Tourism Australia has released a statement following the call for it and DJI to amend its ‘rights-grabbing’ Terms and Conditions for aerial photo contest, ‘Australia From Above’.
He countered that professional photographers benefit from having their images featured on Tourism Australia platforms due to the exposure they enjoy. ‘It can be very beneficial to their professional career,’ he said. (To which some might respond, ‘You can’t eat exposure!’)
Here’s the full response:
This particular competition is being run by SkyPixel/DJI and they are responsible for setting the terms.
Our involvement is as one of the sponsors. As well as being part of the judging panel, we are covering the flights and accommodation for the winning prize. We have also committed to giving exposure to the some of the best photos, via our popular social platforms. We’ve been very upfront about this fact and, for many photographers, this additional level of exposure is a huge part of them getting involved.
This idea of amplification is at the heart of how our social media platforms work. And why they are so successful. We openly invite advocates of Australia to share their experiences, photos and videos of Australia with us, with the explicit understanding (set out in writing) that the best of these may be shared more widely with our fans and followers. We get around 3500 piece of content posted to our social platforms each day on this very basis.
What’s more we have many professional photographers who actively seek to profile on our platforms. The exposure they gain is huge – potentially millions of people in Australia and around the world. It can be very beneficial to their professional career.
The important thing here is that we, Tourism Australia, always accredits the photographer and, wherever possible, include links to the photographer’s professional website or their social profile.
On the occasions when we do use a photograph which has been submitted to us for commercial purposes beyond social, we pay for usage. And that would certainly be the case with this particular competition.
We are not a commercial entity and it would certainly not be in our interests to take advantage of the many great photographers out there that assist us in helping to promote this country to the rest of the world.
Ultimately, it’s the choice of each individual photographer as to whether they wish to enter the competition or not.
COMMENT: Nonetheless, a number of clauses in the T&Cs solely benefit Tourism Australia, a government funded tourism authority. For instance, Tourism Australia is granted complete access to content created by the grand prize winner during his or her award trips to Lord Howe and Kangaroo Island. Cheaper than commissioning a professional photographer!
Based on the response, Tourism Australia seems to be saying it intends to use entrants’ photos on social media without payment, but would pay for ‘commercial purposes beyond social’. However, this is not stated in the written terms.