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Gee Whiz, People

My apartment complex is having a writing contest this month. In 25o words or less, you must describe “what healthy living means to you in your neighborhood” and submit it with a picture. The entries will be posted on the internet and put up to public vote. After votes are tallied, the top 4 entrants will receive an iPad.

I deleted the newsletter when I got it, but the Fairy GodBoyfriend said, “You should enter this contest. Go win an iPad.”

I’d probably win, right? I have a great picture of a double rainbow over the apartment complex I bet they’d love to have. I could probably come up with something fairly fun and romantic in 250 words…and then have my 3000 Facebook friends vote on them and win. Right?

So I went online. The deadline is March 22nd — cool. And then, because I’m a writer, I went and read the complete rules. (You know, all those rules no one ever reads?) In the fine print, I found this section:

J. By emailing the Submission, each entrant agrees, for zero compensation, to grant to Sponsor all intellectual property rights in the Submission and each of its constituent parts, which rights include, without limitation, the Sponsor’s perpetual worldwide fully-transferable and irrevocable right to publish, modify (and make derivative works of), make available to the public, distribute, display, perform and reproduce the Submission through any and all media or formats, whether now known or hereafter developed, for any purpose, including without limitation, for administering and conducting the Contest or for the marketing, advertising and promotion of Archstone and its products and services. In addition, each entrant warrants that any so called “moral rights” in the Submission have been waived and entrant acknowledges and agrees that Sponsor may use any ideas from any Submission or other submitted materials, whether or not entrant has been awarded a prize in connection with any such Submission or other materials.

WOW. I mean, gee whiz, people. I get what you mean by putting this here, but no author in his or her right mind would EVER sign a contract with this wording. Assuming that said author hasn’t been roofied, he or she will probably see this run the other way…thus perpetuating that “healthy lifestyle” they’re dying to hear all about.

I’m torn now as to whether or not I want to enter. What do you guys think?

[Edited to add: The full contest rules can be found here: http://www.archstoneapartments.com/Apartments/2011_Find_Your_Fit_Story_Contest_Rules.htm]

Originally published at AletheaKontis.com. You can comment here or there.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 17th, 2011 03:46 pm (UTC)
It's work-for-hire - basically, they are asking you to write ad copy, and while it's the kind of contract a freelance fiction writer would normally run a mile from, it strikes me as perfectly standard WFH terms.

And they'll pay you (if you write the best copy) with an iPad, which last I looked was, what, $500? For 250 words? Which is $2 per word. Which is, y'know, pretty good, even for perpetual rights of perpetuity.

So unless you don't want an iPad, I fail to see a reason not to enter.
Mar. 18th, 2011 03:13 pm (UTC)
No, only if you win the contest do you get the iPad. This reads like any entrant will be turning over their work in perpetuity, et cetera, without any recompense.
Mar. 17th, 2011 04:20 pm (UTC)
The amazing thing is that you actually CAN'T sign away moral rights, even if you wanted to!
Mar. 17th, 2011 04:23 pm (UTC)
See...I wondered about that too. And if I'm writing about MY LIFE, doesn't that kind of make it *my* IP?

It's funny...most of the responses are: THIS IS HORRIBLE, RUN AWAY! followed by, "but then, it's only 250 words you're never going to need again. Go get an iPad."
Mar. 17th, 2011 09:39 pm (UTC)
This is not a work for hire sweatshop. It's a one shot deal of a business that's trying to drum up some glowing testimonials to use in their advertising while spending only $500.

What you risk is that they will still be using your testimonial in their advertising when you become America's premier author. And also that for brevity they may revise your entry into something you will cringe at every time you see because they rewrote it so badly.


Yay, a free iPad!
Mar. 18th, 2011 12:47 am (UTC)
I tripped over the "modify" part. Which I assume means that essentially they have the right to change your words to whatever they want. (And could meanwhile still say that you wrote it.)
Mar. 18th, 2011 03:14 pm (UTC)
Yeah, that got me too. So they'll attribute some smarmy shit to your name from here until eternity.
Mar. 18th, 2011 06:55 am (UTC)
Um. Wow. That's a little strident, dontcha think?
Mar. 18th, 2011 03:12 pm (UTC)
you don't take roofies, do you?
Mar. 18th, 2011 03:15 pm (UTC)
Seriously - the person winning isn't the only one signing their rights away. ANY entrant is losing rights to their entry, regardless of lack of iPad.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )


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