The Great Design RIp-Off

Is it fair for global corporations to ask designers to create spec work on the promise of recognition and a potentially small payday? That appears to be what is happening on a mass scale. Doubleday posted a logo contest for a new Chuck Palahnuiuk project on Crowdspring, netting pages of responses. What happens to your work once you submit it? Who decides the outcome? And does the “client” need to select any of the choices? Where is the meaningful dialog between client and designer? As Wooster Collective points out, the majority of these competitions require artists to hand over all rights to their work, without compensation and regardless of if they are a lucky winner. From the April 12, 2009 Wooster post:

The Italian fashion brand Ellesse just launched a design competition called CREATE TENNIS ART in celebration of their 50th anniversary. The competition has a grand prize of €4,500.

And here’s bullet point #6 in the Terms and Conditions.

6. Ellesse shall own the entire copyright and all other rights in and to all of the entries to the Competition. By entering the Competition, entrants irrevocably grant and assign to Ellesse all rights in their entries and agree specifically to Ellesse’s unrestricted use of the same for Ellesse’s own purposes in all activities including, without limitation, marketing, promotion, distribution and sale worldwide as Ellesse sees fit, without any further payment or acknowledgement to the entrants. All copyright, intellectual property rights and all other proprietary rights whether now known or in the future created shall vest in Ellesse which it shall be solely entitled to register or otherwise protect at its own expense. By entering this Competition, you irrevocably assign to Ellesse all right, title and interest in and to all such intellectual property rights. You will co-operate fully in obtaining such registrations or other protection and shall execute such documents as Ellesse requires in order to give effect to this paragraph.

Know your rights.

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