Pro-Imaging are an international organisation representing professional photographers worldwide and it is one of our foremost aims to ensure that the legal rights of photographers, professional and amateur, are respected.
Through our researches into rights grabbing competitions aimed at photographers, we discovered that One NorthEast, a UK Regional Development Agency for the North-east of England, responsible to the UK Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, are promoting a competition entitled Student Challenge 2008, inviting students to come up with "a creative idea to demonstrate what you believe is great about North East England".
By submitting works to this competition students are granting One NorthEast the following rights:
"participants hereby assign all rights and grant all consents necessary to One NorthEast to enable One NorthEast to exploit or authorise others to reproduce, edit, use and exploit the products of any participation received by One NorthEast...in all media throughout the universe in perpetuity to the extent permitted by law and irrevocably and unconditionally waives all moral rights they may have in and to the products of the participation. All intellectual property rights in the winning ideas and any materials produced in connection with the ideas will become the property of One NorthEast."
Pro-Imaging are astounded that a government agency would so boldly claim such all encompassing rights from students, who would expect to look to UK regulatory bodies like BERR as examples of best practice for terms and conditions. With competition rules as published, students will find they have been stripped of all current and future rights to their creative submissions. This is not setting a leading example of good practice by the UK regulatory authorities, good practice being to apply the principles in our Bill of Rights for photographers.
We notified One NorthEast that UK law requires a written and signed agreement to effect a transfer of copyright, but One NorthEast have made no provision for that in the contest rules. The claim that they now own copyright to the submissions is at variance with paragraph 90 of the UK Copyright, Designs and Patent Act 1988. Following discussions between Pro-Imaging and One NorthEast the Regional Development Agency have offered to investigate the matter as part of One NorthEast’s formal complaints procedures under which a full investigation will be completed and a report with findings prepared.
To combat this widespread practice of rights grabbing competitions being vehicles for freely acquiring images, Pro-Imaging publish an ongoing series of consumer reports which conduct tests on photography competitions. Those which fail our tests are published on our website at The Rights Off List, along with the reason why they have failed our tests. We test them against the conditions set out in our Bill of Rights.
Pro-Imaging are engaged in a long term campaign to persuade competition promoters and sponsors to adopt practices which respect rights of photographers in competition T&C’s, and to alert all photographers, both professional and amateur, of competitions that are acquiring excessive usage rights.
For more information on Pro-Imaging's Bill of Rights, please visit their website.