Disney’s Baby Einstein funny baby photo contest – the “rights grab” that put me over the edge


I’m really tired of seeing these so-called “photo contests”, which are actually “rights grabs”.  What is a “rights grab” you ask?  I’ll try to explain.

Many companies need photos, photos of everything, from the mouse to the side of your keyboard, the one that scurries past you in the night, the desk in your office, your dog, your family gatherings, your children, you name it, companies need photos to use in advertising, internal publications, newsletters, wherever.  It used to be that a company would either hire a photographer and crew, and get the shot they needed, or, go to a stock agency and buy it.  And now, with micro-stock, buying it is cheaper, but companies don’t even want to pay these lower costs, so, how do they get the photos they need, they run a “contest”.

Enter Disney’s Baby Einstein Funny Baby Photo Contest:

In the spirit of National Humor Month, Baby Einstein is holding a Funny Baby Photo Contest. Simply submit the funniest photo of your baby by April 22nd for a chance to win a $500 Baby Einstein prize package!”
Plus, help us choose the winner! Stop back anytime between April 23-30 to vote for your favorite funny baby photo. Three people will win a $500 Baby Einstein prize pack.

Sounds nice enough, I find a great shot of my child being funny, send it in, then, see if I win one of three $500 prizes, great.
Well, it really isn’t so great.  If you take the time to read the fine print, there are several interesting points.

Entry must be original and may not include any third-party intellectual property without Entrant receiving prior permission/consent, including for all specifications, uses and republications contemplated for an Entry in these Official Rules, and must not have been previously published or entered in any promotion;

They want to make sure that you don’t have some other brand in the shot  and they want images that aren’t published elsewhere.  Now why would they include that text?  Well, if you include some other brand name, they can’ t easily use or sell the photo any where else, because they would need a release, and, if you submitted the image somewhere else, chances are you already gave up similar rights to that company’s photo contest rights grab.

Submission of an Entry constitutes the entrant’s agreement to irrevocably assign and transfer to the Sponsor any all rights, title and interest in the Entry, including, without limitation, all copyrights.  All Entries become the exclusive property of Sponsor and will not be acknowledged or returned, provided that upon Entry, Entrants may retain a license to republish the Photo accompanied by a link to Site on personal websites or in conjunction with social media platforms/accounts for purposes of communicating their Entry in the Contest and inviting participation by eligible persons via Public Voting.

Whoa, hold on there.  You are giving up all your rights to the photo, enabling them to do whatever they want with the photo, with no payment, and not even a photo credit (not that it would pay any bills).  So, your “funny baby” may wind up on a billboard, product package, wherever, and you can’t do a thing about it.  Further, so kind of them to give you permission to let you advertise the contest, on their terms, for them, on “social media platforms/accounts”.  So, you see, they spend $1500 (3 – $500 prizes) and get potentially hundreds of images, to do whatever they like with.

Why am I so upset about this?  I am, by no means of the traditional sense of the word, a “professional photographer”, I don’t have a stock or micro-stock library or contract anywhere, but I am passionate about photography, photographer’s rights, and in general, I hate people getting taken advantage of. I’d like to do my part to get the word out on these contests.  I’d like to put an end to these contests.

It’s kind of fun to do the impossible – Walt Disney

Disney’s Baby Einstein is preying on unsuspecting parents and children.  That doesn’t sound like the Disney I knew growing up.

Sure there are other contests are out there that do the same thing, there are even lists of one’s that do it – so please, for this, and all “photo contests”, read the fine print, and decide for yourself if it is worth it.

For me, no thanks, I think my little girl is hilarious t times, and I even have photos of her being funny, but I’m not about to give that up for a chance to win $500, and more than likely, not win $500 and wind up seeing her on the next DVD packaging.

Or heritage and ideals, our code and standards – the things we live by and teach our children – are preserved or diminished by how freely we exchange ideas and feelings. – Walt Disney

The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing. – Walt Disney