Copyright! Where the bloody hell are ya?

Tourism Australia in photo copyright rights grab

In lock-step conformity with all the other intellectual property bandits around the world, Tourism Australia makes the by now, traditional rights grab in conjunction with their new “There’s Nothing Like Australia” photography competition.

(From the terms and conditions of entry)

11. By entering the Promotion, Eligible Entrants absolutely and unconditionally assign (and agree to use their best endeavours to procure any relevant third parties to absolutely and unconditionally assign) to the Promoter all right, title and interest in all intellectual property rights in their entry, including ownership of intellectual property rights in any photograph that forms part of an entry.

12. By entering the Promotion, Eligible Entrants acknowledge that their entry may be used by the Promoter, the Promoter’s related entities, agencies engaged by the Promoter, or any other third party nominated by the Promoter, for the Promoter’s current and future promotional and marketing purposes without further reference or compensation to them.  Eligible Entrants unconditionally and irrevocably:

(a) consent to any act or omission that would otherwise infringe any of their moral rights in their entry (as defined in Part IX of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth)) and present and future rights of a similar nature conferred by statute anywhere in the world whether occurring before or after this consent is given (Moral Rights); and
(b) waive all Moral Rights in their entry that arise outside Australia.

Why someone doesn’t warn them about the amount of ill-will and bad PR this will generate in the photographic community, before the terms and conditions are published, astonishes me. In order for them to have unlimited use of a picture, there is absolutely no need for them to grab the copyright. Ownership and use of a picture can be sliced and diced in any number of ways without them wresting ownership from the author. Wake up Tourism Australia! Sense of fairplay? Where the bloody hell are ya?

UPDATE: If you wish to express your opinion of the Terms and Conditions of this competition you can do so by going to:


Filed under Australian, Digital photography, News, Opinion, Photographers' rights, Photography, travel

17 responses to “Copyright! Where the bloody hell are ya?

  1. I can’t recall to how many organisations I have written, pointing out that their grab for copyright is unethical, to say the least, but they don’t seem to care and keep using those conditions.

    I assume most professional photographer will not participate because of it.


    • Me too, Roel…let’s hope that reasonably aware amateurs refuse to participate too. You have to wonder what mindset generates such a graspingly mean attitude. Lawyers? One wouldn’t want to cast aspersions on that noble profession would one? Whatever the situation Tourism Australia is likely to generate a lot of bad publicity for itself.

      • Some brilliant wags have served Tourism Australia a dose of their own medicine as regards intellectual property, with some great parodies of the campaign. If you feel in need of a laugh, go here:

  2. I see that Crikey Magazine have now picked up on this story with some a good strong comment from Gavin Blue, the president of the Australian Commercial and Magazine Photographers association:

  3. Steve Lovegrove

    Good on you Rob. This thing really is gaining momentum. I have spent most of my day posting protest comments from the ACMP on any and all forums I can get to, as well as on my Facebook and TA’s Facebook, Ta’s Twitter, tweeting about it like mad, etc, etc

  4. As I pointed out on Gavin Blue’s blog, the Tourism Australia campaign is a photography competition, so there will be two camps entrants fall into. One being the professional and amateur photographers who take their craft seriously and those that are compers/occasional photographers. The latter are less inclined to care what happens after they submit their entry, they just want to be in with a chance to win a prize.

    • That still doesn’t justify the theft of their pictures. Why should amateurs who enter a competition be treated as though their intellectual property is any different to that of any other artist?

      • Steve Lovegrove

        In an email response to me, one of Tourism Australia’s justification was:”well in a survey we conducted, 80% of Australian said they wanted to help promote Australia”. Sure I might have said the same thing, but did they ask “who wants to promote Australia by giving up the rights in the images and leaving themselves legally liable for any litigation that might arise from the use of those pictures by us or any third party we give them to?” Totally different question.

        Here’s what the Australian Copyright Council had to say in comment to the Crikey story:
        “Australian Copyright Council
        Posted Friday, 16 April 2010 at 11:42 am | Permalink

        Following on from Robwalls question, “Copyright! Where the bloody hell are ya,” the Australian Copyright Council (which represents 23 of Australia’s creative industry peak bodies) agrees that Tourism Australia is out of line.

        As Gavin Blue rightly points out, the Terms and Conditions used in this competition are extreme – particularly disturbing given that Tourism Australia is a Government body.

        At the very least, the terms should be limited to a licensing arrangement, not a full assignment of copyright and waiver of moral rights for every single entrant.

        What these terms could mean, in effect, is that an entrant will have to ask Tourism Australia’s permission to make their grandmother a copy of their holiday happy snaps, or put one on their Facebook page.”

      • Replies like that leave me at a loss for words, Steve. How can Tourism Tasmania think that this is a justification for such barefaced exploitation?

      • Late night hey Rob? Tourism Tasmania? 🙂

        Figure you are a fellow Tasmanian with that Freudian slip.

      • That’s right. A Freudian slip indeed…”tired and emotional” when I wrote that…after a delightful afternoon of eating and drinking in the sunshine of a beautiful autumn day, in my garden with Lindsay Tuffin (editor of Tasmanian Times) and some other journalist colleagues:-).

        It’s not a secret though. This post :
        and the link to Tasmanian Times on my home page should have given me away.

      • Steve Lovegrove

        Well, not such a big slip, because all the state and territory tourism bodies will also have access to any images entered, so in my view, by default, they are all as guilty as TA

      • Thanks for leaping to my defence Steve…as you’d remember, Tourism Tasmania were never exactly known for their generous treatment when it came to a regard for photographer’s rights. Australian tourism bodies around the country seem to have a similar reputation amongst our colleagues…and that and a couple of ales or three with pizza from my woodfired oven, on a superb autumn afternoon is the excuse I’ll offer for my lapse of journalistic standards:-)

        “Competitions” comment though reminded me of Relationships Australia’s (funny how these bandits all think a rights grab is OK if they wrap themselves in the flag by putting “Australia” at the arse end of their name) similar attempt to co-opt the copyright in their competition entry photos last year. Their winner/victim was a 10 year autistic child!

      • They shouldn’t be. I’m just saying that a small number of people who enter all types of competitions as a ‘professional hobby’ will sometimes compromise themselves in the hunt for the prize.

  5. Mike

    Our wonderful Nanny State probably has a law against suggesting this (thanks Mark Webber, for saying what many people think), but wouldn’t the best response be if every photographer aggrieved by TA’s unreasonable terms register their protest vote by stuffing the competition entry box with photoshopped pictures emblazoned with “Copyright theft is amoral” across it?

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