The Artists Bill of Rights - The debate continues...

Some colleagues in the Royal Photographic Society feel that the Artists Bill of Rights is a bad idea because they feel the bill is not necessarily a good or democratic thing.  Others feel that photography and art are open to abuse and that's just the way it is.

For me it brought about a sense of awareness that the issues weren't being examined further than the immediate moment.  Are photographers exploited by competition organisers?  Almost certainly, though some do use very good terms and conditions of entry that don't abuse your copyright. 

If you are serious about selling your shots, you should never display them anywhere higher than 500 pixels in size and you must always have a copyright tag on the image somewhere - whether it appears as text or a watermark.

Don't be tempted to enter a competition for your image if the terms and conditions state anything that resembles the following:

"Entrants will retain copyright for their photos. However, by submitting a photo to the competition entrants are granting a worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual licence for their entries to be edited, published, reproduced and used by Fight for Sight and Park Plaza London hotels for any purpose, free of charge."

In the world of photography you can charge companies amounts of money to use your images - please see for an example.  This is why photographers use copyright tags.  You are letting the viewer know that your work is protected by law and that they cannot use your work without your express permission, which usually requires payment.  Commercial organisations that may want your image know that they will have to pay you and they may decide to buy the image off of you to ensure other companies can't use the same image for their marketting campaigns etc.

Please remember that only difference between a professional and an amateur, in my opinion, is that one earns an income from their photography.  Amateur does not necessarily mean a lower standard photographer.  So if you know you have good shots that could be sold - do not enter competitions that abuse your rights and seek to gain your images for free.  Not only are you losing some potential income yourself, you are having a negative effect on the profession of photography.

If you'd like to follow the debate on the Royal Photographic Society's website - go to:

All the best


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