virtually give them away as RF on micro (given they will never be volume sellers).  This isn't my day job (though I wish it was), so I have the luxury of testing if my travel and editorial images are up to scratch selling as RM.  If they don't sell, well, maybe I will reconsider that decision, or just go back to leaving them on my hard drive for personal enjoyment!

 

Edited by KerinF
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Off topic, but I sympathise with your dilemma in more general terms - I have a whole backlog of travel images I am slowly trying to edit and upload.  None have releases and I don't have the time, capacity or inclination to track down if they are needed.

 

 

I've never worried about that. I made a very early decision that I would only ever use RM and thus restrict myself to editorial sales.

 

Alan

Alan, did you mean: "...I made a very early decision that I would only ever use RM and PLUS restrict myself to editorial sales"?

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Off topic, but I sympathise with your dilemma in more general terms - I have a whole backlog of travel images I am slowly trying to edit and upload.  None have releases and I don't have the time, capacity or inclination to track down if they are needed.

 

I've never worried about that. I made a very early decision that I would only ever use RM and thus restrict myself to editorial sales.

 

Alan

Alan, did you mean: "...I made a very early decision that I would only ever use RM and PLUS restrict myself to editorial sales"?

 

 

No, I don't set the restrictions myself. I meant that by making the pics RM I was effectively making them unsuitable for anything other than editorial. I take the view, like many here, that Alamy's terms for the buyer are quite explicit about liability for improper use, and I can always cling to the hope that one day a publisher who really wants an unreleased pic for commercial use will approach me to see if obtaining a release would be a possibility, which would not be possible if the image was restricted. Pie in the sky, I know, but then stock is mostly pie in the sky nowadays.

 

Alan

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I stopped submitting images for competitions some time ago when I realized that I could earn more putting them on Alamy. I personally see no point to submit my best images and giving away all my rights for the potential of a modest prize. I guess it would be different if one needs the kudos or industry exposure to further ones business or to gain credibility within ones peer group ie photo society.

 

dov

 

Quite. So many competitions are actually about the merchandising rights and, for that reason, I wouldn't submit.  Not sure my images would be wanted by this particular competition either.  :D

Edited by digi2ap

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Every time I read the terms and conditions for a competition, I come to the conclusion that the real reason for the competition is the organiser's desire to assemble a collection of essentially free images they can use to promote a pet project - usually a travel destination (we have at least one large competition in the Washington DC area that fits).

 

There's an article at http://www.photoattorney.com/share-experience-share-photos-rights-grab/ on this theme.

 

As far as I know, the most photographer-friendly competition out there is the Epson PanoAwards - just in case you wanted to know.

 

Regards

Lionel

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There's a semi-maintained list of competitions guaranteed not to be rights-grabbing here: Artists Bill of Rights Rights-on List

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Thanks, I had no idea that existed.

 

Regards

Lionel

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