The BBC has come under fire over the rules for entering its Countryfile photography competition after criticism that the terms represent a copyright grab.rnrn

The BBC has come under fire over the rules for entering its Countryfile photography competition after criticism that the terms represent a copyright grab.

The BBC?s legal and production departments promised to review the competition?s stated terms after an Amateur Photographer (AP) magazine reader claimed they were ?unfair?.

Hosted by the Countryfile TV programme ? and only open to photo enthusiasts – this year?s contest boasts a top prize of £1,000 in vouchers.

The best pictures will be featured in the 2008 Countryfile calendar which will be sold in aid of the charity Children in Need, as will prints of shortlisted entries.

Central to the issue was part 14 of the rules which stated: ?By entering the competition entrants grant the right for the BBC and another publisher to publish and exhibit the twelve shortlisted photographs on television, in print, on their respective websites or in any other media as they think fit, free of charge.?

The AP reader – who we have declined to name – told us: ?It seems there are still people who think that just because some people are only amateur photographers they can still get away with this behaviour.?

He added: ?I think most amateur photographers would be quite happy for their pictures to go towards a calendar, the sale proceeds of which will go towards Children in Need. But the rules go much further than this and give carte blanche for anyone to use them without payment to the taker.?

The terms and conditions, published on the BBC?s website, do not inform entrants who owns copyright in the images once they are submitted.

In response to our enquiries a spokeswoman for the BBC said that organisers will consider clarifying the rules to confirm who holds copyright in the entries.

But the spokeswoman insisted: ?The pictures will be used in relation to the competition only.?

The BBC has since amended the rules to state that the other publisher referred to in clause 14 includes ?BBC Worldwide and other publishers authorised by the BBC?.

AP is this morning attempting to clarify the implications of this amendment, which appeared on the BBC Countryfile website over the weekend.

The BBC spokeswoman previously told us that the images may be used by BBC Worldwide, but only in connection with the contest.

The spokeswoman told us that if the BBC planned to use the images elsewhere then it would contact the photographer beforehand.

BBC Worldwide publishes a range of magazines and plans to launch BBC Countryfile magazine later this year.

The 2007 competition is open to UK residents and the closing date is 7 September.

Judges include comedienne Jo Brand and wildlife photographer Chris Packham.

This year?s theme is ?All creatures great and small?.

For details visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/tvradio/programmes/countryfile/photocomp.shtml

For an update to this story click here:

BBC amends rules