Friday, 12 March 2010

Frommer's Rights Grab

Bob Krist is mad...fighting mad.

It sems that Frommer's have launched a photography contest calling for photographers to submit images to win the chance of seeing their work gracing the cover of a Frommer's future guide book. The winner will receive $5,000 while 4 runners up will receive Frommer's Prize pack containing three Frommer's Day by Day travel guides and a selection of Frommer's Lug travel accessories.

I've always advocated potential contestants or individuals considering such contests to really read the fine print with care, whether the organizers are well-known in the world of photography or travel or not, in an effort to highlight that most (if not all) of photography contests are rights grabs.

The Frommer's contest rules contain this:
License: Participant retains ownership of the copyright in any submitted photographs. However, by entering photograph(s) in this Contest, participant grants Sponsor the irrevocable, perpetual right to edit, adapt, use and publish in any media now known or hereafter discovered any or all of the photographs without compensation to the participant, his or her successors or assigns, or any other entity. ENTERING A SUBMISSION IN THIS CONTEST CONSTITUTES PARTICIPANT'S IRREVOCABLE ASSIGNMENT, CONVEYANCE, AND TRANSFERENCE TO SPONSOR OF THE FOREGOING RIGHTS. Photograph(s) shall be given attribution credit based on the name supplied with submission. The winner shall work with Sponsor to change the file in any way deemed necessary for publication of the photograph(s). The participants shall supply, upon request, original, unmodified digital files.

As a photographer, I would never ever grant anyone an "irrevocable, perpetual right..." to any of my work, no matter what. Not even a "throw-away" frame.

Bob Krist calls this another rights grab in sheep’s clothing. I don't know about the sheep's clothing, but I can clearly see the wolf's fangs. I also realize that a number of non-professional photographers will be tempted by the prospect of seeing one of their images in print, and perhaps that's what Frommer's target market is. However, I urge working photographers to boycott this contest and to spread the word.

I'm also shocked to see Rick Sammon, a preeminent travel photographer and educator, listed as a judge in this contest.

Update: I learned from Bob Krist's blog that Rick Sammon has now withdrawn from the panel of judges. It was the right and appropriate action to take.