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Smashing deal from CORBIS

Look! You could eat or get a rub-down from CORBIS if you just give them exclusive rights… what a deal!

I am buried contest

I know, nothing new…

Here’s some of the not so fine print:


By providing Sponsor with your Submission in this Contest, you agree to exclusively and irrevocably assign, convey and transfer to Sponsor any and all right, title and interest in the Submission, including the copyright, right of publicity, moral rights and any ideas included in the Submission and understand that you may be required to sign a document to this effect.

You understand that this assignment shall give Sponsor sole ownership over your Submission and that Sponsor, therefore, shall have the right to transfer or assign any part or all of the Submission, without limitation. Sponsor also shall have the right to edit, adapt and publish any or all of the Submission, and may use it in any media including, without limitation any new technologies that are yet to be developed, without attribution or compensation to the entrant, his/her successors or assigns, or any other entity. Further, this assignment shall give Sponsor the right to use the Submission in perpetuity and throughout the universe without further consideration. If you do not want to assign such rights to Sponsor, you should not participate in this Contest.

by [a former member] at 2007-09-13 16:35:52 UTC (ed. Mar 12 2008 ) Austin , United States | Bookmark | | Report spam→

OH, sign me up… I am been waiting to sign over my “moral rights” for a a while now… thank god for Corbis.

by Narayan Mahon | 13 Sep 2007 16:09 | Syracuse, United States | | Report spam→
Just a quick question, but who is the regulatory governmental body who is responsible to check over scams in the interest of the population? No, really, unregulated capitalism is not doing any good, and in our field this kind of competitions, which are scams more than competition, should not be allowed, or be deemed illegal, or the bodies organising them fined hard. The discourse is not limited to photography, but goes on in other disciplines as well…in the end they write Smocking Kills on cigarettes, so why not be forced to write in big black bold letters ‘Digitally Modified’ when printing a cosmetic advertisement on a magazine and so on. The Gov. and sorry to make it become political should be doing the interests of the population, sometimes also safeguarding our interests, as it is us empowering them through our vote, taxes, and capacity to work and produce.

I am thinking about submitting a picture of my middle finger to the competition, but i don’t think they will get it…at least they ll have an ‘Up your axx’ shot to stock up their axx…

No really, anybody have an idea of how to stop this trend? Who to write to?



by [former member] | 13 Sep 2007 17:09 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
I hope whoever wrote that contract chokes on thier fucking caviar.

by Edward Linsmier | 13 Sep 2007 18:09 | Coconut Creek, Fla., United States | | Report spam→
Certainly not a way to build a good relationship with the photographer community.

I wonder what the person who approved that was really thinking about when they made that decision. I don’t really think it was greed, because most smart people (maybe these were dumb ones) know that business relationships that are good for both parties in the long run will generate more money than short-term relationships that screw one party.

by [former member] | 13 Sep 2007 22:09 | Washington, DC, United States | | Report spam→
Buried INDEED!

by Jorge Luis Álvarez Pupo | 13 Sep 2007 22:09 | Sao Paulo, Brazil | | Report spam→
Those terms constitute theft IMHO and they should be penalized in some fashion for their theft of “Intellectual Property”. Someone ought to sue them based on theft of intellectual property, after all, it was the photographer’s idea to take the picture in the style it was taken. Hopefully, they will choke on their own greed.



by Kevin Yeoman | 14 Sep 2007 01:09 | Fort Worth, Texas, United States | | Report spam→
I’ve started a campaign at Pro-Imaging.org on this issue. In it you will find full details of correspondence with and replies from the Corbis Directors, the competition judges, details of a press release issued world wide to over 100 news outlets connected to the creative industries, and one astonishing email from Shawn Carkonen of Corbis.

In my view this is “legalised plagiarism”, it’s a vehicle for harvesting creative submissions, and through the T&C’s of this competition allow Corbis Corporation to use the submissions as they wish “in perpetuity and throughout the universe”.

Karla Zimmerman of Corbis said in her correspondence with me that they will only ever use the submissions to promote the competition and credit the winning entries. So I redrafted the relevant T&C’s so that Corbis would have appropriate usage rights and the person submitting the entry would retain full ownership rights.

In Karla’s replies regarding this proposal she said the legal department had said they could not change the T&C’s. Check out the full details at the above link, which contains contact details for the Corbis directors involved, the man who conceived this idea, Jim Haven of Creature, and all the judges.

Please use these contact details to write to them expressing your outrage at this blatant theft of artistic rights.

by Gordon C Harrison | 15 Sep 2007 07:09 (ed. Sep 15 2007) | Scotland, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Go they offer pancakes for breakfast?

by Imants | 15 Sep 2007 08:09 | Dusitrealimatta, Australia | | Report spam→
Corbis have hit the headlines because of the particularly extreme conditions they employ in this contest. In this contest, and in similar photographic contests the sponsors apply such rights as a cheap way of acquiring superb imagery for nothing, they have then acquired the right to use all the photos submitted for ever, and the creator has no further rights.

Through the continued use of conditions like this in contests, and the all powerful stock libraries continually devaluing the commercial value of photography, it is likely that in 5 years time there will be few opportunities to have a viable career as a professional photographer.

Such competitions are aimed at amateurs too. Amateurs often aspire to become professionals, but when they submit their best images to such competitions they are giving away potentially thousands of dollars/pounds that could be earned through the selling of usage rights to the photograph. The sponsors of these competitions know this and acquire such jewels for nothing.

This practice is an abuse of artists rights. It has been argued, in the UK, that these T&C’s are attempting to undermine the purpose of the law concerning artists rights, and if deemed so they are illegal, and could be challenged in the courts.

I would urge all photographers, be they professionals or amateurs, to shun competitions that acquire all ownership rights and title to the photographs submitted. These competitions simply harvest from time to time the latest crop of superb images for the sponsor.

I am at the start of a movement through my own organisation to combat this practice by using the law, and if need be by lobbying for the law to be clarified/amended by the European Union to make it illegal to mount such contests. The aim is also to link up with other photo organisations worldwide to combat this practice everywhere. If anyone out there with legal expertise would like to help or provide support please contact me privately.

Like anything that involves the law, this is going to be a long slog, but fortunately there is a very simple remedy in the meantime!

Just ignore all competitions that seek to take your artists rights away.

The sponsors are stealing your creativity, they are stealing your skill, and they are stealing your unique vision. These elements are part of your unique personality and are worth far more than any competition prize!

Feel free to quote from or copy this text to your friends and colleagues, post it on any forums you are a member of, take it to your camera club, send it to your associations or organisations, and stop this attack on our rights as artists!

by Gordon C Harrison | 19 Sep 2007 10:09 | Scotland, United Kingdom | | Report spam→

by julia s. ferdinand | 19 Sep 2007 10:09 | chiang mai, Thailand | | Report spam→
WOA WOA… Sign me up!!!

by mike berube | 19 Sep 2007 18:09 | Toronto, Canada | | Report spam→
Thanks Julia and Mike. You can help simply by posting this information about the rights of photographers being stolen by competition organiser to other forums you belong to, and associations, organisation, not forgetting your family and friends.

Apple are currently involved in such a competition, see here -

Apple Rights Grab

About a year ago even Nikon got embroiled in this sort of stuff, and due to a public outcry had to the change the rules, see here -

Nikon Rights Grab

The BBC are amongst the worst regular offenders, read here -

BBC Rights Grab

Do a search on rights grabbing and your browser will bulge with links.

The trouble is that the vast majority of entrants to a photographic competition do not read the small print which states that by submitting photographs you are handing over all rights to the sponsor/organiser/etc.

It is almost a certainty these days that by submitting any images to a media company (and others) they have T&C’s which claim all rights to these images. They will simply be in small print hidden away in the website somewhere. If you were to use some of your own images at a future date you could be sued for breaching their rights!

I accept that the Corbis competition is not a purely photographic contest, but it is still grabbing the rights to the written submissions as well as the images. If you go and look at the Corbis winning entries so far, they are all accompanied by images which now belong to Corbis, even the ideas behind the images as well as the written text.

They shouldn’t be able to claim rights to the text either, this is also subject to artists rights as they are creative outputs of the human mind.

The reason Corbis has caused such a storm in photographic circles is the extreme nature of their T&C’s which claim all rights “in perpetuity and throughout the universe” to reproduce even by techologies “not yet invented”.

So now you can’t exert your rights anywhere in the universe. Don’t bother inventing a new reproduction device, that’s not allowed, nor will a time machine get you out of this raid on your rights, the claim is “in perpetuity”!

As Corbis has said, these are now industry standard T&C’s for competitions.

If you want the full story about Corbis you can get it here -

My Rights Were Stolen

by Gordon C Harrison | 19 Sep 2007 18:09 | Scotland, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Have a look here and all of your questions willl be answered -


by Gordon C Harrison | 20 Sep 2007 03:09 | Scotland, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
While the whole thing is quite stunning the worse thing is that they (Corbis) add insult to injury by grabbing moral rights. Depending on the jurisdiction, this may not actually be do-able. While Corbis may take care, in the fine print, to assign a particular jurisdiction in case of dispute for the contest, the original jurisdiction where the image was created or registered may have other views under the Rome convention. As such, if an image is created or registered in Canada, for example, moral rights – under the Copyright Act – are never transferable, even if outlined in a contract… Anyway, the advice to steer completely clear could not be any more sound.

by Conrad Duroseau | 23 Sep 2007 16:09 | Montreal, Canada | | Report spam→
A new press release has been issued by Pro-Imaging about their plan to address this rights grabbing technique by using the law to prevent competition sponsors from using this devious, and arguably illegal technique of stealing rights from photographers.

See the details here at
Pro-Imaging Home Page News Flash,
StockPhotoTalk, and Why Fight

If anyone would like to help with this campaign after reading the above send an email to Pro-Imaging, and include a note of any skills you have that you would be willing to offer to the campaign, such as expertise in copyright law, commercial law with reference to photographers, copyrighting skills to present our case well, advertising experience to ensure we get our message to where it needs to go, and so on.

We will be delighted to hear from you, but please be aware this is not a quick fix, and our aims are much broader than stated at the above links.

This is the start of a movement to ensure that control of the photographic profession is wrested from the stock agencies and others, and be given back to photographers. You will be most welcome to help our campaign in the long battles that lie ahead.

Gordon C Harrison

by Gordon C Harrison | 23 Sep 2007 16:09 (ed. Sep 23 2007) | Scotland, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Hello Gordon and others you right is not stolen but you give it away so don’t give It !!

by [former member] | 23 Sep 2007 18:09 | The Hague, Netherlands | | Report spam→

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Narayan Mahon, Photographer Narayan Mahon
Madison, Wisconsin , United States
Edward Linsmier, Photojournalist Edward Linsmier
Saint Petersburg, Fl , United States ( TPA )
Jorge Luis Álvarez Pupo, Photographer (freelancer) Jorge Luis Álvarez Pupo
Photographer (freelancer)
São Paulo , Brazil ( GRU )
Kevin Yeoman, Teacher / Photographer Kevin Yeoman
Teacher / Photographer
Fort Worth, Texas , United States ( DFW )
Gordon C Harrison, Landscape Photographer Gordon C Harrison
Landscape Photographer
Scotland , United Kingdom
Imants, gecko hunter Imants
gecko hunter
" The Boneyard" , Australia
julia s. ferdinand, photographer julia s. ferdinand
Chiang Mai , Thailand ( CNX )
mike berube, photographer mike berube
Toronto , Canada ( YYZ )
Conrad Duroseau, Photojournalist Conrad Duroseau
Addis Ababa , Ethiopia


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