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Have you come across the fab blog Mistakes Writers Make? Apparently this kind of thing is rife with writing competitions. Thanks to reading that informative blog, I always read the T&Cs carefully for this kind of competition. Sadly, I think we'll see this kind of thing more and more :(


I'll look it out, Michelle. It's certainly rife, but I think companies should be shamed into thinking again. Was it Woman magazine, or one of the others, that bowed to pressure when the only prize it offered for a short story competition was publication with no payment whatsoever? All we can do in the meantime is not take part.

angela davies

How can they claim copyright on the pictures that people use to enter the competition ?

Ive entered competitions at various real life exhibitions before now (not won any though), Im more interested nowadays in trying to sell prints and drawings at events. If anyone is interested I have a lovely supplier that do picture mounts and acetate bags to help protect my work www.cadremont.co.uk/shop/single-picture-mounts.html I think the bag option is there as well


Thank you for commenting, Angela. Competition rules do vary. It soon becomes clear whether the main reason for the comp is to gather photos for use or not. Thanks for the link. I take so many photos, I really should think about doing something with some of them.

Susan Garrett

If I am ever tempted to enter such competitions I will always read the small print in future thanks for this. I am keen photographer and take photographs for fun or to use on my blog. I often get requests from magazines, seed catalogues etc for permission to use photographs that I feature and I am always happy to allow this. After all photographs are meant to share and communicate rather than be stuck in a file somewhere out of sight for ever. Use is always accredited to me and the photographs on always remain mine.
T&Mrequest guest articles for their blog and so I wonder if they retain copyright for any images sent there for use with such articles.

Julieanne Porter

I'm totally with you Helen. I've started seeing this kind of thing more often reason. This is the reason I don't use Instagram as they claim the right to use your photos and receive payment for them without anything coming to you. The Garden Tags app (see point 9 https://gardentags.com/terms-conditions) does the same thing. Both of these do 'at least' make it non-exclusive, but they still get a free picture library and the right to do whatever they want with your photos, including sub-licensing, which is where they can make money.

People need to be aware of these issues. Maybe some people aren't bothered by this. However, I have been contacted and paid for the right to use a plant photo I took and posted on my blog (I retained copyright), and I'm not a professional photographer. So I'd urge people to think it through carefully before allowing a for-profit company to take the rights to your work (and it is work, even if you were taking the photo 'for fun'), to do whatever they want with the photo, and make money from it.

Thompson & Morgan should be ashamed of themselves and I think it's great you have raised this issue. I'll share your blogpost around.


Thank you, Julieanne. That's shocking about Instagram. I've been wondering whether to get on board, and now I think that's a no. I love this "sharing economy"; we do the sharing, and the companies get all the money.

I've had a look at Garden Tags, too, which I didn't know about. The link above for some reason doesn't work for me, but for anyone else with the same problem, it's https://gardentags.com and then click on Terms and Conditions.

I've been approached for photos too, so we should recognise the value of ourselves as a resource.

Thank you for helping to get the word out.

John Kingdon

I now add a copyright notice to most (not all as I'm happy for some to be reused) photos I publish to my web site/blog/Twitter. And not along one of the edges but across the middle. This is because I discovered someone selling my photos having cropped the copyright notice off the bottom edge. I wonder how T&M would react if I entered a few pics with a "Taken by...." notice with a web link in it across the middle. Then they'd be welcome to the copyright as if ever they used the image(s) they'd be publicising my web site.

And, of course, the lesson is centre your copyright notice!


Thank you, John, that's quite an idea. In fact, there's no reason why all "free" photographs shouldn't include a credit, given that the photographer should be recognised. It wouldn't hurt T&M to include the credit somewhere on the picture, as I'm pretty sure it won't be added anywhere else. I'm impressed you found a photo, even after the credit had been cut off.

Thanks for commenting. I've now discovered your excellent blog and will be visiting regularly in future.

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