Google Inc. is an American multinational public corporation invested in Internet search, cloud computing, and advertising technologies. Google generates profit primarily from advertising through its AdWords program. The company was founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin.
The company's stated mission from the outset was "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful", and the company's unofficial slogan – coined by Google engineer Paul Buchheit – is "Don't be evil". A slogan that some consider has them hoist by their own petard. Wikipedia for some of the above content
Competitions or appeals seeking submissions of creative works from the public, works such as photos, videos, poems, music, etc., are reviewed by the Artists' Bill of Rights campaign. The reviews are to help you decide whether or not you should participate in the competition or appeal. When you create a work (e.g. a photo) the law automatically makes you the sole beneficiary of certain rights over that work. These rights are called intellectual property rights. Note: Rights for works created in the course of employment are usually owned by the employer (i.e. works for hire).
Your rights have a value and you are free to decide what that value is. More information about intellectual property rights and their value to you can be read in our Guide to Rights & Licensing.
Listed below in order of closing date are the competitions or appeals promoted by this organisation that we have reviewed. For each we detail how their terms and conditions will exploit your rights. To read our review(s) just click on any competition/appeal title below.
This competition is open to students aged 18 years or older in higher education. You, the student, must "share up to eight of your best shots in a public Google+ album" and then complete a submission form where you will state the URL of your Google+ profile. The primary aim of this Google competition is to increase the number of Google+ users through the related promotion and advertising of both the competition and the Google+ service.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS (extract)
NB! We detail here relevant extracts from the competition terms and conditions. However, because students are required to upload images via the Google+ service it means their images are subject to Google's terms and conditions as well, in particular paragraphs 11.1 to 11.3 of Google's T&Cs. For that reason alone we cannot recommend that anyone should enter this competition. For further information see our article about contests that are subject to two sets of terms and conditions.
7 JUDGING (extract)
Except where prohibited by law, each Finalist may be required to sign and return a Declaration of Eligibility and Liability and Publicity Release and provide any additional information that may be required by Sponsor. If required, Finalists must return all such required documents within 7 days following attempted notification or such Finalist may be deemed to have forfeited the prize and another Finalist will be selected based on the judging criteria described herein.
11 INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS.
As between you and Sponsor, each entrant shall retain ownership of all intellectual property rights in the entry (including moral rights) subject to these Official Rules. However, by entering the Competition, and to the extent allowed by law, entrant grants, but solely in relation to the promotion and/or advertising of the Google Photography Prize or Google+ service only, to Saatchi Gallery, London, Google and Google's affiliates, licensees, promotional partners, developers and third party marketing entities ("Permitted Users") a non-exclusive, perpetual, worldwide, royalty-free license to modify, rearrange, copy, reproduce and adapt the images only to fit the format required for product web pages and marketing materials, and to publish and use the Photographs themselves and the content of and elements embodied in the Photographs, including any names, locations and likenesses, for the duration of the rights, in any and all media, including but not limited to digital and electronic media, computer, and audiovisual media (whether now existing or hereafter devised), in any language, throughout the world, and in any manner without further review, notice, approval, consideration, or compensation. Google will not commercially exploit the Photographs and all such rights of commercial exploitation remain with entrants.
12 PRIVACY (extract)
By accepting a prize, participant agrees and consents to Google and its agencies use of entrant's name and/or likeness and Photographs to name the entrant for a reasonable time after completion of the Contest in promotional and advertising material of Google (or its agents) as a winner of the Contest without additional compensation, unless prohibited by law.
19 FORUM AND RECOURSE TO JUDICIAL PROCEDURES (extract)
To the extent permitted by law, the rights to litigate, seek injunctive relief or make any other recourse to judicial or any other procedure in case of disputes or claims resulting from or in connection with this Contest are hereby excluded, and all Participants expressly waive any and all such rights.
HOW THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS WILL AFFECT YOU
The following notes explain how the above terms and conditions affect your rights in respect of any photos you submit to this competition via Google+. Note that Google+ is the only way that Google will permit photos to be submitted to the competition.
The terms and conditions state you retain your moral rights, we are glad to see this statement. It is however undermined by the the fact that a) any photograph entered by you into Google+ will have all its copyright metadata deleted (by Google) wherever it is displayed on the Google+ service. This renders your image an 'orphan work' (i.e. your ownership details have been removed) and b) nowhere in the terms and conditions does Google state that they will always credit your photograph everytime it is used. Being credited as the author of an image is one of your most important moral rights. It is also a human right under article 27 of the UN Human Rights Act, that is, your moral interests in any artistic creation you make should be protected. Deleting your copyright information undermines the protection the law of copyright created for your benefit. We have published some additional information that explains the purpose and importance of metadata if this terminology is new to you.
The terms and conditions state that if you win, or are a potential winner, you are required to complete various additional forms, but the terms and conditions of these additional forms are not displayed on the competition website. This is like being asked to sign a blank cheque. It is not an acceptable business practice to require you to accept all the terms and conditions when submitting a photo but fail to display all the terms and conditions that will ultimately apply to it.
The terms and conditions are granting Google, Saatchi Gallery and unamed others use of your work for ever, that is "for the duration of the rights", up to 70 years after your death in the UK and varying periods depending on the law in other countries. This will remove from you, in perpetuity, the exclusive right the law granted you over the use of your work. It will prevent you, for example, from ever being able to license your photograph exclusively for a period of time to another organisation.
The terms and conditions grant the organiser the right to use your work beyond that needed to promote the competition. Google say they "will not commercially exploit the Photographs". This is not true, Google's terms and conditions make clear that your photograph can be used in the "promotion and/or advertising of the Google Photography Prize or Google+ service". Google+ is a commercial service, Google is promoting it vigorously and it is in competition with Facebook for users. If Google wants your photographs to promote its Google+ service then it should negotiate a commercial fee with you for a license to use it. Instead it's using you (and other students) as a resource to provide them with free images. For further information on fees and licensing refer to our Introduction to Rights and Licensing.
If you value your intellectual property rights, or your copyright, or your moral rights, or your legal rights, consider the issues detailed above before deciding to enter this contest.
For further guidance please read the Bill of Rights for Artists.
Google does not publish relevant email addresses of senior executives for complaints of this nature. The published phone numbers are automated and manned by robots, you cannot talk to anyone at Google unless you are already in possession of an extension number. It is extraordinary that a company providing a public service should display such disdain for being accountable to their customers.
Therefore we suggest you write a letter to them and use the published contact details for the country you reside in.
In the USA for example use this address Google Inc., 1600 Ampitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043 and in the UK use this address Google UK Ltd., Belgrave House 76 Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1W 9TQ
The Artists' Bill of Rights campaign depends on your active support, your help will make a difference.
Updated on 17 Nov 2011
TERMS AND CONDITIONS
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS. As between you and Sponsor, each entrant shall retain ownership of all intellectual property rights in the entry (including moral rights) subject to these Official Rules.
However, by entering the Competition, and to the extent allowed by law, entrant grants Google and its affiliates, licensees, promotional partners, developers and third party marketing entities ("Permitted Users") a non-exclusive, perpetual, worldwide, royalty-free license to modify, rearrange, copy, reproduce and adapt the images only to fit the format required for an iGoogle theme, product web pages and marketing materials, and to publish and use the Photographs themselves and the content of and elements embodied in the Photographs, including any names, locations and likenesses, for the duration of the rights, in any and all media, including but not limited to digital and electronic media, computer, and audiovisual media (whether now existing or hereafter devised), specifically for use as an iGoogle theme, in any language, throughout the world, and in any manner, for advertising, promotional, commercial, or any other purposes related to the Google Photography Prize or in iGoogle branded content without further review, notice, approval, consideration, or compensation, provided that after the fifth anniversary of the awarding of the Photography Prize entrant may terminate this agreement with Sponsor by contacting Sponsor in writing, in which event entrant's Photographs and other materials in which entrant has intellectual property rights will no longer be reproduced or used by Permitted Users and will be removed within 30 days after receipt of notice by sponsor, except that Sponsor may continue to use such Photographs and materials in connection with the Photography Prize and the promotion thereof.
HOW THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS WILL AFFECT YOU
The following notes explain how the above terms and conditions affect your rights in respect of any works you submit to the above competition or appeal.
The terms and conditions do not state you will always be credited when your work is reproduced. It does say that each entrant retains his moral rights and it may be that Google uses this expression to imply that a credit will always be given. It would have been claerer on this point if the language had been more explicit. One of your most important moral rights is that you should be credited as the author of a work whenever it is reproduced.
The terms and conditions are granting the organiser use of your work for ever unless you write to Sponsor after the fifth anniversary of the awarding of the Photography Prize to terminate the license. For non-winning works a usage time limit of 5 years or less should be set with usage limited solely to promoting the competition or appeal. It should not be necessary for you to have to write to the sponsor. It is permissable to use winning works for ever but only in a permanent winners gallery with the sole purpose of promoting a recurring competition or appeal.
The terms and conditions grant the organiser the right to use your work beyond that needed to promote the competition or appeal. Your work will be used for other purposes, specifically for use as an iGoogle theme. Free usage of your work should be restricted solely to promoting the competition or appeal. If the organisation wishes to use your work for any other purpose they should negotiate with you independently of the competition. You should have the right to negotiate an appropriate fee for the specific use they want to make of your work and to set a time limit on such use. You should also have the right to refuse use of your work. For further information on fees and licensing refer to the Introduction to Rights and Licensing.
The above may help you to decide not to submit any works to this competition or appeal. For further guidance please read the Bill of Rights for Artists.
We note that one of the sentences in the terms and conditions is 242 words long. Such verbiage is not conducive to good understanding and Google could do so much better.
To visit the competition website click the competition title above to submit the free image we have created. Note that the competition link may cease to work at some point after the competition results are announced.
You can help the Bill of Rights campaign by complaining to the organiser urging them to change their terms and conditions. If time is at a premium for you we have prepared a complaint email which you can copy and send to the organiser. Alternatively, or as well as, you can submit the free image we have prepared to register your complaint simply by entering the free image to the contest.
Where a contest automatically displays entrants images on the contest website as they arrive you can use the free image to test the competition and determine if it is stripping metadata. The test results can be submitted to a survey by the Controlled Vocabulary Group.
The Bill of Rights campaign depends on your active support, your help will make a difference.
Updated on 2nd July 2009
Competitions which meet all the standards set out in the Bill of Rights For Artists do not do any of the following -
We have written an Organisers Guide to the Bill of Rights to help organisers draft terms and conditions that respect the rights of entrants and at the same time provide legal protection for the organiser.
© Bill of Rights Supporters Group
The above text may be reproduced providing a link is given to the Bill of Rights For Artists.
Any text reproduced in italics in this report has been extracted from a competition or appeal website for the purposes of review.
Organisations who would like to be promoted as a Bill of Rights Supporter and have their competitions promoted on the Rights On List can use this contact form. We look forward to hearing from you.