Photographers, You Are Not Worth It

This is a tale where the world of hairdressing salons and the world of photography collide. The L'Oréal awards for hairdressing salons have been running for 57 years and now take place in 35 countries around the world. We received a note from a photographer concerning the L'Oréal Professionnel Colour Trophy UK (& ROI) Awards 2012 and decided to look into the rights grabbing issues raised in his note.

This competition, aimed at hairdressing salons in the UK and the Republic of Ireland, consists not only of the Colour Trophy Awards but also of the Mens Image Award, Mizano Afro Catwalk, Young Colourist Award and Tatler Award (ROI only). To compete for any of the awards salons are required to submit a photograph of a model with hair styled exclusively using L'Oréal products, dressed to demonstrate an "understanding of key catwalk trends", make up to be "professional and flawless", and the overall look "should exhibit a high fashion editorial magazine shoot".

Use of Photographs

Judges will use the submitted photographs to select 35 entrants to go through to the regional finals. The L'Oréal website offers no guidance to the hairdressing salons who enter this contest about the creation of the photographs. The salon is free to create their own photographs or to commission a professional photographer to create it for them. Given the exacting standards required of salons' photographs it is likely that many will decide to use a professional photographer to create the images required.

Each of the L'Oréal awards have their own set of terms and conditions but all are identical in respect of the rights that must be granted to L'Oréal regarding the photos submitted - see the italicised paragraph below.

Entrants grant L'Oréal (UK) Limited with a transferable, exclusive, worldwide, royalty free and perpetual license in all copyright, moral or other rights under the Copyright, Design and Patents Act 1988 to use the photos and any materials, videos and images generated during the L'Oréal Professionnel Colour Trophy competition (whether they proceed to the Regional Final and Grand Final or not) for any purpose whatsoever (including without limitation, use on L'Oréal Professionnel websites, facebook pages and blogs, promotion of the Colour Trophy event, PR content print and online, editorial, advertising and advertorial content, trade press and 2012/2013 competition promotion print and online and educational or internal purposes etc).

Advice to Hairdressing Salons

Note that if the salon chooses to commission a professional photographer L'Oréal give no advice to the hairdressing salon that they should show the photographer a copy of the rights that L'Oréal demand and that, to protect the salon/L'Oréal from legal action for copyright infringement, they must have a signed license from the photographer agreeing to these terms.

Salons entering this competition and submitting photographs created by a commissioned photographer, but without obtaining a license from the photographer agreeing to all the L'Oréal terms and conditions, could find themselves at the centre of a legal action concerning infringement of the photographer's copyright. A legal action the photographer would win. The risk taken by a salon in agreeing to the L'Oréal terms and conditions without a license from the photographer is simply not worth it.

Advice to Photographers

If you are approached by a salon to take photographs of a model we advise you to ask if the photos will be submitted to the L'Oréal 2012 Awards. If this is the case explain to the salon that as the copyright holder in any work you create you cannot accept the L'Oréal 2012 Awards terms and conditions; that the salon should request L'Oréal's legal people to get in touch with you to a) agree an appropriate license setting out the permitted use by L'Oréal of any photographs you create for the salon and b) the fees for such use. Fees for exclusive perpetual worldwide rights are not insignificant. You should also explain to the salon that L'Oréal's terms and conditions will prevent the salon from using the photos in publicity, that L'Oréal demand exclusive use.

If you, unaware of the salon's intended use of the photographs at the time of the shoot, subsequently discover the work you shot for the salon has been submitted to the L'Oréal 2012 Awards, you must contact your legal advisor immediately to issue a notice to both the salon and L'Oréal that your photographs must not be used without a license agreed by you. If your photographs were to be used, in such a circumstance neither L'Oréal or the salon would have a position to defend in the eyes of the law in the absence of a license agreed in writing from you; your copyright would have been infringed.

Further Information

Further information is contained in the L'Oréal Rights Off report along with details of who to contact at L'Oréal.

Update 2 February 2012

In response to the complaints receieved about the above David MacDonald, Head of Corporate Communications at L'Oréal ,phoned us to say that the T&Cs are badly worded and that L'Oréal require no rights to the photographs submitted by Salon's to the competition.

Subsequently L'Oréal posted a note on their Facebook page that with regard to entrants photographic entries they "DO NOT require entrants to sign over the rights for your photos to L'Oréal Professionnel" We welcome this positive response from L'Oréal.