Your Cute Kid – Everywhere

Wouldn’t it be nice if your kid was sooooo cute, he’d be on every bulletin board, feature internet campaigns and smile at you from the highway signs?

Wouldn’t it be so uncool if this happened without your consent?

This is going to be another you-must-read-the-TOS-before-you-enter-a-contest post, so if you are just here for the DIY stuff, feel free to skip it. If on the other hand, you’ve ever entered a contest without reading the TOS (Terms of Service), man, you’d be happy after you read this one.

I thought of entering the cute kid of the year contest. The grand prize is hot as well, 25,000 Dollars of collage fund. So I figured why not.   

We are reminded time and again to carefully read the TOS (Terms of Service) of every photograph competition we enter into. This is why I carefully read the TOS of The Cutest Kid contest before submitting any images of my kids (link to TOS here). (Now I just know they would have won. they are soooo cute).

There was one sentence at the TOS that gave me a bad buzz. “Parent Media Group, Inc. has the right to use your photos on our site
as well as for marketing purposes for an unlimited time frame
“. 

What does this sentence means? It means that Parent Media Group who are the owners of the cute kid site can use the picture that you have submitted in almost any way they see fit.

For example, if tomorrow the site goes on a campaign that puts cute kids on the sides of buses they can use any pictures that you have submitted. Further more, they can do this without asking you. The TOS also does not restrict the usage of the images solely to the cute kid’s site.

Parent Media Group  is also publishing two magazines: “New Parent” and “Toddler“. This means that you grant Parent Media Group to use your images on their magazines for marketing what ever they want.

I was not happy with the TOS and contacted The Cute Kid site. I think it would have been fair to use winning images for the sole purpose of promoting The Cutest Kid site alone and wrote about it to the site owners:

Dear “The Cute Kid” contest team,
I would like to enter my kid’s picture to the contest. I have read the TOS page and have a question. I see that on this page there is a sentence that says “Parent Media Group, Inc. has the right to use your photos on our site as well as for marketing purposes for an unlimited time frame“.
I would like to better understand this sentence, does it mean that once I have submitted a picture of my kid Parent Media Group are free to use this picture as they see fit?

It is a great contest, but I think it would be more fair if Parent Media Group would limit their use of my submitted picture solely to The Cute Kid contest site.

I am looking forward for your feedback,
Udi

A few days later I got a very laconic response:

We can use the photo as advertising for Parent Media Group within our newsletters, emails, etc.

This is in no way a good answer for anyone who submitted an image. It means that once the image is submitted Parent Media Group can use the image on their advertising material, in ways that are not really related to The Cute Kid contest, for example to promote their magazines. Maybe it would have been a good answer without the “etc” at the end.

I ended up with not submitting an image.

Short update:

Since the Cute Kid is also hosting kids pictures with out relations to the contest, I also asked (in a later mail) which photos are under the TOS:

Thanks
for the fast feedback.
I am not sure I am comfortable with those permissions, Kim. Are those limited
to winners only, contest entrants or all pictures submitted to the site?
- udi

To which I got the shot reply:

We do reserve that right for all photos but tend to use winners, finalists, honorable mentions and sneak peeks more often. 

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