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Apple Will Now Pay Winners of Its iPhone Photo Contest After Criticism

If there’s one thing Apple is not, it’s short on cash. That’s a big reason why people were outraged when the company released the rules of their “Shot of iPhone Challenge.” The company called for photographers of all experience levels to submit photos, and while it wouldn’t be paying winners for their work, it would be displaying it on Instagram, in public venues, and in stores. Naturally, this didn’t sit well with artists online.

Social media users slammed Apple (valued at more than $700 billion) for offering to pay its 10 contest winners in exposure, rather than cash -- an age old practice many artists know too well. As a result of the backlash, the company has decided to do the right thing (sort of), paying winners a licensing fee. The exact amount hasn’t been disclosed, but it’s a start.

“Winners will receive a licensing fee for use on billboards and other Apple marketing channels,” the amended rules read.

The company added, “Apple believes strongly that artists should be compensated for their work. Photographers who shoot the final 10 winning photos will receive a licensing fee for use of such photos on billboards and other Apple marketing channels.”

Still, some artists doubt the fee will be a substantial enough amount. One particularly vocal critic noted that typically, an artist is paid between $25,000 and $100,000 for having their art featured on a billboard. In an email to The Verge, the same artist suggested that, at minimum, artists should receive $10,000 each for winning the “Shot on iPhone” contest.

“THAT is the only way this would’ve been ok. Anything less than paying people for their usage is pure exploitation. The rules/conditions are gross and that’s what I wanted to bring attention to -- the fact that they’re robbing you blind of your rights and ability to be properly compensated for the work by simply submitting,” he wrote. “I think (know) that most people don’t care enough to read the rules and just so badly want to be noticed, that they’ll gladly forfeit all rights for the slim chance to be noticed. And therein lies the real issue; until people stop submitting to nonsense like that, things will never change.”

The lesson here? Artists, submit your art with caution. Companies, pay artists for their work.


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Caitlyn Hitt is Daria IRL. Don't take our word for it -- find her on Twitter @nyltiaccc.