Do I lose copyright if I enter online photo contests?

I’ve taken a photo of my son. I want to enter it into online contests with for the sake of exposure and possible cash rewards. I fear the loss of copyright privileges. In addition, I want to prevent expensive litigation if a legal battle ensues. What do the the professionals do to avoid litigation and ensure royalties?

Tim on April 20, 2012

You own the copyright unless you agree otherwise. So read the terms and conditions of entry before submitting your work. Some less-than-wonderful sites may try a “rights grab” where they get the copyright, or unlimited use of your work. Some sites are “vanity” contests where their main aim is to sell you space for a bio, and sell you expensive copies of the compilation book. The best way to safeguard your work is register the copyright, which you can do yourself online for $35 at copyright.gov.

copyright register, photo contests, rights grab

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