Beware the Amazon Gift Card Upload..

This photograph was taken just outside Geysir, in Iceland.  I’m not sure if the town gives its name to the jets of hot water and steam that burst forth from the ground at regular intervals or not.  Needless to say such things are to be found here.  This was one of those places we didn’t beat the tour buses to so were happy to drive through and enjoy the steaming streams and plumes of steam rising from various point in the ground from afar..

Landscape photograph, Geysir, Iceland Sunset, Iceland70mm ff/11 1/80 sec. ISO-100

The main point of this post is to highlight an issue I came across this afternoon that I felt really needed to be shared.  It’s Christmas time and our thoughts turn to relatives that we may or may not be seeing over the Christmas period.  Perhaps a gift card is the answer to your gift buying nightmare.  Faced with this dilemma we might then turn to a company like Amazon and note that they kindly provide us with the option to upload an image from our computers to decorate the gift card we intend to send.

This was the case I faced this afternoon. I uploaded my image and as with all things, I had to agree to Amazon’s terms and conditions.  Having a good idea about the way these corporations operate now I thought I better read said terms and conditions before I agreed to them.  I was extremely disappointed but not at all surprised really to see that by uploading an image to Amazon you

hereby grant to Amazon, its Affiliates and sublicencees a worldwide, nonexclusive, royalty-free, perpetual, right and licence to (a) reproduce, distribute, transmit, publicly perform and publicly display the Materials, in whole or in part, in any manner and Media, (b) modify, adapt, translate and create derivative works from the Materials, in whole or in part, in any manner and Media, and (c) sublicense the foregoing rights, in whole or in part, to any third party, with or without a fee.


grant to Amazon, its Affiliates and sublicencees a worldwide, nonexclusive, royalty-free, perpetual, right and licence to use all trademarks, trade names, and the names and likenesses of any individuals that appear in the Materials.

Always worth checking the small print.  I’ll certainly not be uploading any of my photographs.  Why would Amazon assume to take ownership?  Because they can is the answer I guess. I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions.  I’ve heard a lot about Amazon lately that makes me less and less inclined to warm to them as a business, not least their very successful tax avoidance strategies and the way they treat their staff.  It seems they’re not above ripping off their customer’s artwork either.





58 responses

  1. Reblogged this on Just Snaps and commented:
    So many reasons to read all terms and conditions. Be warned – click through to read the full original post. Thanks to Cornwall Photographic for bringing it to our attention.

    December 10, 2014 at 6:19 pm

  2. Thank you for the warning. It’s so easy to just click without reading. So Amazon stands alongside The National Trust and more.

    Beautiful photograph to illustrate the point.

    December 10, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    • Thank you Myfanwy! Like you say, so easy to just click through.

      December 10, 2014 at 6:23 pm

  3. Bill Allsopp Photography

    Absolutely horrifying, thank you for advising us. Lovely picture though.

    December 10, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    • Thank you Bill. I had a suspicion which is why I checked and didn’t just agree which is, after all, what most of us do when we use sites like Amazon. I still couldn’t quite believe it when I read the T&Cs though.

      December 10, 2014 at 6:55 pm

  4. What a cheek!

    December 10, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    • My words exactly Patti although there might have been an expletive in there also. :-)

      December 10, 2014 at 6:56 pm

  5. Why am I not in the least bit surprised? I am very cynical about some companies….

    December 10, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    • Me too Sue which is why I checked. I was still quite shocked to see it though.

      December 10, 2014 at 7:51 pm

      • I’ve given up being shocked…and one of the reasons I rarely use Flickr.

        December 10, 2014 at 8:30 pm

      • I’ve never used Flickr, sounds like it’s best I don’t start..

        December 10, 2014 at 8:33 pm

      • Don’t!

        December 10, 2014 at 9:06 pm

  6. The clouds makes the sky very dramatic, splendid photowork!

    December 10, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    • Thank you very much Hans!

      December 10, 2014 at 7:52 pm

  7. Lovely photo – horrifying experience

    December 10, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    • Thank you Anne Christine. This just seems par for the course with large corporations now.

      December 10, 2014 at 8:01 pm

      • :-(

        December 10, 2014 at 8:05 pm

  8. Emilio Pasquale

    Wow. I usually just check the appropriate box without fully reading the terms. You never know what these companies will sneak into their “agreement”. Thank you!

    December 10, 2014 at 7:56 pm

    • I think it’s something we are all guilty of Emilio, just ticking the boxes.

      December 10, 2014 at 8:03 pm

  9. poppytump

    Easy to be hoodwinked by these companies ChillB , we are all in a tearing hurry come Christmas time and it would be much too easy not to check out the details . Thank you for the warning …
    Aside from that … I love this picture, the colours and sheer space … stupendous … just as it is .
    Much better to speed on by in my view , as many who remark on this geysir .. it is nothing compared to say – and I’ve not seen but would like to – Old Faithful in Yellowstone Park … It comes down to location location location :-)

    December 10, 2014 at 8:27 pm

    • Very easy Poppy. We just tick the boxes don’t we. There is such a thing as unfair contract terms but what a hassle (not to mention expensive) to take on an organisation like Amazon in the courts if you saw your picture appear on one of their own gift cards.
      I really enjoyed the area around Geysir. I got some lovely shots without actually trekking to the site of the geyser itself. Apparently the English word geyser is derived from the Icelandic word Geysir which in turn is derived from the Icelandic verb geysa, meaning to gush. Just thought I’d throw that in! :-)

      December 10, 2014 at 8:41 pm

  10. Absolutely beautiful!

    December 10, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    • Thank you Laura! :-)

      December 10, 2014 at 10:11 pm

      • You’re welcome!

        December 11, 2014 at 12:59 am

  11. wow !!

    December 10, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    • Thank you Gwennie! :-)

      December 10, 2014 at 10:15 pm

  12. Wonderful photo, Adrian. That sky is really fantastic. Always read the small print is a rule in our house. Glad you didn’t give Amazon the sole rights to any of your pics. What a cheek!

    December 10, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    • Thank you Sylvia. That’s a very good rule to stick by. It can be a trial sometimes wading through it but it makes sense to at least try. :-)

      December 10, 2014 at 10:15 pm

  13. Lovely photowork, Adrian and thank you for the warning!

    December 10, 2014 at 11:18 pm

    • Thank you very much Dina! :-)

      December 11, 2014 at 8:07 am

  14. Great colors in the photo.

    December 11, 2014 at 12:07 am

    • Thank you very much Lou! The colours were extraordinary!

      December 11, 2014 at 8:08 am

  15. What, they too! What is bocomming of the world? Good of you to spread this information. It is a sad situation, but your photo inspire. :)

    December 11, 2014 at 1:39 am

    • Thank you so much Bente. It seems the corporations are in charge, or at least they think they are.

      December 11, 2014 at 8:09 am

  16. Thanks for the warning. In spite of it seeming so unequivocal I can’t help but hope that it’s not the case – probably a bit like me wanting to believe in spite of all the contrary evidence that Lance Armstrong was riding clean!
    I must admit I tend to trawl through all the Ts&Cs – left over from work I guess! It’s amazing how many photography competitions, particularly the smaller ones, have similar conditions of entry.

    December 11, 2014 at 9:54 am

    • I’ve always made a point of checking the T&Cs for photography competitions. As you say, it’s amazing how many take ownership of your entries. Some of the larger ones too. We just have be be aware I guess and always check.

      December 11, 2014 at 11:00 am

  17. Glorious photograph Adrian, absolutely beautiful. As for Amazon, sadly I did upload a photograph to do a gift card for a friend. Appreciate the warning, rest assured it will be my last upload to them!

    December 11, 2014 at 4:16 pm

    • Thank you very much Tina. Sending a personalised gift card is such a nice thing to do. I so very nearly ticked the box to agree to the terms. I then jokingly said ‘I’ll check the terms’, laughing, and then started reciting what I thought would be a joke set of terms. It was a shock to see my joke terms were so very close to the actual ones. I really can’t understand why Amazon feel they have to take ownership of any images uploaded. They really don’t have any right to of course. It’s a shame such a nice idea has to ruined in this way. I wonder how many people out there don’t realise they now don’t own the copyright to their pictures.

      December 11, 2014 at 4:29 pm

  18. I think this photograph is as close as one could come to capturing the landscape in silk. Amazing and beautiful!
    It’s ridiculous and sad what huge corporations try to (and do!) get away with.

    December 11, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    • Thank you Karen, yes silk describes the image very well. It was the light along with the landscape that made the photography so special. Just six hours of daylight, the sun very low in the sky all day. Six hours of ‘golden hour’ like light. Wonderful to work with.
      As for Amazon, like you say, these corporations have far too much power now and very little regard for anyone, not least their staff, their customers, it’s quite frightening now that they think they are above our governments also.

      December 11, 2014 at 7:07 pm

  19. Another great image, Adrian. And as for Amazon – another disgraceful attitude to the rights of artists. As bad as Facebook. When will a major newspaper get hold of this idea and run with it, then we might see how many people there are out there who vote with their feet and switch allegiance.

    December 11, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    • Thank you Andy. This situation really does need to be tackled. These multinational now have far too much power and as I said to Karen, have very little regard for their customers who they treat with contempt, their staff, they don’t pay tax, our politicians let them get away with it and they really seem to think they are above the law. It’s very worrying and unless we have government with some backbone and will to stand up to them, it can only get worse. Government policy is already being dictated by them and the democratic process as a result is being seriously undermined. Our rights as artists just don’t figure. We do collectively need to start fighting back and voting with our feet. The only thing that is going to make a difference is if these company’s bottom line starts taking a hit but rampant consumerism knows no bounds it seems as we saw on black Friday. :-(

      December 11, 2014 at 7:17 pm

  20. glorious photo Adrian. I’d love to receive it as a card! Have you tried and other artist-focused marketplaces?

    December 12, 2014 at 3:14 am

    • Thank you Marina! I have had a look at Etsy. I just wanted to send a gift card. I didn’t think it would mean losing the copyright to my photo!

      December 12, 2014 at 8:37 am

      • You should sell these as gift cards ;)

        December 12, 2014 at 6:35 pm

      • Thank you Marina! I really should investigate that! :-)

        December 12, 2014 at 7:04 pm

      • One year I bought all of my family’s Christmas gifts on etsy. It felt really good to support artists :)

        December 13, 2014 at 6:51 pm

      • I bet it did. I will take a look and perhaps join up. :-)

        December 13, 2014 at 8:10 pm

      • Let me know!

        December 14, 2014 at 3:20 am

      • I will! :-)

        December 14, 2014 at 8:58 am

  21. Girl Gone Expat

    The picture is stunning, love the smooth colour combination in it. And thanks for making us all aware of the Amazon terms! I seldom read the ‘little text’ but should probably do so more often based on your finding. Very often is feels like the companies are trying to hide their terms and conditions in a language you have to be a lawyer to understand.

    December 12, 2014 at 5:31 am

    • Thank you Inger. It’s so easy just to check the boxes but we really do need to be aware of what rights we might be signing away, especially in this day and age.

      December 12, 2014 at 2:02 pm

  22. Beautiful image Adrian…..perfect for a Christmas Card….the bleakness of a winter landscape, but very peaceful. Amazon….don’t you just love the tax avoiding bunch of……! I try to use them less and less now…..but sometimes they are very convenient.

    December 12, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    • Thanks Mark and quite, when it comes to Amazon. I saw that tax chap from Amazon defending their record on tax claiming they’re not breaking any laws etc etc. It seems corporations have no morality. Maybe members of these boards do on a personal level but they are judged by the company’s bottom line and that leads to unethical business sadly. As you say, for consumers it comes down to convenience.

      December 12, 2014 at 2:01 pm

  23. Stunning!

    December 14, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    • Thank you Robyn! :-)

      December 14, 2014 at 9:27 pm

  24. I’m curious as to where in the T&C you saw that … I’ve just read through the T&C for the Prime Photo Storage, and see nothing about granting Amazon rights to photos. (I use a different cloud storage, but had thought about putting some photos in the Amazon storage, since it’s part of the Prime Membership benefits anyway … I thought it would be a good place to put the general photos … family stuff, etc.) I even uploaded a photo, and there was no “I agree to …” box to check when I uploaded the photo …. Maybe I’m missing it?

    January 2, 2015 at 11:23 pm

    • I don’t know about Prime Photo Storage John. These terms and conditions were associated purely with uploading a photograph to use on an Amazon gift card. I would imagine cloud storage would have different T&C’s.

      January 2, 2015 at 11:41 pm