National Garden Scheme Photographic Competition

National Garden Scheme

About this Organisation

traffic-light-stop"The National Garden Scheme opens gardens in England and Wales for charity. It was founded in 1927 in England with the aim of "opening gardens of quality, character and interest to the public for charity". The scheme has raised over £50 million since it began, and over half a million garden visits occur each year." CC Wikipedia

About this Competition

We have been in contact with National Garden Scheme regarding their terms and have offered suggestions as to how they could write their terms that would more clearly define the rights they are seeking. As of this date, we have not received a reply that indicated willingness to consider our principles or clarify their existing terms. We, therefore, reluctantly, place NGS on our Rights Off list.

About this Report

Your Creative Rights have a value and you are free to decide what that value is. If a person or organisation wants to use your work to promote something, you have the right to refuse permission or to set a fee for a specific use. More information about intellectual property rights and their value to you can be read in our Guide to Rights & Licensing.

The reviews we provide 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 exlusive rights over that work. These are your intellectual property rights. (Rights for works created in the course of employment are usually owned by the employer and considered "works for hire".)

It is entirely up to you to decide if you wish to enter a competition on our Rights Off list.

NGS Photographic Competition; closing 28 August 2018

National Garden Scheme Photographic Competition


12. Copyright and Usage

  • By entering, you grant The National Garden Scheme a perpetual, irrevocable and royalty-free license to publish your photograph in any type of media, including but not limited to: exhibitions, online, in press, and in promotional items.

Our comment:

Our terms state there is a 3-year limit, not a perpetual license, for non-winning and non-shortlisted images, and that all usage must be directly related to the competition. Beyond that time frame, NGS may request that entrants donate further use to advance their mission, but it must not be a condition of entry or winning.

  • The entrants agree to National Garden Scheme free usage sub-licensing the shortlisted images for press articles or any other external communications related to the competition or the gardens the photos were taken in.

Our comment:

Usage must clearly be related to promoting the competition and identified as a competition image. It is unclear how "the gardens" would use the images. In ad banners or background images, in promo for the gardens and not the competition?

Press usage must display the competition name and the entrant/winner name, and be of reasonable size for the specific editorial purpose, not extraordinarily large (e.g., to cover entire desktop screen sizes). Press outlets should preserve any ownership metadata embedded by the entrant.

  • By entering, you grant Immediate Media a perpetual, irrevocable and royalty-free licence to publish your photograph in any type of media. Entries may be published in future issues of Gardenersí World Magazine and associated products including the 2019 Calendar.

Our comment:

Again, no perpetual use should be required, and publishing should only be directly related to the competition. The only exception is for a dedicated web gallery for past and current winners.

Publication in the 2019 Calendar is fine as long as it is a calendar of competition images specifically for the purpose of promoting the competition. NGS may publish and sell as many 2019 calendars as desired, but commencing another publication run after 3 years from the end of the 2018 competition without the published entrantsí permissions is not allowed.

The three-year rule would be true for Gardnersí World Magazine, unless NGS makes suitable arrangements with the photographer.

For further guidance please read the Bill of Rights for Artists, particularly our Bill of Rights Principles page.


Contact the organiser and urge them to adopt the principles set out in the Artists' Bill of Rights and/or send along the link to this report. Use this this email address: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

The Artists' Bill of Rights campaign depends on your active support, your help will make a difference.

About the Artists' Bill of Rights

The Artists' Bill of Rights principles for Creative Competitions

Competitions which meet all the standards set out in the Bill of Rights For Artists DO NOT do any of the following -

  • claim copyright
  • claim exclusive use
  • seek waiving of moral rights
  • fail to give a credit for all free usage
  • add, alter, or remove metadata from submissions
  • seek usage rights other than for promoting the contest and no other purpose. Note that a book, posters, cards, or a calendar are seen as legitimate ways of promoting the contest and defraying costs
  • seek free usage rights in excess of 3 years
  • use the submissions commercially without the entrant's agreement, and such commercial usage is to be subject to a freely negotiated license independently of the competition.
  • make it a condition of winning that an entrant must sign a commercial usage agreement
  • fail to publish all documents on the competition website that an entrant may have to sign
  • fail to name the judges for this or last year's competition
  • fail to explicitly state all the organisations who will acquire rights to the submissions
  • set a closing date more than 18 months after the contest launch date
  • fail to make clear statements of rights claimed and how submissions are used.

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. founded the Artists' Bill of Rights in 2007

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