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Red Bull Rips Off photographers.

Just posted on adlist a little rant. See on other mailing-lists photographers are in deep discussion on a similar topic to our 'working for crumbs' and 'paying for a casting session' threads. This thread is about a Red Bull photo competition. Since one is not allowed to quote or repost from that list, I'll pull the story in short strokes.'

Red Bull sent out invitation letters scouting sports photographers. After submitting your portfolio to Red Bull, you could be one of the four lucky winners to go an all expenses paid shoot out in Cornwall (Gah, what a crap location! Try the alps or somethin'!).

Red Bull would supply a bunch of famous athletes to be shot. (sounding nasty yet? Tehehehe).

Thats not the problem - reading the rules one discovers that: "All copyrights from photographs shot within the photo-challenge stay with Red Bull, with no time, location and causal restriction. Originals stay at the Red Bull Photofiles. " They finish off by offering.....

"Photographer can use in accordance and with knowledge of Red Bull these pictures for their own purposes."

WhooHoo! Hallelujah!

So Red Bull sends four guys and gals out to take nice pictures of athletes of their choice - and then they take the originals, and copyright for each and every shot? Use 'em any way they want however often they please? For the cost of film, a three day hotel, and a few train-tickets?

Run that by me again?

That kicked off a massive thread about photographers copyrights to images - and a mention of Birmingham Marketing Co with the BPost whom apparently have an equally sad setup on their rules - and even comparisons to the casting couch and the popular myth of having to give sexual favors in order to get a break. Of course, it wasn't quite worded like that.

The BJP endorses this competition - making matters worse. Naturally there is a mention of greedy corporate suits...

Since the discussion was suddenly about the BJP's endorsement, a person on the list mailed them offlist - and posted the reply he got - and someone from the BJP tried to gain access to the list (EPUK) in order to join in/defend their point of view. Unfortunately for him, it is a restricted list. BJP point out that EPUK while being a private mailing-list still counts for 'publishing' under British law, and all that implies in case there are inaccurate reports that are damaging to the BJP.

Whoha! Good threat just to get on to a mailing-list.

And that brought on a whole new arena of legal areas to play in for the happy photographers on the list. Also you can peek at stuff the most active EPUK-posters posted at the BJP site: https://www.bjphoto.co.uk/cgi/bbs2/webbbs_config.pl?#2824

What is this something for nuthin' trend I smell? And why on earth aren't freelance creatives as organized as these guys? (That prompted me to open adprod - a more serious 'adlist'.)

The BJP have responded with this in their free (& encouraged to be passed on so I won't get in trouble for this..*fingers crossed*) newsletter:

Please forward PPN to a friend and ask them to subscribe: https://www.bjphoto.co.uk/sign-in.shtml

-------------------- COMMENT - Extreme sports ? take 'em or leave 'em -----------------------------------------
There appears to a storm in a tea-cup brewing over the Red Bull in Focus competition, which was previewed last week and features in this week's edition of BJP. Objections have been aired elsewhere complaining about BJP's support for something that appears to be a thinly disguised 'rights grab'.

First the details. Red Bull is search for photographers to cover extreme sports on a freelance basis for the company. After a portfolio sift, those who appear to have potential will be invited to a three-day photographic event laid on entirely at Red Bull's expense. All the pictures taken as part of that selection process will become Red Bull's property, as will the copyright in all pictures taken during subsequent commissions. The photographers, however, can use the images themselves and, subject to the company's agreement, can also supply the images to other individuals/companies. The only condition is that 'any use of these photographs must not interfere with Red Bull's interests'.

Note that nobody is being forced to work under these conditions, and nor is this a change to an existing contract.

People who would like to apply for the work are free to do so, and will then be in with a chance of making their name in the field of extreme sports photography. (It is a condition of using Red Bull's picture library ? which is free of charge, by the way ? that the photographer is credited in the copyright notice.) So what is there to complain about? The chance of somebody getting some exciting work? The fact that the client insists on the photographer being credited? The fact that the photographer can also make use of the images? The fact that the whole process in entirely voluntary? The fact that the contract has been set out in full and agreed before any work is done? The inescapable conclusion is that those who seek to criticize are acting not out of genuine concern but out of either jealousy or ignorance.


And that's the comment that set EPUK off even more.

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Anonymous Adgrunt's picture
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deeped's picture

Strange way to upheld the copyright-rules I say. (it's early and I feel like Yoda I am)

Dabitch's picture

You're making less sense than him. ;) Try "copyright laws", not "rules", and tell me, who is it in this article (red bull or the photographers who refuse to play that way) that are "upholding them" in a strange way?