The BBC has amended the rules of its Countryfile photo competition to acknowledge that entrants retain copyright in photographs submitted, following intervention by Amateur Photographer (AP) magazine.
The clarification ? which has appeared on the BBC Countryfile website this afternoon – came after criticism that the contest?s terms and conditions constitute a copyright grab.
The BBC’s legal and production departments were called in to review the stated terms after AP reader Norman Langridge 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.
As they stood, the terms and conditions did not inform entrants who owns copyright in the images once they have been submitted.
The original terms 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.’
It was not clear whether the terms gave the BBC the right to use the images for purposes other than for the competition.
In response to the concerns expressed, the BBC issued a statement to AP this afternoon saying: ?The BBC is happy to clarify that entrants? will retain copyright in the works they submit to the BBC.?
The statement added: ?This has always been the case since, under copyright law, copyright remains with the creator of the work unless it is transferred in writing. The BBC rules do not include any transfer of copyright.?
It continued: ?Although our competition rules don?t limit how the BBC (or others authorised by us) may use the photographs, photographs that are entered into the competition have only ever been used in connection with the publication of this calendar and the competition itself.?
But, says the BBC, ?our rules do permit us to use the photographs for other purposes, just in case we have new ideas for developing and promoting the competition?.
The BBC confirmed that some of the images may be used, for example, in the BBC’s Countryfile magazine (a BBC Worldwide publication to be launched later this year) but only in connection with the competition and calendar.
However, the BBC?s amended rules also now state: ?While we make every effort to credit photographers, including in printed reproductions of their work, we cannot guarantee that every broadcast use of the photographs will include the photographers? names.?
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
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