Want better Terms and Conditions? Ask for them!

If you dislike something, don't moan: take action!

When the PR for British Airways' latest photography-oriented competition–Inspire Us–dropped into our inboxes a few weeks back, a quick peruse of the contest's terms and conditions very nearly ensured it took a one-way trip to the delete bin. Clause 18 was the most blatant attempt at a rights grab that we'd seen in a long while.

By entering the competition, you assign to BA the complete copyright and all other rights in or to any photograph or the content contained within any entry, which shall be for the full period of copyright.

Or we could have gone on yet another tirade denouncing the greedy sods whose attempts to compile a huge, free image library are damaging to the photography industry.

Instead, we took a different tack. We named-dropped BA in a tweet suggesting that we wouldn't enter its competition because its T&Cs were ridiculous. 

Now, we don't wish to suggest that it was our tweet and its subsequent retweets alone that convinced BA to amend the T&Cs for the competition; we know that the great people at Artists' Bill of Rights were on the case and that it was raised in a DPReview forum, too. However, something, somewhere, had an effect. BA amended its T&Cs sometime last week.

They now read:

You will retain the copyright in the photographs you submit to BA at the time of entering into this competition.
By entering the competition you agree that BA has the non-exclusive right to use your photograph (or any part of it) and all other content included in your entry for the purpose of judging the submission in accordance with the terms of this competition. Our use may include reproducing the image, sending it to our judges, uploading it to a database, displaying and/or printing it.

The winners also agree that BA can use their photos for marketing and publicity purposes from there on in; essentially, the prize acts as a fee. But that's a whole lot better than the original rights grab.

The moral of the story, however, is that if you want better Terms and Conditions, ask for them. If you don't ask, you'll never get.