|2008 08 14 Microsoft; Iconic Britain|
Iconic Britain News - Latest
Today 1st August 2008 the Microsoft Corporation sent the following statement to Pro-Imaging.
Microsoft Corporation Statement
We are grateful to Pro-Imaging for raising its concerns about the use of photographers' works on the Iconic Britain website. Although this was only a short marketing programme, it’s always very important to Microsoft that we respect the intellectual property rights of others. We apologise that we have not lived up to our ordinarily high standards.
We have since taken steps to obtain the rights to use every image to be featured in the subsequent stages of the Iconic Britain competition. We also welcome the invitation by Pro-Imaging to discuss with them best practices when using photographs in similar competitions.
Pro-Imaging Response To Microsoft Statement
Pro-Imaging would like to take this opportunity to express our appreciation of the above statement issued by Microsoft. We have copied it to all our members who will, along with photographers worldwide, welcome Microsoft's aim to adopt best practices in similar photograph competitions.
Statement From Nikon
Today, 31st July 2008 the following statement was issued by Nikon;
Nikon would like to confirm that it has withdrawn its support from Microsoft’s Iconic Britain competition. This is due to the feedback and concerns raised by photographers and entrants surrounding the competition mechanic that was developed and promoted by Microsoft.
Nikon will fulfil its prize commitment to the winners, however it will not be associated with the competition going forward
We appreciate your feedback, understanding and continued support.
Pro-Imaging Response To Nikon Statement
Pro-Imaging would like to take this opportunity to express our appreciation of the decision taken by Nikon. We know that photographers everywhere will appreciate Nikon's concern for photographers rights.
Original Contest Report Submitted to Microsoft & Nikon
Microsoft; Iconic Britain ends 14 August 2008
The Rules of this Contest
Before analysing the rules of this competition a little explanation of it's unusual nature is required. This contest is so different we have abandoned the usual format we employ to report and analyse a competitions rules.
Entrants are required to submit images that are in their opinion, iconic images of Britain, however, entrants DO NOT submit their own images to this contest. Instead entrants must make use of a Live Search feature provided on the Microsoft Competition website.
Visitors to the website can either vote on images selected by other entrants, or use Live Search to search for images, and from the images supplied by Live Search, make a selection to submit to the contest. This is what the rules actually say -
"6. To be eligible to win a prize, Entrants must visit www.iconicbritain.co.uk (the "Website") and either:
(together, an "Entry", and persons making such Entries, an "Entrant").
7. Entrants acknowledge that some images generated by Live Search may be subject to the intellectual property rights (including copyright) of a third party. Microsoft does not encourage or condone Entrants submitting images to the Competition that infringe the rights of a third party. In the event Microsoft is notified that an image infringes the intellectual property rights, or any other right, of a third party it shall promptly remove the image from the Competition.
8. Entrants must not submit an image or text to the Competition which is: offensive, obscene, pornographic, defamatory or infringes any right of any person. In the event Microsoft is notified that any Entry breaches this term, such Entry shall be promptly removed from the Competition."
Please note the text in paragraph 7 above that we have highlighted in bold. The clear implication is that Microsoft have not excercised any care over the Live Search feature with regard to whether the images are under third party copyright or not. By allowing entrants to select such images and post them on the Microsoft website they are enabling the entrants to infringe the copyright of the image creators.
Pro-Imaging view the provision of such a facility that may result in legal action against either the promoter, or the entrant, or both, as quite extraordinary and careless of the intellectual property rights of others regardless of protestations to the contrary on the Microsoft website about respecting copyright. The wording of rule 8 shows that Microsoft are making the entrant responsible for not choosing images that are subject to third party copyright. How on earth is an entrant supposed to know whether or not images presented by Microsoft's Live Search are subject to copyright?
If copyright was truly respected by Microsoft they would have made sure that no images subject to third party copyright would be selected by Live Search. It is astonishing that Nikon UK's general manager, Simon Coleman, has allowed himself to be associated with such a contest as a judge. As head of a UK imaging company we would thought he would have been more careful about which projects he allows himself to be associated with.
During Pro-Imaging's tests we used Live Search to select photograph's of well known celebrities and we have no way of knowing if they are free of copyright restraints, or that there are model releases permitting such usage. Nor will entrants to this contest.
A primary aim of the Bill of Rights is to ensure copyright is protected, so Pro-Imaging have deemed this contest to have failed The Bill of Rights in that this contest enables potential copyright infringement.
This competition is not recommended, and to avoid any possibility of being responsible for copyright infringement of third party works, you should not enter it.
The above report was made available to both Microsoft and Simon Coleman at Nikon for comment. We also gave them the opportunity to correct any errors in it prior to publication. We are sorry to have to say that both Microsoft and Nikon ignored the email we sent to them and we never received a reply.
By failing to respond, nor changing the operation of the contest, Pro-Imaging have concluded that our concern that their competition enables copyright infringement of other's works is of no concern to either Nikon or Microsoft. We are surprised that two large multi-national corporations would not wish to take steps to avoid adverse publicity over this matter.
We advise all photographers to take screen shots of their images on the Iconic Britain website to prove their claim for copyright infringement, and we advise you all to do this as soon as possible.
The story continues, and for the latest news flashes as they occur read the latest Competition Diary which, amongst other items, has a statement from Microsoft about this contest, and a statement from Nikon that they have withdrawn from the contest. The Nikon statement is also reproduced at the beginning of this page.
Organisations - Microsoft UK
© 2008 Pro-Imaging; Last updated on 2nd August 2008
The above text may be reproduced providing the Pro-Imaging copyright notice is displayed with a link to the Pro-Imaging website.
Text reproduced above in quotes has been extracted from the competition website for the purposes of review in this report.
NB. If the competition rules are changed after updated date shown above it is the competition organisers responsibility to notify Pro-Imaging of changes made.