This post is the second of a series about legal questions for organizations. In our first post, we differentiated raw ideas from IP-protected, original creative work: « From raw ideas to polished videos, from consumer creativity to professional work… eYeka can help you navigate the legal implications of this emerging field. » Today, we will specifically look at eYeka’s IP policy, and why we think it’s a win-win situation for both creators and companies.
Ask yourself: How will you use the content?
Crowdsourcing projects are skill-based contests where some submissions are selected by the sponsor in order to be used afterwards in the conditions defined in the terms and conditions. Selection and use of the entries are core elements of crowdsourcing, and companies must decide how they intend to use the entries. So, before engaging with a creative crowd, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I want exclusive rights on the entries?
- Do I want to use all the entries or just those I’ll select (the winners)?
- Does it bother to me if participants can submit their entries to another contest?
Once these questions have been answered internally, you should check how different crowdsourcing vendors offer to address these IP matters. Each creative crowdsourcing platform has developed specific terms, processes and documentation to manage IP rights: some enable the company to acquire exclusive rights on all submitted entries (without the need to pay creators in exchange), whereas others only enable the company to get non-exclusive rights on the submissions. At eYeka, we are part of the second group: creators keep all rights on their creations, unless the company rewards them with a prize, in which case the intellectual property is transferred to the sponsor.
How we manage IP at EYEKA
A company organizing a crowdsourcing contest on eYeka is granted non-exclusive rights on all entries, meaning that participants to an eYeka contest grant a license allowing the company to use all entries (for a one year period) for the following uses: 1 / communication use and 2 / analysis use. As this license is non-exclusive…
…participants retain their rights on their entries and are entitled to sell the entries to another company.
On the other side, to protect our clients against claims based on parasitism or stealing of ideas, eYeka’s terms and conditions also state that participants expressly authorize the use of their ideas by the sponsor. All participants indeed allow the company to produce and market objects, products and services premised upon the ideas, themes and/or concepts developed in the submissions.
We believe that all entries may be worthy to the company, this is why our IP policy allows a company to make use of all entries.
While companies can get inspired by all entries, they can not use all entries as they want. To do that, clients have to « buy » the best entries by selecting them as winners and paying the creators prize money. If the winner agrees (he can refuse if he’s not satisfied with the prize), the company gets exclusive ownership on these best entries, selected because of their quality and relevance to the contest criteria.
Winning entries can also be used by the company to gain new IP rights such as trademarks, patents or industrial designs
We think that creators’ interest is not jeopardized by this system as there’s a fair balance between the creators’ obligations and their compensation. Creators of winning entries receive money as a compensation for the assignment of IP rights, while non-winners are not deprived of any of their rights given that they remain sole right holder on their submissions. Companies get the right to be inspired by the overall output of the crowd, but they only get full IP rights on the rewarded submissions. Sounds fair?