It’s becoming more common for companies and other groups to run contests to flush out new ideas in a field, for example, YarcData are offering $100,000 prize money for a contest about doing stuff with big RDF graphs.
This contest is pretty tempting, but the conditions below worry me a little.
7. YarcData’s and Cray’s Ownership of Submissions: Each Submission, including, without limitation, all contents, concepts and ideas embodied therein, becomes the exclusive property of YarcData and Cray, may be used by YarcData and Cray for marketing and other promotional purposes, and will not be returned by YarcData or Cray. By entering a Submission, each Entrant hereby irrevocably assigns to YarcData and Cray all right, title and interest in and to such Submission, including, without limitation, all Rights related to the Submission without expectation of compensation or acknowledgement (other than the prize, if any, that is awarded as set forth in these Official Rules). Entrant waives any and all artistic and moral rights associated with his/her/their Submission. YarcData and Cray shall have no obligation to make attribution with respect to the Submission, retain any of the Submissions, or maintain any information or ideas contained therein, as confidential or proprietary.
8. Right to Use Name, Likeness, and Other Identifying Information: By entering a Submission, each Entrant hereby irrevocably consents to the unlimited reproduction, distribution, display, performance, and other use by YarcData and Cray and their respective successors and assigns of his/her/their name; image; likeness; voice; Submission; biographical information; statements and quotes; stories and anecdotes provided; all of his/her/their other personal or commercial attributes or identifying features; and any interior or exterior photographs or other depictions of the Entrant’s home or office, which may or may not contain images of the Entrant’s family, friends, or pets (each, a “Likeness”), for any purposes directly or indirectly related to this Competition, and in any format or medium now existing or later developed. Each Entrant hereby waives any and all rights of publicity and rights of privacy associated with YarcData’s and Cray’s use of a Likeness. YarcData and Cray may, in their sole discretion, and without providing notice to or receiving consent from an Entrant, modify, change, adapt, or otherwise alter a Likeness. Entrants shall have no right of approval, no claim to compensation, and no claim (including, without limitation, claims based on invasion of privacy, defamation, or right of publicity) arising out of any use, blurring, alteration, or use in composite form of a Likeness. The rights granted under this paragraph are without compensation or notification to the Entrant of any kind, except as required by law, and shall extend to all Submissions, all other materials submitted by Entrant, and all other materials developed in connection with the Competition, regardless of whether they are developed by the Entrant or another person or entity.
I’m not a lawyer, but the above implies to me that if you enter the contest and win nothing they can still use your ideas and not even credit you. That’s not a good situation to end up in.
You assign them your rights, which sounds like you give up your own title to the submission. Does this mean you couldn’t enter it somewhere else as they now own it?
The reason for my concern is that I work with the students on the Electronics and Computer Science courses at Southampton and they enter and win contests.
They also have ideas at University that make their careers; AudioScrobbler is now part of Last.fm and that began life as a 3rd year project here!
My concern is that we may need to have some basic rules about what contests we are willing to promote to our students.
Any ideas? Of the top of my head;
- Their work should not be used without attribution
- Transfer of ownership should not be a criteria of entry (although maybe a criteria for being awarded the prize)
- It is acceptable for the contest to require the work is open licensed (creative commons, open source etc), as that benefits the entire community and is a clear choice for the student to do or not do.
Can anyone suggest anything better? Should we have a guide for companies of what is or is not OK?