Be careful of photo contests – read the fine print!
There are two types of business people in the world that I can say I have complete and total hatred of. These are patent trolls and copyright trolls. While copyright trolls aren’t as well known at the former, they are just as bad. One particular one I am going to point out today is Parent Media Group and their copyright trolling in the guise of a child photo contest. My good friend Udi from DIYPhotography.net pointed out this particular troll to me today in his post about it. What is so bad about this one is that the Parent Media Group doesn’t seem to care about anyone’s reaction to their clause, they just bank on the fact that very few people will read it and not complain, therefor filling their photo pool with a ton of images that they can then use without paying anyone.
What’s the issue?
Parent Media Group, Inc. has the right to use your photos on our site as well as for marketing purposes for an unlimited time frame.
Exsqueeze me? You want the unlimited lifetime use of my child’s photo to do with as you please? Uhh…I don’t think so. Let’s think about this a second. Let’s say 50,000 people enter this contest, and the prize is $25,000 for college, that means they are buying an annuity that will come do in about 18 years, so that’s costing them about $5,000? That’s an invest of about 10 cents per image for enough images to last them years.
Why is this misleading? It is on several fronts. Mostly because the contest is purely a front to gather tens of thousands of images that they now have the rights to use. Secondly, knowing that many people won’t grasp the complete implication of their release of their images, they are, in effect, tricking people into sending their images in.
So why is this a big deal?
I don’t know the people at the Parent Media Group nor can I guess what their intentions are, and that is exactly what bothers me. What if I believe strongly in Pro-Choice but the Parent Media Group decides they are going to start a campaign against it, with this clause they can use my own child’s images in a campaign against something I believe in. What if they decide to run my photo on the cover of a magazine that sells tens of thousands of copies, and I don’t receive one penny for that usage. There are dozens of other examples that can be used here, some benign, some not, but do you want to take that risk with not only your own images, but the images of your children?
What should they do?
What should you do?
I encourage you to all write to the Parent Media Group by using their contact form and tell them how wrong that being a copyright troll is and that they should fix their terms of service immediately before people begin to stop reading their publications due to their mishandling of the copyright issues surrounding the baby photo contest.
That’s it for my rant about this particular issue but I do encourage you to be sure and read any terms of service before entering any photo contest.