Apple will pay photographer license fees for “Shot on iPhone” contest winners

Jan 28, 2019

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Apple will pay photographer license fees for “Shot on iPhone” contest winners

Jan 28, 2019

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Join the Discussion

Share on:

Contests requiring people to submit photos to enter are often seen as something of a rights-grab. You enter and give whoever’s running the competition a universal, worldwide, irrevocable license to do whatever they want with your photos. Most people don’t realise this, as it’s buried deep in the terms of entry, but more people are starting to realise.

Apple launched a new Shot on iPhone Challenge last week, and the “winners” would see their images featured on billboards, Apple retail stores, and online. A nice little ego-stroke, but no mention of compensation. No usage license fees to be paid. After being called out by quite a few people on Twitter, Apple have changed the rules to state that winners will receive a license fee.

The original rules definitely looked like the typical rights-grabby terms of most photo competitions these days. The clause in the original rules looked like this…

So, even just by entering, you were granting a royalty-free, irrevocable license to use, reproduce, publish, display, your images. Not just by winning, entering. And if you did win, that licence became exclusive to Apple, meaning you can’t sell it to other companies who may wish to use it. Without any compensation to you, the photographer.

As usually happens when a high profile company with very deep pockets comes along and tries something like this, Twitter took notice.

https://twitter.com/turnislefthome/status/1088077131576426496

Even The Strobist himself, David Hobby took notice…

Apple was quick to respond, however, with updated rules. Former White House Photographer and one of the competition’s judges, Pete Souza, tweeted that the rules had been updated to provide compensation for winning photographers.

https://twitter.com/PeteSouza/status/1088597555347369984

On the Apple website, the competition page now reads…

Apple believes strongly that artists should be compensated for their work. Photographers who shoot the final 10 winning photos will receive a licensing fee for use of such photos on billboards and other Apple marketing channels.

The clause quoted above now reads…

So, by submitting, you’re still providing them with a royalty-free, irrevocable license to use it. But if you’re one of their 10 winners, you’ll get paid for that usage. If you’re not one of the ten, but Apple still likes the photo and wants to use it at some point, then you may be out of luck when it comes to payment. Or, maybe not (you’ll see when you get further down this post).

Rule number 6, which specifically dealt with the topic of prizes for the 10 winners has also been updated.

The Twitterverse is claiming this as a victory for photographers and other creatives.

https://twitter.com/turnislefthome/status/1088663808246235136

https://twitter.com/aexmo/status/1088721230277083137

Although some have said that Apple has paid for usage all along, even if it hasn’t been previously specified.

So, it may not really be any real victory at all, at least not in the financial context of this campaign. If Apple has been paying photographers for images used in their “Shot on iPhone” campaigns all along, then nothing really has changed for those whose work Apple uses.

But it is still something of a victory for creative industries as a whole. Because even if nothing has changed in terms of how Apple operates, such a high profile company controversy and the clarification of the rules sends a big message to other companies who plan to run competitions of their own, as well as the photographers who may enter them.

It tells the photographers that it’s normal for them to be paid for their images, even if it’s “just a hobby”. And it tells other companies that they can’t get away with using competitions as a rights-grab to get around paying licensing fees – especially when those licensing fees are often nothing compared to the advertising fees they’ll be paying to push the image out to promote their products.

Would you enter a competition that didn’t provide any kind of real prize except an ego-stroke?

[via AppleInsider]

Filed Under:

Tagged With:

Find this interesting? Share it with your friends!

John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Join the Discussion

DIYP Comment Policy
Be nice, be on-topic, no personal information or flames.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

13 responses to “Apple will pay photographer license fees for “Shot on iPhone” contest winners”

  1. Del Robertson Somerville Avatar
    Del Robertson Somerville

    If you don’t like the terms and conditions then don’t enter the competition.

    1. Kaouthia Avatar
      Kaouthia

      The general public often tend not to even understand the terms and conditions. That’s why they call it “taking advantage”. :)

  2. Charlotte Fiorito Avatar
    Charlotte Fiorito

    Photo contests are the oldest trick in the book for companies to to acquire full rights to images for advertising their products for nothing, preying on the vanity of amateur photogs. Don’t leave money on the table. Check out what Getty charges for stock photography.

  3. Purple Lens Avatar
    Purple Lens

    To add, your local news station also should pay citizen reporters for sharing breaking news like they do for news stringers. I’m sure they charge a nice fee to sponsors to advertise during their local news broadcasts. Joe Public should be paid for being at the right time for the right shot of that news story.

    1. Arthur_P_Dent Avatar
      Arthur_P_Dent

      Please don’t use the term “citizen reporter.” It implies that professional journalists are not truly citizens. A better term ins “amateur reporter.”

  4. Alexandre Ayoubi Avatar
    Alexandre Ayoubi

    Submit pictures of your dog’s poo or something super sickening

  5. Gina Papadakis Avatar
    Gina Papadakis

    Nope, nor any voting contests… super lame.

  6. Joe De Diego Avatar
    Joe De Diego

    What BS! Apple doesn’t pay sh** in royalties through itunes.

  7. Gayle Bevan Avatar
    Gayle Bevan

    Like Apple need the money.

  8. Scott Stevenson Avatar
    Scott Stevenson

    People often ask how the wealthy get rich… Easy… They get everyone to pay for or give them everything…

  9. Dan Taber Avatar
    Dan Taber

    A typical commercial use of a photograph fee, where the corporation gains exclusive rights to the photograph is in the $10,000 (or more) range to purchase the intellectual rights. I don’t see Apple coming anywhere close to that.

  10. John Flury Avatar
    John Flury

    wait… there are competitions, where you actually win something?? :D

  11. Nadine Spires Avatar
    Nadine Spires

    Seen enough of those where many fall for it because they think they will actually win something but in the small writing they lose the rights to their photos while the companies win.