When not to participate in a photography contest

If the terms read anything like they do in the National Pest Managment Association’s new pest photo contest, avoid like the plague:

By entering this Contest and uploading your Submission, you irrevocably grant to Sponsor and its agents the unconditional and perpetual right to post, display, publish, use, adapt, edit and/or modify such Submission in any way, in any and all media, for any purpose, without limitation, and without consideration to you. Finalists agree to irrevocably assign and transfer to the Sponsor any and all rights, title and interest in Submission, including, without limitation, all copyrights and waive all moral rights in Submission. All Contest entrants further agree to release and indemnify and hold harmless the Sponsor and the Contest Parties from any and all claims that any commercial, advertising, presentation, web content or any other material subsequently produced, presented, and/or prepared by or on behalf of Sponsor infringes on the rights of Entrant’s work as contained in any Submission.

A bunch of cheapskates representing a large and profitable industry don’t want to pay for images they can use in advertisements. So they host a contest, hoping to play people’s vanity into scoring some freebies.

I’m not intending to single out the National Pest Management Association. The scam contest is a common corporate strategy.

Reputable photo contests, in contrast, allow photographers to retain ownership of their own images. Always read the fine print.

2 thoughts on “When not to participate in a photography contest”

  1. Yikes! I always try to be wary about that sort of fine print.
    I participated in a WWF photo contest recently, and afterward they asked my permission to use my photo (one of the finalists) in further promos with proper credit to me. I was feeling generous so I said yes. There are lots of contests I’ve been tempted to enter but don’t want to give away my favorite photos!

  2. Reading through that paragraph I kept expecting it to include a clause whereby you also sign away any cameras and gear used to capture the submitted photograph…

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