Creative Crowdsourcing from a Legal Perspective: The Diversity of Contributions

eYeka-the-legal-perspectiveAre you planning on engaging in creative crowdsourcing by requesting the assistance of a crowdsourcing platform? This article is part of the 3-part article about some of the main legal questions raised by the use of creative crowdsourcing by organizations. In this post, we focus on the diversity of creative contributions that brands can get from the crowd: From raw ideas to polished videos, from consumer creativity to professional work… eYeka can help you navigate the legal implications of this emerging field.

A diversity of possible creative content

Creative crowdsourcing covers a large range of potential content depending on the level of originality and expression of creativity expected from the community of creators. Creative expression is the consequence of the question addressed to the community by a company. This question reflects the expectation of a brand with respect to how the output will eventually help the company in various areas such as Product development, Branding, brand Positioning, Packaging, or Creative content creation.

As a company willing to open up to open creativity, you should be aware of the kind of content that a creative community is able to create. You should put this content into perspective with how you intend to use the output of the crowdsourcing project. Indeed each crowdsourcing platform develops its own community based on type of content that contributors are most likely to produce.

Ideas vs. IP-protected content

These are a few examples of some questions addressed to creative communities: Imagine a concept of a new TV show, think about products that use technology to track lost pets, create the packaging of a new bottle, create the logo of a web agency, create a video capturing a family moment with ice cream…

The entries submitted to these promotions do not express the same level of creativity and artistry: imagining a new TV show only implies to describe the general ideas of a concept without necessarily suggesting the title, the format, the different segments of the show, while videomakers will expressly how they personally feel about a family moment by putting together a film with a screenplay, actor direction, staging etc.

Ideas vs. Content. That is the question!

Ideas vs. Content. That is the question!

Basically, the entries submitted by a creative community fall within the two following categories: Ideas and Intellectual Property (IP) protected content.

  • Ideas:

Ideation refers to non-original expression of concepts and mundane ideas. This type of content falls out of the scope of IP protection because it fails to be defined with enough precision and gathers common / general ideas. Ideas cannot be exclusively owned nor subject to assignment or transfer.

Nevertheless, getting the creator’s expressed consent to use an idea is necessary in order to avoid risks of litigation. Indeed, a creator whose idea is used with no authorization could claim that his idea was the result of investments or specific know-how and that the company is liable for having profited from this investment.

  • IP protected works:

Works get to be protected by copyright as soon as they’re the original expression of ideas developed for an artistic or functional purpose. Copyright protect materials comprise of photographs, videos, applied arts designs, drawings, etc. IP rights on creative works can be subject to license or assignment contracts given that such rights can be assigned or lent by a creator to a company.

Obviously, the content submitted to creative promotions is rarely already patented content. Indeed, the purpose of such promotions is not to find inventive process or technology. Some online platforms, such as InnoCentive, have built their business model on finding solutions to these questions by gathering communities of IT experts who are able to take up such complex and specific challenges such as Low-cost Rainwater Storage System or Solar Powered Mosquito Repellant.

Whether they’re IP protected or not, all entries are worth something to the sponsor as long as they embody genuine insights from consumers

From amateur to professional content

The level of final execution may also depend on the qualification of the community. Before engaging with a creative crowd, the brand should check if the community is described as mainly composed of by amateur or professional creators.

Participants to eYeka's "Using co-creation to conquer the Chinese cosmetics market" whitepaper were mostly amateur consumers

Participants to eYeka’s whitepaper about the Chinese cosmetics market were mostly Chinese consumers

Works submitted by creative (amateur) consumers whose main qualities are a taste for expression and average skills in PowerPoint will be used mainly as a source of inspiration by the brand and may require post production work and a thorough check for clearance of unauthorized content. You’ll also find lots of design students or semiprofessionals with education in video making who are on the threshold of their professional lives. They may be able to create quality content but providing totally cleared content may not be the first thing they have in mind when creating.

A part of the community is also able to deliver professional, ready-to-be-broadcasted content

A part of the community is also able to deliver professional, ready-to-be-broadcasted content

On the other side, professional creators are able to provide ready-to-be-broadcasted-quality content which won’t need to be refined. They can also be expected to behave like professional video makers by giving the brand all the warranties that their content really is ready to be broadcasted quality content, for example by providing the releases and authorization forms signed by the people having provided material or whose image has been used in the submitted entries. The brand can rely on the professionalism of that kind of community because its members are used to dealing with such requirements.

As the world’s largest creative playground, eYeka’s community is mainly composed of amateurs and semi-professionals who all share a genuine love for creativity and expression. They participate in challenges because they are intrinsically motivated to connect with leading brands to solve real-world problems. It would be a shame not to tap into this resource… and we can help you make it happen on a legal standpoint. Get in touch!

About Eric Favreau

Eric has been eYeka's legal department for years, which makes him an experienced legal expert in open innovation and co-creation, and gives him a clear view of what can be expected from crowdsourcing on a legal perspective. His simple yet sharp writing style allows him to share his expertise about legal matters with everyone
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