Saturday, May 19, 2007

No Contest Part II - The Big Print Giveth & The Small Print Taketh Away

In my last entry I mentioned that I won the only two contests I've ever entered. Two of hundreds of contests available to me. However, I regret that I seem to have overlooked a number of awards I've won professionally, but those really aren't photo contests so I don't feel like I've mislead anyone. For instance, the very first award I ever won was the Printers Industry Association Of America (PIAA) Gold Award for Best Cover. It was my first high-profile job, an Annual Report for Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and... yeah, I won. There have been others as well and I'm not going to bore you with the details or toot my own horn. Suffice to say they weren't, strictly, photography contests. Anyway, I'm still ticked off about that Microsoft thing.

I last wrote about the Microsoft sponsored, "Future Pro Photographer" contest and my objection to the rule granting all rights to Microsoft and its fellow sponsors. Needless to say, I wasn't the only one to take offense and very shortly thereafter ASMP had worked a deal with Microsoft amending Rule #5.

ASMP is a great organization and I'm in awe of its ability to intervene to get the rule changed.* It now says: "As a condition of accepting a prize, you agree to grant Microsoft an irrevocable royalty-free worldwide license to reproduce and display the image, credited with your first and last name, in print and on the web for the purposes of only promoting this contest." This is a good start, but that's all.

"A good start," you ask, "that's all? What's wrong now?" Well, I'll tell you: Rule #5 now says that only the winners need to grant rights to the sponsors, and only those rights necessary to promote this particular competition. While this is precisely the response ASMP asked for, that's all ASMP got. There is, however, Rule #8.....

"8. CONDITIONS OF PARTICIPATION. .....By entering this Contest You agree to and hereby release and hold harmless Sponsor and Administrators from any and all liability or any injuries, loss or damage of any kind arising from or in connection with this Contest, use or license of your Entry, or any prize. If you do not want to grant the foregoing release, please do not enter the Contest.... (and continues after some other qualifiers to state)..... You waive any claim of infringement (including without limitation copyright, trademark, patent, trade name, trade secret, etc.) against the Sponsor and Administrators or their licensees based upon access to or use of your Entry."

Hellooooo??? Doesn't Rule #8 say that Microsoft and its pals can break Rule #5, use your images anyway and be immune from litigation? I'm no lawyer, but it sure seems that way to me.

Above: Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, NYC - Nikon F3HP, 28/2.8 Nikkor lens, Kodachrome 25

*Okay, I'm biased, I'm President of ASMP's New Jersey Chapter.


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