As the title says, when you’re thinking about entering a remix competition, read the contest rules. If you don’t there might be some nasty surprises down the road for you. Of course you’ll probably have to sign some form of contract at some point, so you can always opt-out then, unless stated otherwise. So read through them carefully! And as they’re usually full of legal mumbo-jumbo, you could well read it twice, or more, without feeling bad about yourself.
So why am I talking about this, well I stumbled over a remix competition today that I though could be fun. But after reading through the rules I wouldn’t even poke it with a stick. Too bad. Nothing I can do about that, but at least it annoyed me enough to write this.
This competition had a ‘Work For Hire’ contract, which basically means you sign over any and all copyright and claim of your work to the, in this case, company hosting the competition (here, here and here for more info and in-depth articles on ‘Work For Hire’). And in addition they wanted personal information (name, address, phone nr. aso), notarized pictures of passport and/or id card and I don’t know what else, which they could use in any way they see fit, under applicable laws. And this is just a small part of what the rules for this specific competition said. I have come across similar ones before, but nothing quite like this, at least not that I remember.
Click to see a part of how a set of rules like this can look (expands inline).
4. Our Right to Use Your Work and Information about You
(a) Submission Materials and Your Remix become the property of ‘The Company’ and will not be acknowledged or returned.
(b) With the exception of any ‘The Company’ Content:
(i) you represent and warrant that: (A) all contents of Submission Materials are wholly original, have been created entirely by you, have not been taken in whole or in part from any source other than yourself and do not incorporate or include anything that is owned by any third party or would require the consent of any third party; (B) you own and/or control 100% of all right, title and interest in and to the Submission Materials, as well as all elements contained therein; (C) the Submission Materials do not and shall not violate any law or the copyright, trademark, publicity right, privacy right, or any other right of any third party; (D) the Submission Materials, or any part thereof, have not been commercially released; and (E) you have the written consent, release and/or permission of each and every participant in the Submission Material to participate in the Submission Materials as contemplated by these Official Contest Rules; and
(ii) you agree that the Submission Materials and Your Remix shall be a “work made for hire,” with all rights therein, including, without limitation, the exclusive copyright, being the property of ‘The Company’. In the event the Submission Materials and/or Your Remix are considered not to be a “work made for hire,” you irrevocably assign to Sponsor all right, title, and interest in the Submission Materials and Your Remix included in your entry (including, without limitation, the copyright) in any and all media whether now known or hereafter devised, in perpetuity, anywhere in the world, with the right to make any and all uses thereof, including, without limitation, for purposes of advertising or trade.
(c) You hereby hold Sponsors and Sponsors Parties harmless from and against any third party claim arising from use of the Submission Materials. You waive any right to privacy. You waive any right to inspect or approve uses of the Submission Materials or to be compensated for any such uses. You hereby represent and warrant that you and any other person whose performance is identifiable in the Submission Materials are at least 13 years of age, and that you have read these Official Contest Rules and are fully familiar with its contents.
(d) By providing Submission Materials in connection with this Contest, you grant to Sponsors, their affiliated companies, and Sponsors Parties the right, except where prohibited by law, to use (i) entry form information including your name, address (city and state), age, and e-mail address, (ii) if provided by you with your Submission Materials, your picture or other visual images, your likeness, your biographical information, and (iii) the Submission Materials and Your Remix, for advertising and promotional purposes in promoting or publicizing Your Remix, Sponsors, Sponsors Parties and their products and services, without compensation unless required by law. You 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 your name, picture, likeness, address (city and state), e-mail address, biographical information, or entry. The rights granted under this paragraph shall extend to Sponsors and their affiliated companies with respect to all entrants in the Contest, including the entrant who is selected as the Winner and those entrants who are not selected as the Winner. Sponsors and Sponsors Parties are under no obligation to use the Submission Materials or Your Remix for any purpose.
I know a lot of it is more or less standard fare but to me this reads more like a scam then anything else, a way to get their hands on a bunch of tunes, for practically nothing, that they in turn can use (if they wish) in commercials, for promotion, on albums, or whatever they want to do with it. I might of course have read it wrong, legal-speak is not my forte. If I did, my bad! But doing your remix under a ‘Work For Hire’ contract is not the way to go, unless you’re getting paid, in which case you can think about it. But if I read those rules correct it doesn’t matter if the ‘Work For Hire’ is applicable or not, the copyright and ownership of the remix goes to them anyway!!?
I know some of you will say, but you get the promotion and people will hear your stuff, that’s the important bit and so on. And yeah, I agree. Promotion is good, getting people to hear your music is good. Giving up your tune for nothing is not. Understand me right, I have no issues with doing collaborative things for free.. at all. You can use my tune for whatever just as long as I agree with what it’s used for and I keep the rights to my song, or keep my rights as a remixer/studio musician on someone elses copyrighted work (which is often the case when remixing a tune). At the very least I want the right to be credited lol. Which means if they monetize it in any way I will get a little piece of the pie, not too much too ask for I think. I mean, say I make a remix and they end up putting it in Tony Hawk 57, I sure as hell wanna get paid. But in this particular case, they take it all and they don’t even have to mention you in any credits anywhere what so ever… ever! So much for the promotion.
I think these kind of competitions are horrible. If you want my music for nothing, download it. But more or less trying to scam me into giving you music for free so you can make money off of it is not cool… on any level.
So read the rules kids… before you do anything else :)