Another Canadian Geographic Rights Grabbing Photo Contest

Canadian Geographic magazine hosts numerous photo contents per year through their popular Canadian Geographic Photo Club. The club is a really good idea and the photo contests have great themes and some nice prizes but by entering these competitions your are at minimum giving away your photos to be used by Canadian Geographic magazine in any way it sees fit. That might seem acceptable or the price ‘you pay for winning’ but this right grabs applies to any image entered! Also Canadian Geo partners with ‘sponsors’ for each contest and these partners also get to use your photos however they want. For example, in their Canadian Wildlife Photography of the Year Contest they partner with the Canadian Museum of Nature and in their Heritage Treasures of Parks Canada Photography Contest they pair up with Parks Canada. In their latest contest The Canadian Geographic Annual Contest (26th edition) they team up with the Forest Products Association of Canada (The Voice of Canada’s Wood, Pulp and Paper Products). This quote below is from the contest page and clearly lays out what rights you are giving away:

Canadian Geographic and the Forest Products Association of Canada (in regard exclusively to the “Framing the Forest” category) reserve the non-exclusive right to publish any entry and/or use any entry in its promotional material during or after the Contest without further compensation to the entrants. For FPAC, promotional material shall include without limitation any print or electronic advertising or marketing material such as posters, online images, newspaper ads, television ads, e-mails and social media content. FPAC further reserves the non-exclusive right to publish and publicly display without further compensation to the entrants any or all winning photos as part of a promotional publicity tour of the photos at a date and for a period of time to be determined by FPAC in its sole discretion.

With regard to any photo submitted to the Contest, you, or the owner of copyright in the photograph, retain all copyright. By uploading or submitting any photo to the Contest, you grant (or warrant that the owner of such materials expressly grants) Canadian Geographic Enterprises and FPAC and its affiliates and licensors a world-wide, perpetual, royalty-free, irrevocable and non-exclusive right and license to use, copy, adapt, transmit, communicate, publicly display and perform, distribute and create compilations and derivative works or merchandise from any such submitted photograph to promote the Canadian Geographic Photo Club, its photo contests or FPAC in general.

Why would anyone willingly enter this competition where you essentially grant a royalty free license to Canadian Geo, FPAC and ‘affliates’ (whoever those may be)? And yet there are hundreds of entries from photographers.

There are several possibilities.

  • Some people must not read the rules closely and so miss out on the fact that they are granting worldwide royalty free rights to the photos they enter.
  • Some photographers are naive about their rights and the rights they are giving away and have no clue what the rules are asking them to give up
  • Some photographers don’t care. They are thrilled to have their photos published by anyone for any use just for the thrill of seeing their work online or in print.
  • Other photographers are entering strategically. They shoot a lot of material and so are willing to give up an image or two for the chance at winning a prize.

I raise this contest as an example of how many photo competitions are actually just ‘excuses’ to make money (where entry fees are charged) or to get free images for advertising and editorial uses. If you enter photo contests, please read the rules carefully. Are you willing to give up what is asked? Only you can decide. If you want a great site listing some crappy and some good contests to enter go to Photo Attorney (this is also a great legal resource site for photographers)!  Also see my previous rant about Canadian Geographic. And if you want to see what my ‘rules’ are for the photo contests I run on this blog go here

8 Responses to “Another Canadian Geographic Rights Grabbing Photo Contest”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Booom, photo feeds. photo feeds said: Canadian Geographic magazine hosts numerous photo contents per year through their popular Canadian Geographic Phot… http://bit.ly/93i1gr […]

  2. My thanks to you for keeping us informed on this issue … I have often thought that some of these contests were just a money grab given their entry fee structure and I am never sure what rights I am giving up given the legalese that they often use! Cheers, it’s appreciated!

  3. Thanks for the info on this contest. i haven’t entered it for a few years, but certainly would stay away from it with the rights that you are giving up. Surprised they didn’t also ask for your first born.

  4. I noticed that with a lot of these so called contests, ya they give you a $50 gift and get all these photo’s.
    my wife wanted me to put some stuff in for Nat Geo Traveler mag– heck you have to pay them to enter.

    I appreciate the heads up with your article here, its really up to the individual whether that’s the direction the want to go.

    personally I’m happy just posting my photo’s to Flickr and selling the odd one here or there.

    Photography has been my passion since I first picked up camera’s back about 1970 ish or so.

    cheers Darwin and BTW hope your new T2i works out great for you !

  5. Thanks for the heads up Darwin.

    It seems to me that many of these so called photo contests are nothing but a scam and a way to generate free images for the companies involved. Organize a contest, have sponsors give you $5,000 or $10,000 worth of prizes and then get 10,000 submissions. Even if you sell each image for $25 on a stock site somewhere, that is still $250,000!! WOW!

    What we need is a way for all artists to have their work displayed where everyone can enjoy it without individuals or companies making a profit from it. The internet is a great place but it is so vast and there is so much “stuff” out there, it is hard to dedicate one place for artists to show their work without the need to pay and without the worry that someone will steal their work.

  6. […] Canadian Geographic magazine hosts numerous photo contents per year through their popular Canadian Geographic Photo Club. The club is a really good idea and the photo contests have great themes and some nice prizes but by entering these competitions your are at minimum giving away your photos to be used by Canadian Geographic magazine in any way it sees fit. That might seem acceptable or the price 'you pay for winning' but this right grabs applie … Read More […]

  7. Mike Fitton Says:

    Thanks for another post about the rights grabbing contests the magazines put out there Darwin! I too have checked out different “Rules” and it’s just a way of getting free images from great photographers. They make their money selling it to their affiliates and partners and the person doing all the legwork “may” get a lowly prize in the end. But ALL the entries can be used for their needs!!!

    Happy Shooting Darwin!
    ~mike

  8. […] to enter some photography contests this summer?  Before you do read this warning over at Darwin Wiggett’s […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: