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The Bill of Rights Standards for Photography Competitions
It is accepted that if the rules of a competition meet all the Bill of Rights standards but a third party, a sponsor or publisher for example, fails to apply the rules regarding rights as set out by the organiser, this does not mean that the contest fails the Bill of Rights. No blame can be attached to the organiser for the failure of third parties to adhere to the contest rules.
Regardless of whether or not a competition meets all the Bill of Rights standards, if it is judged that the subject matter or theme of the competition may cause offence to some people, the right is reserved not to list the competition on the Rights On List.
Copyright & Moral Rights
Entrants will retain copyright and moral rights in their images. Terms and conditions of competitions must not require photographers entering them to assign their copyright to another party, nor must it be a condition of entry that the photographer's moral rights be waived.
Moral rights are to be respected, i.e. the rules should state that images used and published will always be credited to the photographer, that credit taking the usual form of the copyright notice, i.e. © year name
If at any stage of a competition an entrant may be asked to sign one or more documents to remain in the contest or to be eligible for a prize, replicas of such documents, or at least full details of the rights they require the entrant to grant, must be displayed on the competition website terms and conditions page
Any rights metadata present in images submitted to a contest will not be removed, altered, or added to by the contest organisers or sponsors. It shall not be a requirement of the contest rules that entrants are to remove metadata prior to submitting images to a contest.
The sponsors/organiser will only acquire limited usage rights for submitted images to any one competition. Limited usage rights means they must be non exclusive, and usage is restricted solely to promoting the specific competition the images were submitted to, or future competitions where that competition is a recurring one, such usage being restricted to a period of five years from the date on which the prize winners are announced for the competition that the images concerned were submitted to. This is termed free usage.
A competition winners archive can be maintained by a contest to act as a roll call of honour. Such images can be maintained in the archive forever subject to the conditions set out on the Bill of Rights page dealing with competition winner's archives.
Free usage includes the production of a competition book or catalogue for a contest displaying images entered to one specific contest, along with a credit for each image published in the book or catalogue, and such a book can be published indefinitely. Alternatively, instead of a book, a calendar for one year only can be published containing the winning images submitted to a specific contest. Such commercial usage will not fail the Bill of Rights.
Free usage includes the production of a competition compilation book or catalogue for a contest displaying images entered to any occurrences of that contest in the previous five years, along with a credit for each image published in the book or catalogue, and such a book can be published indefinitely. Such commercial usage will not fail the Bill of Rights.
Free Usage includes the production of competition merchandise, namely posters and cards providing they are fully credited.
If free usage for an image is to extend beyond five years then permission must be sought from the photographer who will have the right to decline such requests.
Certain very limited exemptions to the five year free usage rule may be granted on a case by case basis with regard to images selected by the judges as prize winners, but only for non-commercial usage, usage solely and exclusively to promote the competition and the photographer. Some of the exceptional factors considered include the prestige of the competition in the photographic world, the distinction and honour accruing to those contributing winning images through exhibitions and specialised peer reviews, any benefit to the photographer through print sales for example, and technical specialism's that may be required to enter the contest.
Competition rules which do not state that the images will be used to solely and exclusively promote the competition will be deemed to be using the images for other purposes, and such other purposes will be deemed commercial usage.
There must be a clear statement of the manner in which the submitted entries will be freely used by the organiser and sponsors. Competitions which have no statements about how images will be used, or statements which are unclear about the extent of image usage will be deemed to have failed this condition.
Entrant's images to be displayed on web sites shall have a longest side not exceeding 1024 pixels.
Note that charities and other non-profit organisations can obtain additional rights providing they adopt the donation principle described on the Bill of Rights page dealing with arrangements for Charities and other Non-Profit Organisations.
Excepting the above allowable provisions for competition books under Free Usage above, the rules of the competition must be explicit and state one of the following -
- that images submitted to the competition will not be used in commercial products or merchandise nor licensed commercially, OR
- that any commercial opportunities that arise will notified to the photographer who will be free to negotiate terms independent of the competition, OR
- that images will be used in commercial products or licensed commercially with reference to the competition and that each such usage will be subject to a specific non-exclusive rights managed license not exceeding five years usage at a fee freely negotiated with the photographer concerned.
For the purposes of clarification any usage that is not directly, solely, and exclusively related to promoting the competition will be deemed commercial usage.
The rules must state that an entrant to the competition can decline any commercial usage licenses that may offered to them, AND that such action will not affect their chances of being chosen as a winning entry. For the purposes of clarification it is acceptable than an entrant sign a license granting any or all of those rights listed as allowable free usage in Bill of Rights condition 2.
Competitions should provide brief biographical information about the judges who will judge the contest. Where for the purposes of avoiding any attempt to influence the judges the current years judges will be anonymous, there should at least be brief details of the judges used in previous contests. Where it is the first year of a contest and thus it is clearly not possible to name last year's judges, a statement that details of the judges will be announced when the competition winners are announced.
Competitions should list all organisations granted usage rights to submitted images directly resulting from each organisation's association with the competition as a supporter, sponsor, partner, etc. This provision enables entrants to know which organisations will get rights to use their images.
End Date within 16 months of Announcement Date
The competition must have a specified date on which prizes will be awarded, and that date must not be more than 16 months beyond the date upon which the competition details are first made public. This condition is to prevent free usage for submitted images extending over years simply because an end date for the competition has been set more than 16 months into the future.
Click Next > > to see a sample of the invitation we send to competition organisers to become a Bill of Rights Supporter.