According to Pro imaging, the Crown Estate organised a competition asking for people to send in photographs to demonstrate what they believe is great about Britain. But buried in the small print of the contest the Crown Estate are claiming exclusive rights to use the public's images, and that the public are to give up their legal right to be identified as the creator of the image.
"It's quite incredible that the Crown Estate is involved in a competition that is taking the rights off people," said Pro imaging's Gordon Harrison.
The text in the small print means that Crown Estate can enjoy exclusive rights to use the public's images while the public are denied the right to use their own photos, even on their personal websites.
Pro imaging have said that the small print was the only clue that showed the Crown Estate are behind this unfair contest, which was brought to their attention by one of their members. On their website the Crown Estate are known as Regent Street which is presumably because they own the actual street. Nowhere on the site does it say who can use the photographs but Pro imaging wanted to point out that there are over 700 small and medium sized businesses and over 150 retail and catering outlets on Regent street.
Pro imaging wrote to The Crown Estate's Chief Executive, Roger Bright a week ago asking him to change the contest rules to be fair to entrants. Pro imaging are yet to receive a reply from The Crown Estate.
"We gave them every chance to reply to us and they didn't we have been fair," said Gordon.
Subsequent to receiving their report Pro imaging have noticed that the Crown Estate has made a change to one of the rules. Originally claiming the right to use the public's images until the end of 2009, they changed it and claimed the right to use them forever. Then on the 29th of August the rules were changed again, back to the same rules Pro imaging condemned in the first place.
The Crown Estate claims on their website that "Integrity is the backbone of The Crown Estate. It dictates that we treat customers as we would wish to be treated ourselves." Pro imaging argue that there is no sign of this "integrity" in the rules of this contest and the public who enter it are being treated unfairly.