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Apple, facing protests, says it'll pay #ShotOniPhone photo contest winners

"Apple believes strongly that artists should be compensated for their work," the company responds.

Apple for years has publicized the creative possibilities of its smartphones with the #ShotOniPhone hashtag, here used on the company's Instagram page.

Apple for years has publicized the creative possibilities of its smartphones with the #ShotOniPhone hashtag, here used on the company's Instagram page.

Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Facing complaints from photographers, Apple has changed its #ShotOniPhone photo contest to pay the 10 winners.

Apple announced the iPhone photo contest this week, offering winners a chance to see their photos on billboards, in Apple stores and in other marketing efforts as Apple publicized the phones and the photos. Plenty of people have submitted entries on Twitter and Instagram, but others objected to the fact that Apple didn't promise any sort of prize money.

"Dear @Apple, this was #ShotOnIphone, but I'd rather not be #ExploitedByApple," tweeted photographer David Hobby, showing a dramatic photo of a gull with wings outstretched. "You are a super-rich company. You should #paythephotographers."

Evidently Apple was persuaded by the viewpoint.

"Apple believes strongly that artists should be compensated for their work," the Apple contest announcement now reads. "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."

Apple tries hard to promote its phones, tablets and PCs as superior tools for creative types, and it's earned an impressively large and loyal customer base. But the prize-money fracas showed some of the limits to that enthusiasm. With a global stock-photo market and plenty of people willing to give their photos away for free, professional photographers face plenty of challenges making a living in the digital age.

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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