Tourism Australia backs down on rights grab

Due to pressure applied from all directions, it looks like Tourism Australia have had second thoughts about their photo competition copyright grab. A half hour ago this email arrived in my inbox.

G’Day Rob

We wanted to let you know that we’ve made a couple of changes to the terms and conditions of this competition. But don’t worry! We’ve actually made them better. A few other entrants have asked whether or not the terms and conditions were a bit conservative and would prevent you from being able to share, sell or reproduce your photos that you had uploaded to our site.

We thought that was a fair question, so we had another look at the terms and conditions and we’ve made a couple of changes. Those changes mean that when you entered this competition, and agreed to the terms and conditions, you have now only granted us a license to use your photo and words to promote Australia as a holiday destination both here and overseas. But you still retain your own rights over your image and words.

Thanks so much for getting involved in this great campaign to promote our country. We really appreciate it.

Kind regards

The Tourism Australia Team

However, as Gavin Blue, president of the ACMP points out, Tourism Australia could have done more in terms of regaining ground lost through ill-will, in changing the terms and conditions. As he rightly points out, “these agressive conditions remain”.

1. By entering the Promotion, Eligible Entrants grant Tourism Australia a non-exclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, transferrable licence to use, reproduce, publish, modify, adapt, distribute, store, run, display, creative derivative works from, cause to be seen or heard and communicate to the public the entry (or including the photograph and text that forms part of the entry) in all media.

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.

As Blue states at the end of his comment on

“C’mon Tourism Australia, turn this into a big win for the campaign and really listen.”



Filed under Australian, documentary photography, Photographers' rights, Photography, travel

5 responses to “Tourism Australia backs down on rights grab

  1. Steve Lovegrove

    That’s great Rob. A small win, it doesnt go far enough of course but some concession towards fair and reasonable is certainly better than nothing.

    I entered a pic in the comp yesterday, it was a photo of my toilet with the caption:”photographers rights go down the toilet!”. For some strange reason they rejected it! 🙂

    • Steve, I think it demonstrates that social networking and citizen journalism can create change. I think other organisations will think more carefully about imposing rights-grab clauses in the future. Mind you, I like your humourous approach. It was probably your photo that swung the balance:-) You should take a look at Guido Benschop’s Toilet Landscape blog.

      • Steve Lovegrove

        It is progress and should be seen in a positive light as a “win”, but, and it’s a big “but” the T&C’s are still draconian, unfair and the “competition” should still be boycotted and pressure and protest continued to be brought to bear on TA.

        TA have only conceded copyright back to the photographer, which is where it should always have been. They still retain a licence for all images entered, not just winners, or finalists, or even some arbitrary cut off like a top 100 or something tokenistic, but fairer.

        They retain a licence to use and redistribute to anyone(ANYONE) they see fit, anywhere in the world, forever. By the time the comp closes that will be tens of thousands of images. Probably less than a few percent of those will be “good” enough to actually be used in the “Australia, there’s nothing like it” campaign, other than on the comp website.

        The rest however will be good enough for the various state and regional tourism bodies around Australia, good enough for the Bed and Breakfast in the Yarra Valley, or the corporate giant like Federal Hotels to use in their ad campaigns and marketing, good enough for local and international magazines and media to use for free.

        There’s the public relations nightmare that this comp has created even before the comp launched, from which TA and this campaign will no recover, and that’s our tax dollars being spent on this $100 odd million campaign

        And lastly they leave all the legal responsibility for any action arising from the use of an image with the photographer. already I have seen an image of Uluru, which I can guarantee the photographer doesnt have a commercial permit to use, which puts TA at odds with the National Parks and Wildlife department, but hey it’s not their problem, it’s the photographers.

        A small win yes, but the comp still sucks!

      • You are right Steve…

  2. It is important that we keep pointing this out to the organisations who make copyright demands to entries of competitions. It is not fair, not right and unethical.


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