Photo Contest Reply: Tyson Fick replied to my letter with understanding and a goodly amount of reasonableness, all things considered. Good for him:
Hi Mr. Dixon,
Thank you for your email... I’m... sorry to hear of your disappointment with the contest rules. I want to assure you that I am not trying to scam anyone or be deceitful. Nor is it my intention to disallow someone from selling marketable photos that might be entered in the contest. We are no strangers to paying for photography services and every year we spend a lot of money on photography and photo usage rights with a number of professional photographers. We will continue to spend a lot of money on photography and video going forward with or without a photo contest. But, you rightly pointed out that this is more of an amateur photo contest and we don’t expect many if any professional photographers will enter. And it is true that we are looking for a way of expanding the library of usable images while engaging with people around Alaska. We have run contests like this in the past and this language was suggested by our copyright attorney.
I’ve been directed by my board to get unlimited usage rights on newly purchased photos since the patchwork of usage agreements and promotion partners had gotten pretty unmanageable. Maybe we can do a better job on the contest rules language so that ASMI can use and share the photos without further permission or expense while the photographer retains copyright and the ability to sell images elsewhere and would be happy for a suggestion while we take look at amending the language.
I’m happy to talk about it any time. If you want to call, my number is below.
Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute
and my reply in turn:
I appreciate your prompt and thoughtful reply. I'm glad you understand the issue, and I appreciate that you continue as an organization to purchase photos. I think your suggestion of improving the contest language so photographers don't give up all their rights to the images is the right direction to head. Crediting the usage back to the photographer is always a good policy as well. At least that way something is given back to those who are providing you with images that would encourage their interest in the craft (who doesn't like to see their name in print?), and doesn't divest them of ownership of their own images. That way the entrant can be part of the solution instead of a victim. It's a more palatable agreement, at least in my mind. I hope your lawyers agree.
Hopefully ASMI will change its language on the rules (and its policies) to be more favorable to photographers in the future. At least we got them thinking about it...