— Dane Creek

Dwell/Blurb’s Photo Competition Fine Print

Well, it’s not quite a scam, but wow. I recently came across the Dwell/Blurb contest called World Views. They invite submissions through May 15th that show different takes on the modern world. An “esteemed panel of judges” will select the winners.

If you win, what do you get? Not much. A $250 gift certificate to Blurb, a year’s subscription to Dwell (worth $9.37 given current subscription prices at online magazine outlets), tickets to 2011 Dwell on Design (worth around $45), and “winning recognition and photo credit” in the book (which presumably, if you win, you’ll order copies of using your gift certificate).

Yeah, so the prize is kinda lame. But why am I so bothered by the competition? It’s because of the fine print. If you read the Rules & Regulations there’s the following gem:

8. Sponsors’ Ownership of Submissions: Each Submission becomes the exclusive property of Sponsors, and the contents, images, concepts and ideas embodied therein may be used by Sponsors for commercial, marketing and other promotional purposes. By entering a Submission, each entrant hereby irrevocably assigns to Sponsors all right, title and interest in and to the Submission and its contents, and agrees that Sponsors may use, reproduce, display, and distribute such Submission and its contents, without any compensation to or acknowledgment of the entrant (other than the prize, as set forth in these Official Rules). By entering a Submission, each entrant consents to the potential use of their entry in a photograph book to be co-produced and sold by Sponsors. Each entrant agrees that they will not receive any compensation even if Sponsors profit from the sales of the photography book.

In a nutshell: if you enter, they own your image. Period. They can do anything they want with it, forever. It’s not even that you’re giving them a non-exclusive license, you’re saying the image becomes their exclusive property.