A few years ago, a picture of my beautiful friend in Tangkhul traditional attire was seen in a rice bag being marketed and sold by a company from Assam. She was not aware of it nor her permission was availed to use her image in the cover of the rice bags.
In another incident, a year ago, three beautiful friends were also seen on the cover of a Northeast Magazine. They have no idea how it ended up there, nor their permission was availed to use it as well.
Now how would you feel if the picture of your cute baby is being used for promotional activities, for marketing purposes? And more importantly without giving you or your baby a royalty for using the picture? Some of us may feel happy about it, some may feel bad about such a situation. But I’m sure every one of us will feel bad that the baby’s picture is being used without giving royalties. You see when models sign up for photoshoots for promotional or commercial use, they get paid or gets a royalty for using their pictures.
Over the past few days, I have been constantly seeing people sharing on WhatsApp, Facebook, etc to vote for their baby for an online contest as the cutest baby. I have seen my friends participating in it with the pictures of their cute cute babies. There’s no doubt their babies are very cute indeed. And I have been thinking about why my friends participate in such an online contest. Was it for the gift prizes? Or for self-esteem? Well, I guess it’s less to do with the prizes but more about the joy the parent and the baby get in winning an award and the title cutest baby. well, I’m still single and I will never understand now how it feels as a parent. But then again, not everyone will win. And I have been thinking about how my friends will feel and react if the baby doesn’t make it to the final list. Will she be angry with me and her other friends for not voting every 30 minutes? Well, I don’t know how she will feel, and also I’m not here today to discuss the psychological effect of winning or not winning the cute baby contest. I’m here to discuss more about the technical terms and privacy issues with such an online contest.
I have seen my friends participating in the cute baby contest organized by mycutebaby.in. Out of curiosity, I check out the website (something which I often do as a web-designer when I stumble upon something new and interesting ) and visited their Terms & Conditions page and Privacy page. These pages are very much the most neglected pages when we sign up or register on a website. But these pages are among the most important pages of the website as it deals with your privacy, security and also the legal obligations.
As I go through these two pages, my mind was clear, if I ever have a cute baby, I will never allow me or my wife to participate in such an online contest.
Here are my concerns after going through the Privacy and Terms & Condition pages. Below mentioned concerns are the actual extract from the respective pages.
1. Conerns under the Privacy page
We may use your provided information for any and all marketing purposes such as special offers from partners, coupons and information that we deem relevant to you as a Mycutebaby member or for the operation of our web site for an unlimited time period. These forms of contact may include direct mailing, phone calling, e-mailing or text messaging or otherwise.
However, by submitting Content to the site, you hereby grant, and you represent and warrant that you have the right to grant, to us a non-exclusive, transferable, sublicensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform the Content in connection with this site and our business, including for promoting and redistributing part or all of the site (and derivative works thereof) in any media formats and through any media channels. You further grant to us, and represent and warrant that you have the right to grant, a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royaltyfree worldwide license to use any intellectual property related to the Content that you post on or in connection with our site. You hereby grant, and you represent and warrant that you have the right to grant, to Members and other users of the site, a nonexclusive license to access your Content through the site.
RIGHTS OF USAGE OF PHOTOGRAPHS GIVEN TO mycutebaby
Each participant in the ” mycutebaby ” contest deliberately authorities that his/her name and photograph be published on the site of the Organizing company. In no case may the responsibility of the Organizing company be brought into question by a third party in the case of a Participant, member or contributor giving the Organizing company a photo for which he/she does not have all full rights of publication. Each Participant can at any time remove him/herself from the website by contacting us.
2. Concerns under the Terms & Conditons Page:
By registering and entering (including voting in) the mycutebaby promotion, you are consenting to the use of your information (including address, where collected, and e-mail) being used for future correspondence, by e-mail or post from the mycutebaby Promoter, and your information being passed to third parties for marketing purposes, including third parties who may have group companies located outside India. We want the information you receive from us and third parties to be as relevant to you based on personal information you have given us.
All taxes will be borne by the winner.
By entering the event, the participant agrees that in the event that the participant is selected as a winner of one of the prizes referred to in these Terms and Conditions, the participant will make themselves available for reasonable publicity purposes related to the event and that (without limiting its rights), mycutebaby.in may conduct interviews and take photographs to be used for such publicity purposes and publication by mycutebaby.in as it deems necessary.
And it is because of these above concerns I will never enter such a contest in the future. I don’t want to be bombarded with promotional emails and messages. I wouldn’t want my baby’s picture to be used for promotional activities and that too without royalty fees.
Well, you may have a different opinion and if you are someone not bothered by the above concerns, you surely can go ahead with such contest. But just ask yourself, is it really worth it? To grant permission to others to use your baby’s picture for promotional use? Think about it.
And if you are participating in the contest, I wish you and your baby the very best!
And hey, your baby is cute!!!
PS: The above observations are my personal non-expert view. You can get in touch with legal experts to further understand the terminologies and legal obligations.