Nick Hanson disqualified 2016 & 2015 SLPOTY awards.

26th March 2018

After careful and thorough consideration, it is with regret that the Competition places on record, that Nick Hanson has been disqualified for the 2016 Competition and stripped of the overall title. His 2015 Runner Up award is annulled.

The Competition places on record that the overall winner of the 2016 “Scottish Landscape Photographer of Year” is Christopher Swan.

On what grounds were the Titles stripped?

1. Submitting an image that broke the Competition’s rules.
2. Unauthorised promotion of his awards for commercial purposes.

1. Which image broke the Competition’s rules?

Autumn in Glen Affric

Why did it break the rules?

Section 14.1 (ii) of the rules require photographers to confirm and warrant that “they are the sole author of each entry and it is their own original work”. Additional clarification of this rule is set out in the FAQs that images captured during photography workshops or 1-2-1 workshops are not eligible for any of the main awards or the overall title, but may be eligible for a commendation. Information provided to the Competition cast doubt the eligibility of Nick Hanson’s images – specifically that they had been taken during a 1-2-1 photography workshop. Nick Hanson did not declare this when he was asked to provide information about his images when he entered and had this been known to the Competition, he would not have been shortlisted for a main award.

Image below shows the information provided to Competition with no mention of 1-2-1 workshop (click to enlarge)

The information about his image being taken at a 1-2-1 workshop only came to light recently, when an interview he gave, and a blog on his new website were brought to the Competition’s attention. It is clear from the published interview and his website that the image “Autumn in Glen Affric” was captured during a 1-2-1 workshop, and was therefore not eligible for the main award. (Click images below)

NOTE: The Competition stresses in the strongest terms that it is not in any way passing judgement on any individual who chooses to take part in a workshop or 1-2-1 tuition. On the contrary, the Competition strongly encourages anyone who chooses to take part in a workshop to do so. However, for clarity, and for the purposes of this Competition and winning the overall title, entries that were captured under at a workshop or 1-2-1 cannot be considered sole or original work. Quite clearly, any photographer paying for tuition at a workshop (and especially a 1-2-1) is relying on the tutor to provide the expertise, guidance and locations, therefore the tutor must be considered to have played a significant part in capturing those images. The Competition has no way of knowing whether the tutor may have done the majority of the work, such as lining up the image, composing the shot etc so that the photographer only had to press the shutter.

Nick Hanson is therefore stripped of the Overall winner’s title.

2. Unauthorised promotion of his awards for commercial purposes

The Competition exists to promote photographers and raise their profiles, and its awards play a vital part it fulfilling that aim. The competition therefore, allows (and encourages) award winners to make use of their awards to promote themselves and their own personal endeavours. However, to protect the goodwill and generosity of its Sponsors, the Competition does not permit any photographer to hand over their awards to a 3rd party company to be used for commercial purposes.

When Nick Hanson was awarded his Runner Up award in the 2015 Competition, he contacted us to say that his employer wanted to publicise his award on their company website. However, when the Competition looked closer at his request, it was clear that his employer was using the opportunity to exploit Nick Hanson’s award to enhance his Company’s reputation and make profit from the Competition’s name. It was clear also that the public could be easily misled into buying his employer’s services or be given the impression that his employer’s Company was endorsed by the Competition, which is clearly wasn’t. It should also be noted that his employer made no offer to credit the Competition or enter into a commercial arrangement as is standard practice with any lawful commercial trade. It would be unfair also, to all other prize winners of the Competition who made similar requests as well as infringing the rights and goodwill of the Competition’s sponsors. Nick Hanson was informed that this was against the Competition’s terms, but to enable him to understand fully, he was given a thorough explanation of the reasons why. He understood that he won the award, not his employer and confirmed that he would abide by the Competition’s rules.

Despite this, it emerged in 2017 & 2018 that Mr Hanson and his employer had ignored the Competition’s rules and was advertising commercially regardless.

Both Mr Hanson and his employer were asked to refrain from using the awards for commercial purposes, but our requests were unsuccessful. The Competition made further attempts with Mr Hanson for some time but all efforts were ultimately unsuccessful.

It must be stressed in the strongest terms, that the Competition had absolutely no desire to reach this outcome, however having exhausted all efforts, the Competition was left with no option.

What do the rules say?

14.2. Each entrant acknowledges that entry into the Competition does not grant them any rights in any intellectual property of the Competition (See section 15). Each entrant agrees not to use any names, titles, logos or other intellectual property rights to make any public statement that may mislead the public or bring the Competition, and/or its Sponsors into disrepute.

15. Copyright, intellectual property & permissions (The Competitiion and Organisers).

15.1 Use of branding, Awards, Commendations and Titles by entrants. The brand and term “The Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year” is the intellectual property of the Competion. All Awards, Commendations and Titles thereof are also the intellectual property of the Competition. Use of Awards, Commendations and Titles are granted to and restricted to entrants having won an award, commendation or a title and may only be used to include the term “The Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year” to promote their images, products and services (e.g. workshops) on their own personal websites, personal endeavours or existing self employed endeavours. Any unauthorised use of the Competition’s intellectual property shall be considered a breach of the Competition’s intellectual property and an infingement of the copyright of the Competition.

15.1.2 Commercial use. The definition of Commercial use is a broad legal term whereby any activity that generates income for an organisation is Commercial use. Commercial use of the Competition’s intellectual property, branding, awards, commendations and titles is strictly forbidden for all entrants outside of personal endeavours. For clarity, the Competition recognises that entrants may have existing endeavours which generate income for themselves, therefore it is permitted for that entrant to list any award, commendation or title they have won on their existing endeavours. For example, an entrant that has an established personal or self employed business selling prints or workshops, they may include their award on their website, social media pages and business cards.

Entrants may not list their award, commendation or title on any third party company, employer, shop or organisation’s material that generates income for that company. For example, if an award winner works for a printing company selling prints or a photography tour company selling workshops, they may not allow their employer to list or advertise their award, commendation or title on their websites, social media pages or advertising material. The entrant’s employer did not win the award and is therefore not legally entitled to generate income from it. Listing of awards on commercial endeavours can also mislead the general public, therefore it is the responsibility of the award winner to ensure that their employers do not exploit the Competition’s intellectual property by listing awards on any commercial endeavour. Award winners that knowingly and intentionally allow their awards to be listed on their employer’s or any third party’s commercial endeavours shall be in breach of the Competition’s Terms.

17.1 The Organisers reserve the right to retrospectively disqualify, annul and/or revoke the titles and/or commendations of any entrant that breaches the rules, partakes in unauthorised commercial use of the Competition’s intellectual property, or any activity that brings the organisers, judges, sponsors or other entrants into disrepute.

17.2 In the event of any entrant’s award, commendation or title being annuled, revoked or disqualified, the Competition reserves the right to seek reimbursement of any/all prizes. In addition, the disqualified entrant must remove all awards and/or titles from their personal endeaviours, websites, social media accounts etc. The disqualified entrant may not trade or make any claims to any award that has been revoked and to continue to do so will constitute an infringemnet of the competition’s intellectual property and copyright, and therefore a breach of UK copyright laws.

What does this disqualification mean?

The Competition no longer recognises Nick Hanson as either Runner up or Overall Winner of the Competition. He is not eligible to enter the Competition at any point in the future or use the title of winner or runner up of “The Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year” in any way to promote himself on a personal or commercial level. The public and media are requested not to refer to Mr Hanson as a winner of the Competition and where possible, to remove any reference to Mr Hanson as winner of the Competition from their websites, blogs etc.

Will the titles be awarded to another entrant?

Yes, the overall title “Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year” is Christopher Swan