Guardian up to its old tricks with photographic competitions and copyright

Back in April I highlighted how the Guardian, Hewlett Packard and Lonely Planet were grabbing a ‘worldwide irrevocable perpetual licence’ in entries to a photographic competition they were running.

I pointed out that, as the entry terms stood, the companies involved could build up a completely free library of images that they could use for evermore and without giving most of the photographers anything at all. Ten entrants would receive printers that weren’t even equivalent in value to a professional fee for one-time use of their photograph, let alone full ownership of it forever.

When challenged, The Guardian told me that all parties had agreed not to use the images except in relation to the competion. However this wasn’t in the terms and conditions.

Since then, Lonely Planet has been bought by the BBC, which is always trying to obtain free photography — even from professionals.

The Editorial Photographers UK website highlights two other occasions where The Guardian has attempted to grab rights from photographers. It points out that several well-known camera manufacturers, including Canon, Pentax and Olympus have said they will have nothing to do with competitions that have these underhand terms and conditions.

However, now I see The Guardian has yet another dodgy photo competition. This time, not in association with a camera or printer manufacturer, but with Nissan the car maker.

The entry terms are contradictory:

‘Entrants shall retain the copyright in their entry and can use it as they chose (sic). Each entrant hereby irrevocably and unconditionally licences to GNM all present and future copyright and any renewals or extensions thereof.’

How can someone ‘retain the copyright’ AND ‘irrevocably and unconditionally licence’ ALL ‘present and future copyright’?

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