Amateur Photographer is reporting today that stock photo library Alamy is set to remove thousands of images from its database after the National Trust complained they breached its policy on picture use. Under strict rules, the National Trust bans the commercial use of photographs taken at its properties.

Normally I wouldn’t have an issue with this. National Trust properties are not public, so if photos are taken on their property I see no problem with them asking for them not to be used commercially.

What I do have a problem with is this. A quick search through the Amateur Photographer archives shows that just last year, the National Trust was accused of a rights grab with rather excessive T&Cs on their photography competitions. The competition rules stated: ‘By submitting your photograph… you agree to grant the National Trust, free of charge, the right to publish and the right to license others to publish the photograph online and in all media as required.’ Checking the National Trust website, it appears that even their current photo competitions (such as “Picture Yourself“) still contain rather harsh terms such as this:

If you submit any material to us, you agree to grant The National Trust a perpetual, royalty-free, worldwide, non-exclusive licence to use your contribution in all media. This includes the right to copy, edit, publish, grant sub-licences and exercise all other copyright and publicity rights over the material.

It seems strange that on one hand the National Trust are saying the images can’t be used for commerical purposes, but then on the other hand are still using such bad terms in their competitions. The ability for them to sub-license images submitted to the competition is particularly galling. It seems the National Trust can make money out of your images without compensating you, but you’re not allowed to make money from your photography skills.

1 Comment

  • Dave Wild 2009 Apr 29 / 09:54

    I wish the National Trust would lighten up about photography. I would have thought that the more photos of their places there are out and about, the more likely it is that extra visitors will come and spend money or join the Trust.

    I guess they must make enough out of their photography arm to make that more of a focus than using photos to attract extra visitors though really.

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