After Music Photographers came the Artists

If you’re a follower of Music Photography (in fact any photography) you’ll no doubt be aware of the trend to try and grab copyright to lots of images by having a competition and including a line in the terms & conditions that says you have to transfer copyright to the competition sponsors.  If not there’s a great article about copyright on Landscape Photographer Gordon C Harrison’s site.

Since by and large many photographers seem happy to enter these copyright grab competitions, it looks like another set of artists are being targeted for exploitation.  Dark Horse Comics are currently running a competition in partnership with the publishers of Darksiders II to grab the copyright on lots of artwork inspired by the game right here.  The offending fine print is reproduced below:-

By submitting

this art, I release, transfer, and assign all rights, including without limitation copyright, in and to this art to Dark Horse Comics, Inc., and to its respective licensor(s) which my art was inspired by. I hereby assign to Dark Horse Comics, Inc., and to its respective licensor(s) which my art was inspired by any rights which are not deemed automatically granted by submission of the art, and Dark Horse Comics, Inc., and its respective licensor(s) which my art was inspired by shall have the right to use, and authorize others to use, such art in any manner and by any means and media in perpetuity throughout the world without restriction.

Now I’m hoping that given that Dark Horse Comics rely on copyright for their business that this is an oversight and what they really wanted was permission to use the entries as part of the publicity.  If that’s the case there’s an easy fix, change the fine print to say that by submitting artwork you are giving Dark Horse Comics an irrevocable license to display your entry wherever necessary in order to promote the competition.  As it is, anyone entering (you don’t even have to win to lose your copyright) could easily see their artwork reproduced as the cover for Darksiders III, or a Dark Horse Comic without seeing a penny in payment.  If you’re thinking of entering this competition I’d strongly recommend a visit to



I’ve been a fan of Dark Horse Comics for a long time but that could be about to change.

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