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Brookfield Zoo Entering 2011 Photo Contest Gives Zoo All RIghts to Images Brookfield, Illinois
19th of Oct, 2011 by User796482
Brookfield Zoo uses their goodwill to exploit their patrons and entrants into their photography contest. Disguised as a friendly and free photo contest, there is a sinister plot: to harvest the thousands of free images for advertising, marketing, the production of products, and much, much more. The bottom line is that any image that is entered into their contest becomes jointly owned by the zoo, even if it doesn't win. Rights to an image are everything and the zoo actually does get everything! I contacted the Illinois Attorney General, but, apparently, there is no Illinois law to stop this kind of egregious and outlandish property grab. The Brookfield Zoo photo contest 2011 Official Rules state: Entry photos must have been taken by the entrant and must be original, unpublished, suitable for publication (i.e., may not be obscene or indecent), and must not infringe the rights of any third party. By submitting an entry, entrants grant to the “Society” and its agents, successors, and assigns, and anyone authorized by them, a non-exclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free right and license the right to use, copy, reproduce, display, perform, distribute, modify, adapt, sell, publish and/or create derivative works based on or not use the entry in any way, in whole or in part in any and all media now known or later developed, including on the Society’s Web site, without geographic limitation or additional compensation, except if entrant is a resident of TN and where prohibited by law. Entrants consent to the “Society” doing or omitting to do any act that would otherwise infringe the entrant’s “moral rights” in their entries. Here's the link to the complete rules: These rules go far, far, far beyond any reasonable or fair usage. No reasonable photographer (without a gun held to his head) would allow "perpetual" usage or all client to "sell" the rights to their image. These rules give the zoo joint ownership of ALL images that are entered in the contest. Imagine, a year after entering the contest and not winning, you're driving down the highway and see your photo on a billboard for the Brookfield Zoo. Normally, you might make $2,000 for that usage. Then you visit the zoo. You drop by the gift shop and see your picture on a t-shirt, then a mug, and then a greeting card. You can't do a thing about it because you gave the rights away. And the odds are that you probably never knew. The Brookfield Zoo has set a trap for unsuspecting photographers, using the possibility of cash and a little fame to lure in countless people who love to take pictures. Most people will not read or understand the lengthy and complicated entry rules. They will simply enter their very best images only to find out later that they have given all their rights away. Now, we're not talking about one-time usage for a billboard or signs at the zoo, we're talking about rights that are so overreaching that no one in their right mind would ever allow. The Brookfield Zoo has breached the rules of common fairness and has abused of the public trust. Predatory photography contests are a growing scam that are increasingly being used by non-profit organizations and corporations to exploit the dreams of the average person in order to reap a large collection of custom images without having to pay the fair market price to photographers. Because most people own a digital camera and, let's face it, everyone takes at least one great picture in his life, there a lot of dreams to be exploited. Knowing this, corporations and organizations along with their crafty lawyers are stooping to new lows, preying upon people's dreams under the guise of an innocent photo contest done as a public service for their patrons. The Brookfield Zoo photo contest is the lure, a trap, for aspiring photographers, unaware that a voracious crocodile lurks just below the surface. The warm, fuzzy feelings that people have about the Brookfield Zoo are being used to swindle loyal patrons out of their rights. These unethical and exploitative contests also hurt the photography industry by allowing contest holders to attract a flood of virtually free images for perpetual use. It is my goal is to make this issue known to the public and to bring awareness to people and legislators so that a law can be crafted in Illinois to stop this kind of unfair predation of contestants. I've alerted my state representative, but I don't think it's at the top of her list. So, I'm asking for your help. As a professional photographer, I do not feel directly threatened, but I love photography and people should not be exploited in the name of photography.

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