Copyright and competitions … again (Mistake #107)

Periodically, I get frustrated at greedy and unnecessary clauses in contracts – particularly in relation to writing competitions. All copyright-grabbing terms and conditions get my goat, but every now and then, one comes along which gets my whole herd.

Step forward Vogue UK’s Talent Contest 2016, which is seeking out journalists under 25 “with an eye for a good story, who can tell it with originality, wit and structure”. £1,000 is the winner’s prize. 

But here comes the goat-aggravating kicker: “Copyright of entries belongs to the Condé Nast Publications Ltd.”

They are asking for two articles (and three ideas). 

It’s particularly frustrating that young people are those who stand to lose rights to their work here: those who may be less likely to even be aware of what they are agreeing to, and who may not understand what copyright is, given that it has been so undermined in recent years by publishers. With the carrot of a major cash sum and the chance to impress a publication / publisher of Vogue / Condé Nast’s standing to tempt them, any consideration for that copyright-claiming cause may well be minimal. And with that prize on offer, you can imagine only the very best work being submitted – which they will instantly lose their rights to.

I tweeted my dismay yesterday evening, and I’m delighted that it was picked up by the team at the Artists’ Bill of Rights campaign, who have since flagged the competition on their site’s ‘Rights Off’ section – where they record other similarly unfair competitions, mainly photography. Please take a look at the work they do, and do support them and share their posts if you can – they are on both Twitter and Facebook – in order to spread awareness. 

And if you feel strongly, also consider posting a reply on the Vogue site – they are accepting Facebook comments. 

Useful Links / Further Info

FREE Amazon Kindle Ebook: Copyright: Its History and Its Law

Artists’ Bill of Rights ‘Rights On’ List – (mainly) photography competitions which respect creators’ rights.

This blog’s Writing Competitions (Non-fiction) page – all of which should be OK, but please double check T&Cs. 

See also our article Copyright and Publishing Law, and our previous posts on Copyright

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