Photographer Eric Reichbaum has been looking into Lonely Planet's photography competition - what seems to be one of the contest biggest rip offs of all time. Basically, in exchange for the chance of winning a prize in their competition, you give Lonely Planet your best pictures for free, for them to use forever, in any way they like, without even crediting you.
Hopefully only the rankest amateurs will enter this contest and give away their snaps. If you have entered already, and you put any value on your work, I suggest you write in and recall your entry.
I've taken the liberty of reprinting what Eric says because I couldn't say it better myself.
"Listen to this gushing copy that LP has for its readers: “We just sent our 100 millionth guidebook out into the world, and we want to thank you – it wouldn’t be out there if you hadn’t shared our belief in the importance of travel. To celebrate, we’ve created a place for you to share your favourite travel moments. There are some amazing prizes for contributors, so show us your view of the world!”
Wow! Thanks Lonely Planet! I think I’ll submit this photo ......Let’s take a look at the fine print to make sure I’m not signing away my copyrights real quick before I hit the submit button. What does it say here?
“Once submitted, your entry will not be returned to you.
General licence: Unless you opt-out of this licence by un-ticking the box on the entry page, in return for entering the competition you grant Lonely Planet a worldwide, non-exclusive, irrevocable licence in perpetuity to reproduce, publish, adapt, communicate and broadcast all or part of your entry in any media for the purposes of this competition and inclusion in Lonely Planet branded products and marketing materials, including the right to sublicense.
Limited licence: If you do opt-out of the general licence by un-ticking the box on the entry page, in return for entering the competition you instead grant Lonely Planet a worldwide, non-exclusive, irrevocable licence for two years to reproduce, publish, adapt, communicate and broadcast all or part of your entry in any media for the purpose of this competition.
Please note: If you opt-out and you are later chosen as a finalist, upon your acceptance of the finalist prize and in return for that prize, you grant Lonely Planet the General Licence set out above.
We will use reasonable efforts to attribute you as the creator of your entry where possible, but you consent to us not attributing you if we decide not to. Despite any moral rights that may otherwise apply, you consent to us or our sub-licensees (in exercising any of the rights granted by you above) using, reproducing, editing, publishing or communicating your entry in any form or medium.”
What does all of that mean? It means that Lonely Planet will gain access to thousands of photos from entries in their “competition” that they can then use for ANYTHING they want. Print them in their books, on their website, advertisements… FOREVER! They don’t even have to give you credit! And you, the photographer gets nothing but a chance at a round the world ticket. This is Lonely Planet’s way of building up a bank of photos that they can use forever. This is their way of never having to pay a photographer again.
Shame on you Lonely Planet. Your already overpriced so called “travel guides” just secured a spot in my boycott line. I strongly suggest all photographers out there not to enter this contest, and all travelers to look elsewhere for travel guides."
Lonely Planet is now owned by BBC Worldwide and it is making an aggressive effort to increase its profits, aiming to become THE name most associated with travel and far more than merely the largest guidebook publisher in the world.
Its CEO Matt Goldberg is reported as saying he wants to be “the first and last source of information tools and services that inspire and enable people to experience the world by getting to the heart of the place”. What a pity that this will, apparently, be achieved in part by ripping off naive potential customers.