The contest, called Closer, is designed to promote the Greater Manchester tram service, which is run by Metrolink – owned by the public body responsible for implementing local transport policy, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM).
It invites passengers to take photos of ‘things of interest you see near the Metrolink network’.
However, the terms and conditions of entry currently state: ‘All submitted photography becomes TfGM property and is subject to TfGM use.’
The stated policy has angered Joel Goodman, a freelance photographer, who told Amateur Photographer (AP): ‘Clearly such a rights grab is not in the interests of any photographer, and entry to this – and any rights-grabbing photo competition – should be strongly discouraged.’
On the competition website, organisers say they will publish the pictures in an online gallery for the chance of winning a Canon EOS M camera.
Canon UK told AP that it has no links to the competition and will not be issuing a comment.
The project also urges entrants to share their photos via social media, using the hashtag #upcloser.
The Metrolink website adds: ‘There’s even an opportunity to see your photo displayed on the Metrolink network.’
Organisers ask for images to be emailed in ‘high-res’ format to be considered for display in ‘poster format’.
‘There is also the opportunity for an image to be used in future campaigns (this has no monetary value),’ the rules add.
Following a call from AP – suggesting that the contest could be seen to exploit photographers’ rights – a TfGM spokesperson said the intention was, rather, to showcase amateurs’ talents.
TfGM says it has not received any direct complaints from the general public, but that organisers are prepared to look at the wording of the competition rules.
The TfGM spokesperson added: ‘The intention of the conditions is to allow us to use the images for this campaign – and this campaign only – as the winning entry will be used across the network and online as part of the showcase.
‘We have no commercial interest in the images submitted and are happy to discuss amending the conditions, such as introducing a time limit, so long as any changes do not compromise the campaign. To that end, we’d welcome feedback.’
TfGM and Metrolink say they regularly commission professional photographers to carry out work on their behalf but, for non-professionals, this project is a ‘great opportunity for their images to be showcased in a high-profile public campaign’.
‘The purpose of this project is to engage with passengers who use the network in a fun, innovative and creative way by showcasing the talents of Greater Manchester’s amateur photographers. That is the extent of our intentions.’
One hundred entrants stand to win a Metrolink Day Travelcard.
TfGM, which campaigns to promote public transport, says anyone wishing to leave feedback can email firstname.lastname@example.org