TDC Divali Competition is intellectual property rape

In today's newspapers, the Tourism Development Company and the Ministry of Tourism formally announced the terms and conditions of their competition for "amateurs" to win TT$10,000 for a Divali photograph.

Buried in the fine print (white on a red background) as the final term of engagement for the competition is rule F: "All images submitted are the property of TDC."

This means that the company, a Government organisation, is seizing ownership of EVERY image submitted to the competition, not just the winners.

This is reprehensible at the best of times, but doubly so in an arm of a Government which is a signatory to the Berne Convention on copyright. The emphasis on amateur creators suggests that the organisers of this competition are specifically targeting potential entrants who are likely to be less savvy about their rights as image creators.

Under the terms of copyright law, the copyright in any image is invested in its creator at the time of creation as a default. That can only be changed by a specific signing away of rights. It is unclear whether simply announcing an intention to seize copyright is enough to overturn the legal rights of intellectual property creators.

It's possible that this approach to intellectual property theft might be overturned in a court of law, but it shouldn't have to be tested legally, most notably because the defendant would have been using taxpayer's money to perpetrate this nightmare situation.

This cavalier approach to copyright is a travesty in 2009 and I urge photographers to not only boycott this competition, but to circulate this e-mail to anyone they know who takes photos so that they will be aware of what is being asked of them as a criteria of entry into this competiton.
blog comments powered by Disqus