Paying money to enter competitions for little more than exposure is standard practice in the world of photography these days, but a competition hosted by Photo London went one step further: it required you to sign over your intellectual property to Nikon and a major high street fashion brand.
The competition — since taken offline — was hosted by Photo London, an annual festival with some big sponsors on board. High street clothing giant H&M was a partner for the competition for which the theme was “Autumnal light.” As the prize, Nikon was offering a one-to-one session at the Nikon School Online along with a brand new Z 50 camera.
Those entering had to set up an account on the H&M website before clicking through to a Google Docs form that asked you to enter details, upload a photo, and acknowledge some terms and conditions.
By submitting a photo, entrants were agreeing to hand over all intellectual property rights to PhotoLondon, H&M, and Nikon. “All competition entries and any accompanying material submitted to The Competition will become the property of H&M, Photo London, and Nikon on receipt and will not be returned,” the legally-binding document explained.
“By submitting your competition entry and any accompanying material you agree to assign H&M, Photo London and Nikon all your intellectual property rights with full title guarantee,” it continues. In effect, Nikon and H&M would then have the right to use your photograph however they wished without paying you a penny or giving you any say over its use. You would no longer be the sole owner of your own photograph.
Photo London was reached for comment but has not responded to questions.