"Oops": UK agency withdraws rights grab

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A few days ago, Small Aperture revealed that UK government agency the Office for National Statistics was running a photography competition encouraging minorities to be counted in the upcoming census – which included a particularly hair-raising case of rights-grabbing: they wanted to pinch entrants’ copyright and had the gall to say it was to protect it from misuse and abuse.

We decided to make it our mission to see if we could do anything about it. Guess what? They quickly went in and removed the offending clause from their competition Terms and Conditions.

“Remove, you say?” – Yes, they have quite literally removed clause 18. The terms and conditions jump from clause 17 to 19.

They told us: ‘the ONS did not intend to prohibit the rights of photographers in any way’. That’s much better, folks. Now repeat after me: First engage brain, then concoct the legal primal ooze that solidifies in a terms and conditions document.

It just goes to show that you don’t have to accept hogknobbery like this: Tweet, blog, complain, and make sure that people understand that rights grabs are a big deal to photographers.

So, after all that, If you are interested in entering the competition, (by coming up with two pictures and 500 words that show the changing population of Britain over the past 50 years), check out the details on the competition website – yes, including the new terms and conditions.