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Preserve Your Rights

I first got into photography a long time ago… in junior high school, to be exact. I was the photographer for our junior high school yearbook. Seriously. :) I used a Graflex 35mm camera with black and white film. It was fun. The camera broke not too long after (I still have it, I’m sure it’s worth a fortune on eBay :lol: ) so it wasn’t until the late 1990’s that I started up again.

Once I did get back into the swing of things I started looking for ways to make money or gain recognition as a photographer. One day I was reading the Parade section of our Sunday newspaper and saw a photo contest. They paid $500 or something like that for first place, and $100 for each of the runner-up selections. That looked like a possible way to make a bit of money.

Then I read the fine print and realized that the $500 prize was a drop in the bucket compared to what the contest folks could get for my photograph. By entering the contest I was allowing them to do whatever they wanted with my photograph… essentially I was transferring ownership of the picture to the contest company. It wasn’t worth $500 then, and it isn’t now either.

I flashed back to this memory when I read this blog post about how various web sites are using the same technique (or something similar) today. Same scam, new audience.

Just be careful where you post your images. Read the fine print. Make sure you retain the rights you want to retain, because once they’re gone there probably isn’t a way to get them back.

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