From an ASMP press release:

ASMP, joined by the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), American Photographic Artists (APA), the Picture Archive Council of America (PACA), Graphic Artists Guild (GAG) and North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA), is concerned about the terms and conditions of a contest announced by Vogue, a Condé Nast publication, entitled the New Exposure Photography Competition, Presented by Bottega Veneta. This contest, which is targeted at students and emerging photographers, appears to be an effort to secure thousands of free images for unlimited use in publications and in advertising. For this reason, we believe this contest exploits photographers and we strongly caution everyone to carefully review and understand all the terms and conditions along with the rights they are surrendering before entering any competition.

The core problems we see are that:

  • The sponsors have the perpetual, unlimited use of all contest entries.
  • There is neither compensation for contest participants nor is there credit given for their work.
  • Participants are required to sign a liability release and copyright assignment, and to indemnify Botega Veneta and Condé Nast against any lawsuits that may arise as a result of the usage of the photographs.
  • Every entrant is required to waive any right to sue in the event of misuse of the photographs entered.
  • The winner is being offered $10,000 for a shoot that would normally command several times that amount. The winner will be required to grant copyright ownership of all photographs from the shoot.


We believe that while competitions can serve a purpose within your business plan and potentially give your work significant visibility, there are a number of issues to consider before you enter. For more information about the terms, conditions and issues for Photography Competitions, go here.


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  1. What a bunch of crap, yet I imagine there are thousands of eager fashion shooters who, warnings aside, will jump on it. It’s terribly sad that Condé Nast is participating.

  2. And this comes as a surprise to anyone? Photogs need to get real already…the proliferation of BS photography contests just feeds on the artists’ insecurities and enriches the contest sponsors. The veil of credibility for most of these contests is pretty thin…yet, like Pavlov’s dog, we keep salivating each time they ding the little bell and run to throw good dough after bad.

  3. You can train kids to look both ways before crossing the street, you can train them to avoid contests that have egregous rights grabs. Send this link to as many “kids” as you can.You all know a few vulnerable types who could use this reminder. This promising, as in blowing smoke up your eager asses, photo contest should stand as the poster child of fool’s gold. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Another day, another rights grab. As with the majority of these cases, it’s probably more a case of legal boilerplate designed to protect the company than a premeditated plot to steal images. But nonetheless, there have been enough of these well-publicized cases for companies to realize that people don’t like the idea of signing over all rights to their images. Why do we have to keep doing this dance where companies propose one-sided use agreements, customer outrage and bad press forces the company to declare it all to be a wacky misunderstanding, then more fair Ts&Cs are offered? Just do it fairly the first time?

  5. Pathetic and especially disheartening when successful pro photographers choose to throw all photographers under the bus by participating (Craig McDean is one of the contest judges). Likewise Chase Jarvis is a co-founder of Creative live which recently held a contest “shoot what you love” with the same exploitative terms. How can the new generation have a clue when it’s mentors are too busy profiting from instead of safeguarding photographers’ rights?

    • Thanks for the head-up, Stephanie. The “Shoot What You Love” terms are EVEN WORSE! Work for hire?! WTF?

    • kudos for calling that out. I’m fed up with people allowing this to happen. No wonder prices are being cut, and more and more magazines and ad companies are under paying or not paying the hired staff. This “paying our dues” is BS. It disregards, and further uncut’s everyone’s worth.

      We need to educate people more.

  6. Very disheartening to witness this denigration of the photographer of late. this “contest”, major newspapers firing staff photographers and handing writers iPhones, last year’s contest by a major camera manufacturer adding these same terms,with success.
    Most upsetting, is the idea that fashion and beauty has become so blasé and lacking in creative forward thinking, the top-tier creators of fashion and beauty will rely upon images by novices that are going to be one-three years behind when published. Of course, Vogue Homme Internationale’s current cover chose pubic hair over clothing, so, it seems less is more.

  7. The only reason contests with such terms and conditions exist, is because there are so many legally illiterate photographers who willingly participate.

  8. Totally agree — despicable. And Pathetic.

    Where will it all end?

  9. This is outrageous! I have been misled by well-known personalities participating in the judges panel and the “Terms” not being displayed due to “server error”, but this is really bad. If they need images so bad that are ready to take colblooded advantage of photographers, then they seem to have totally lost connection with the real world. Where is this going? Your death, my profit?

  10. As shameful and infuriating as these ploys are, we cannot place all of the blame upon the companies that engage in them. Their goal is profitability and securing images for nothing is an easy way to cut costs, especially with so many folks eager to give away their copyrights in exchange for some fleeting fame that they can share on Facebook or Twitter.

    It’s the economy of fame.

    That said, we should also be shaming the clueless photogs participating as well as the utter lack of copyright education in photography programs today. Some may simply make the choice to hand over their images and their rights, but I think the vast majority of emerging photogs are utterly clueless about intellectual property.

    Hmm…maybe we should pitch a copyright law webcast to CreativeLive…

    • Great idea Corey! Although, I did make a comment about it on the Creative Live chat room during the free broadcast of the course and ended up booted from the chat room. Guess they didn’t like my raising the issue. I also followed up with an email stating my dismay of the contest rules to Creative Live and received a bunch of platitudes as replies.

  11. […] sure you read the rules (especially those addressing copyright, credit and usage) before you enter a photo contest. […]

  12. Earlier this year I was able to skip the leonine Conde Nast Contract in an unexpected way.

    Once I submitted the images, for an european Traveler mag, they announced me that they issue payment only after The images publish, and , as my pics were going to Conde Nast Traveler, the wait was 6 months long.
    When the 6 months passed and I was alerted about the publication, it was the time to sign and send the contract, with the warning that I was not gonna get paid unless I submitted the contract asap.

    The contract was awful as your imagination can go. All rights, for perpetuity, accross all existent and non-exsitent Universes, miserable additional fees for third party sales ( that they handle), and even the reject images were going to belong to them.

    I wrote back to them asking about why they took so long to send me the contract, and that my workflow involves registering all my images on the USA Library of Congress, (aka Copyright Office), so, all the images from the shooting were already registered on my behalf, and on top of that, it was impossible for me to grant them all the rights they were expecting from me, while getting paid standard editorial fees ( around $550 after european taxes of 38%).

    They had to accept their mistake ( terms must be discussed prior to shooting, and when I asked, they said nothing about any of this), so they had to deal with me as a sale of stock images, where they have limited rights ( no third party rights at all) for the payment they issued.

    My guess is, they will not make the same mistake again, and, unless shooters run their copyright registration immediately as soon as they shoot the projects, it will become easier for all publishers to push their rights-grabbing agenda.

    I guess also, they will not be calling me again….

    Now, why not locating the email addresses of the judges and the supermodels and explain to them how wrong the situation is? It is absolutely unnecessary for Conde Nast to own all images, to still make it worthwhile and interesting to pursue, all the more so, if the judges are made aware of the real situation here.

    We can not expect anything from organizations like ASMP , which will “express disappointment” and issue politically correct crap like that when dealing with these cases.

    Let’s push our own agenda. Who wants to join the effort?


  13. And check out the terms Associated Press uses for Bambuser Video account users!

    “Terms & Conditions

    All video contributions are vetted for accuracy and as the creator of this content you will be recognised. The video will carry a mandatory credit to ‘Bambuser/Your Name’.

    I hereby agree and acknowledge the Associated Press and its affiliates (i) shall have all consents necessary to use and distribute this content throughout the world in perpetuity by any and all means in all media, including on a commercial basis, (ii) shall not be responsible to compensate me for any content submitted.”

  14. […] so many contests these days, particularly the ones you find online, are simply an attempt to grab the rights to as many images as possible. Some refer to these as library-building contests. Spending the time […]

  15. Interestingly when I went to look at the terms for a non US resident on 23 June 2013, it lead to;
    “New Exposure Contest 2013

    Official rules for non-US residents will be posted in June. Please email to be notified when the full rules and eligibility requirements have been posted.”

    Nearly the end of June and no terms? I wonder how they could get around that one?

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