Sunday, April 20, 2008

CBS 42 Photo Contest usage agreement warning!


I was reading the Austin flickr group and came upon a post regarding the CBS 42 Photo Contest here in Austin. In a word, I'm appalled. Just appalled. The usage agreement they have in place for any submitted photo is draconian and seriously tramples on the rights of photographers. I looked over the website and couldn't find any contact info for the backend organizers, so I sent an email to Fred Cantu who announces the winners.

Here's what I wrote:

Mr. Cantu,

My apologies for sending this your way. It's not clear from the CBS 42 website who the contact is for the CBS 42 Photo contest. If you could direct this to the right person or have them contact me, I would greatly appreciate it.

I am absolutely appalled at the terms and conditions of the CBS 42 photo contest. Specifically, I am referring to the the following statements on

"As a condition of submitting your photo, you unconditionally and irrevocably assign all copyrights and other rights in the photograph to Four Points Media Group."


"As a condition of submitting your photograph, you (and any other individual depicted in a photograph) unconditionally and irrevocably waive all claims to compensation for use of the photograph, and/or any rights with respect to such use you may have under copyright law, the right to publicity, the right to privacy, the law of defamation, and any other common law or statutory claims under the laws of any jurisdiction."

As a photographer, I find these two statements simply amazing. By declaring that my rights to MY photography are unilaterally assigned to you for usage, you're effectively hijacking my ability to use those photos in the way I see fit in the future. What you are doing is a disservice to photographers, both amateurs who may not understand the intricacies of rights usage and professionals who use their photography to make a living.

I highly encourage you to reconsider your usage guidelines and make them more friendly to photographers everywhere. Please note that until CBS 42 changes their usage agreement, I will be encouraging all my friends, relatives, and other photographers in the Austin area to stay away from your contest. I would also like to note that this has begun making it's way through the Austin communities at, reaching several thousand photographers, both amateur and professional, in the Austin area.

You may also be interested in reading the following blogs regarding other photography contests on the web that have done similar things.

which leads to

Travis Campbell

We'll see what, if anything, they respond with. Until then, I would encourage everyone to stay away from that photo contest because they're stripping you of your rights to any of your submitted photos.

For reference, the urls above are also listed in a clickable way below


-edit-: fixing some formatting issues.

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