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Pro-Imaging Rights off List

Pro-Imaging Rights off List - Pro-Imaging have launched a campaign in order to make photographers more aware of competitions which claim the rights to their work.

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Press Release: Pro-Imaging logo

Pro-Imaging are an international organisation representing professional photographers from over 30 countries and it is one of our foremost aims to ensure that the legal rights of photographers, professional and amateur, are respected by all.

Through our researches into “rights grabbing” photography competitions we have discovered that the British Council are promoting a competition entitled Creative Cities competition, inviting members of the creative professions, including photographers, to create a work that showcases creativity in a particular city.

By submitting works to this competition participants are granting the British Council a worldwide, royalty free license, perpetual license to use, reproduce, distribute, display, perform, create derivative works, and sublicense the works to a third party, all without prior consent of the participants. The British Council is incorporated by Royal Charter with high profile members of the Royal family as its patrons. It receives substantial public funds through the UK Foreign office, £189m in 2006/7.

Pro-Imaging are astounded that a premier body promoting British culture abroad should stoop to using rights grabbing tactics that are removing creators rights, are destructive to the creative professions, and are well below the standards of propriety expected of a body in receipt of substantial public funds. Following our discussions with the British Council we now have a statement from them saying that they will take advantage of our advice when designing future competitions and will review the rules for this competition, see our website for further details.

To combat this widespread practice of rights grabbing competitions being vehicles for freely acquiring image usage licenses, Pro-Imaging have launched the first in a 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.

Apart from the British Council’s competition having failed our tests the following competitions have also all failed to meet all our tests –

  • 2008 Adobe Design Achievement Awards
  • The Great Outdoors Photo Contest, National Geographic & Photo District News
  • Nikon’s Small World Photomicrography Competition
  • MyPlace Photo of the Year, Panasonic
  • 1000000m Places on Earth, Rough Guide

This is the start of a long term campaign by Pro-Imaging to persuade competition promoters and sponsors to adopt practices which respect all the rights of all creators in their competition T&C’s, and to alert all photographers, both professional and amateur, of competitions that are acquiring excessive usage rights. For a poetic view of our concerns read the Bill of Rights poem.

Pro-Imaging is donating the Bill of Rights tool free of use to all creative organisations in the world to use in the fight against the Rights Grabbing malaise that is blighting our industry. Pro-Imaging is not seeking credits or plaudits, just unity of purpose, we are all so much more effective when we are united with a common purpose!


For more information about the Rights Off List, please click here.


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