S1 – E9 – Competition Corruption Part I

EPS 009: Competition Corruption Part I

Show Notes


There is nothing like a healthy dose of competition — unless that competition is trying to steal your content for nothing!! Whaaaat!!??


In this episode, Mez and Toby look at the sometimes hazardous world of photography competitions, discussing the pros and cons for photographers who are thinking of entering their work. Much skullduggery is unearthed


First we look at some dodgy ‘competitions’ that are used for content and data mining – what are you REALLY entering and winning.


An example of competitions set up for data mining aka free photo usage are two comps set up by Destination Wollonong aka Wollongong Tourism a local government body…


Destination Wollongong – Photo Taker Competition


The original Competition Page has been taken off the Destination Wollongong but this link is to their Facebook post about the competition is HERE.

In their terms and conditions they state:


‘By entering the competition, entrants grant the Promoter a non-exclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, fee and royalty free license to use, modify and reproduce credited images across the Promoters marketing channels.’


This is a clear and outright data mine and photo grab, and locals saw throught it pretty quick.

The Illawarra Mercury responded to the backlash from the public with an article written by Desiree Savage. The article has a comment from Destination Wollongong General manager Mark Sleigh…


“The reasoning behind the whole campaign was to get a broader range of photos than just engaging one photographer,” he said.

“This was more about … trying to put a community lens on all the fantastic things on what to do in Wollongong.

“In terms of the actual prize, when you look at it on a per photo basis it’s not a lot different to what we would actually pay a professional photographer.”

Read the full article HERE:


Inside Imaging’s in depth article on the Photo Taker Competition and other scam comps is below. 




Destination Wollongong – Press Play Photo Competition



 Again another dodgy photo competition set up purely for accessing hundreds of photos of the Illawarra area for free usage. 

‘Marketing Use of Entered Images: By submitting a photo in the competition, the entrant gives Destination Wollongong permission to use their photo (with credit) in its marketing channels including social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter), website (www.visitwollongong.com.au), Visitor Guide and other collateral, irrespective of whether the entrant is deemed the winner.’


This type of outright photograb isn’t just happening on council levels, it’s happening nationally with Tourism Australia at the centre of another ANNUAL dodgy competition with some major sponsors…


Australia From Above from SkyPixel, DJi and Tourism Australia.

Their T&C’s go way further than Destination Wollongong’s with entrants granting SkyPixel, all its affiliates (Tourism Australia & DJi), Sponsors and event VIEWERS of the entered images to extraordinary conditions, licences and permissions…


https://www.skypixel.com/contests/2019  *Scroll down to PRIZES for a tiny tiny link to the full T&C’s… Sample below. 

“D. Intellectual Property

By entering into the Contest and submitting an Entry, each Entrant hereby grants to the Organizer and its affiliates, and the Organizer and the affiliates hereby accepts, a non-exclusive, irrevocable, royalty-free, worldwide, perpetual, sub-licensable and transferable license to use and exploit the Intellectual Property Rights subsisting in his/her respective Entry(ies). The license under this provision shall provide to the Organizer, its affiliates, and its transferees and sub-licensees, to the extent transferred and sublicensed by the Organizer, the right to edit, publish, print, use, adapt, translate, exploit, modify, include in a compilation, copy, disseminate, dispose, load onto its server, broadcast and/or transmit each Entrant’s Entry (including photos, videos, etc.) for advertising, promotional, display and/or publicity purposes, and to use the Entries for any and all purposes connected with the Contest and the Campaign Website without any compensation for, further permission by, or notification to the Entrant. Each Entrant also hereby grants each visitor to the Campaign Website a non-exclusive license to access an Entrant’s Entry and to view, use, reproduce and/or distribute such Entry for entirely personal recreational purpose.

For selected entries, the Organizer and its affiliates and main partners (Western Digital Corporation and Nikon Corporation) are entitled to display, publish, or otherwise use entries on the following channels without further authorization from the Entrants:

1. Weekly selection on SkyPixel website, and the DJI apps, which includes without limitation, the DJI GO app and DJI Mimo App;

2. SkyPixel social media (a link, a watermarked image, or an email link);

3. DJI social media (a link, a watermarked image, or an email link);

4. Media partners (a watermarked image with a width of 1920 pixels, or a SkyPixel video link, which will include the author’s name and the competition details).

5. Video websites will promote SkyPixel selected entries, and the contest and author’s name will be acknowledged.

6. DJI offline channels (e.g., selected entries will be printed or displayed by DJI Flagship Stores and authorized dealers.).

7. Main sponsor’s promotional channels (for contest promotion use only). The contest and author’s name will be acknowledged.

For winning entries, the winner grants the organizer, its affiliates, and main partners (Western Digital Corporation and Nikon Corporation) a perpetual, non-exclusive, sublicensable, transferrable, world-wide, royalty-free right and license to reproduce, compile, modify and prepare derivative works. This also includes the right to publish, display, distribute, broadcast, transmit, and otherwise use the entries in whole or in part for advertisements and/or promotions. The Organizer and its affiliate also have the right to use the content for any media and/or media outreach, including without limitation, online, mobile, public relations exhibitions, performance uses, retail establishments, industrial and/or promotional events uses, print media uses, out-of-home advertising, public or private transportation, video editing software and sharing tools, television, theatrical, home video formats, mobile applications, and commercial use without any compensation for, further permission by, or notification to the Winners.”



We both agree these are the worst Terms and Conditions we have ever seen in a photo competition. 


Below is an article from Pro Counter Australia on the previous years SkyPixel comps. 



Obvious Cash Grabs


Now this is a funny one. After months of photo geek online investiagting by a great community of photographers it was discovered that numerous photo contests appear to be run by the same man – The five photo contests are…

International Photography of the Year (IPOTY), Monochrome Awards, Fine Art Photography Awards, ND Awards, and MonoVision Photography Awards. 


Stunning high quality websites are made, high profile photographers are put down as judges to make the competitions look more professional and legitimate, however most of the judges are never asked to actually judge, their names are used and they never judge the competition. See this investigation unfolding below through the links…







https://monoawards.com – still running in 2020

https://iphotographeroftheyear.com – hasnt operated since 2017, was the main focus of the negative articles. 


https://fineartphotoawards.com – still running in 2020


https://monovisionsawards.com – still running 2020




https://ndawards.net – Still running


Free entry but…. 


Aperture has a free competition, but as you read you realise you have to be a subscriber to enter… $75 for a year 

If a photo competition is free you are most likely going to pay in another way… you just have to figure out what it is… 


So how do we know what competitions to enter and to not?


Look at dodgy T&C’s Language:


  • Look at the type of licence they want if you win – watch out for exclusive. 
  • Don’t enter if they want rights for all entries – this is an obvious data grab. 
  • Look at YOUR level of liability in the conditions.
  • Who is the competition run by? Are they High profile?
  • Who are the sponsors?
  • Who are the judges? Are the judges actually judging? You may want to contact a judge direct to see
  • What are the prizes – is it worth it?
  • What is the entry fee, if there is no entry fee how else am I ‘paying’ (there’s always a way)
  • Check out past winners and their quality of work, you can also track their career and see if winning the competition has helped their career. 
  • Do you know any past winners


If the competition has a good reputation, good prizes, good publicity, good quality work and past winners, no dodgy right grabbing T & C’s then maybe you want to consider entering. This is a very individual choice. 


Advice Resources

Arts Law Council of Australia Information Sheet 


LensCulture Competition Free guide


Show Credits

Click Click Bang Bang: A Photography Podcast is written and produced by Meredith Schofield and Toby Forage.

Edited by Meredith Schofield & Sean Brokenshire

Music by Simon Figliuzzi

Brand design by dingdingding.co

Thanks also to Bandit for his help in the studio and being the best boi.