Photo Attorney

Apr 16, 2009

When the Fine Print Isn't

It's fun to enter a photo contest. It's not fun to read the fine print. But because the "fine print" sometimes means that you lose more rights than you expected, you may want to stop to read those boring terms and conditions before hitting the "upload" button for these contests: Photo Contest

Rules: By entering the contest, entrants grant Smithsonian Institution a royalty-free, world-wide, perpetual, non-exclusive license to display, distribute, reproduce, and create derivative works of the entries, in whole or in part, in any media now existing or subsequently developed, for any Smithsonian Institution purpose, including, but not limited to advertising and promotion of the magazine and its Web site, exhibition, and commercial products, including but not limited to Smithsonian Institution publications. Photographs may appear on the Smithsonian Journeys Web site as well as in Journeys publications. Any photograph reproduced will include a photographer credit. [Editor's note: Hooray!] The Smithsonian Institution will not be required to pay any additional consideration or seek any additional approval in connection with such uses.

Scion Photo Contest

Official Rules: All Entrants submitting photography as part of the Contest will be non-exclusively licensing (with the unlimited right to sublicense) to Sponsor and Producer the right to use such photographs, and the images related thereto, for any purpose (including any and all commercial purposes) with the right to modify the photography and make derivative works thereof.

Peter Nicholls read the fine print and contacted the USA Today about its Picture America Contest. The rules were revised from:

Copyright. By entering the Contest, each contestant grants to Sponsor an exclusive, royalty-free and irrevocable right and license to publish, print, edit or otherwise use the contestant's submitted entry, in whole or in part, for any purpose and in any manner or media (including, without limitation, the Internet) throughout the world in perpetuity, and to license others to do so, all without limitation or further compensation. Each contestant further agrees that if his/her entry is selected by Sponsor as the winning entry, he/she will sign any additional license or release that Sponsors may require, and will not publicly display his or her photo submission without the express permission of Sponsor.


Copyright. Each contestant retains the copyright to the photograph entered but grants to Sponsor the royalty-free right to publish the entry in USA TODAY and online at and in connection with the Contest. Each contestant further acknowledges that he/she may be asked to sign an additional release in connection with Sponsor's use or publication of the photograph.

Way to go, Peter!

Thanks to Bill Jones and Kathy Rueckl for submitting these alerts.