Today I was doing some research on the cost of a National Park Pass in preparation for a number of trips to Yosemite and the Eastern Sierras that I have planned this fall. I realized that the National Park Service holds an Annual Park Passes photo contest every year for the image that will be places on the Annual Park Passes.
Apparently this contest is only open to “amateur photographers” as the official rules specifically excludes anyone who earns more than 5% of their income from photography. The good news is that the rights grab behind this contest is not abusive in my opinion. If you enter, you do retain all copyrights to the photos; however, you do grant the Park Service the right to use your photo for advertising purposes for the photo contest only:
By virtue of a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, perpetual license for the photographs granted by the Contestants to the Sponsors and Federal Recreation Agencies, Sponsors and Federal Recreation Agencies shall have the right to edit, adapt and publish any or all of the descriptions and/or photographs submitted (collectively, the “Entries”), and may use them in any media in association with the Contest without compensation to the Contestant, his or her successors or assigns, or any other entity. By entering the Contest, Contestants agree to have their submitted photograph used and displayed, either singly or in combination with others and in any size, on the National Park Foundation Gallery Contest website without any fee or other form of compensation due at any time for so long as desired by the National Park Foundation.
While some may find this slightly abusive to use the submitted photos that have not won for marketing purposes, I don’t see an issue here. First, they specifically call out that it is for marketing of the photo contest only. Second, it’s the National Park Service. I’m am more than willing to grant a Federal Organization that I think is underfunded this right versus a for profit corporation.
For those who are interested in submitting their photos, check out the website and all the official rules. Your photo must have been taken in a National Park in 2009 in order to be eligible.