A friend sent me an announcement for a memoir contest sponsored by the Huffington Post and AOL. Top prize is a book contract with a major publishing house and $5,000. My friend knew I’d been thinking of writing a memoir about my four years abroad, first in England and Europe and then my stay in what is known today as Zimbabwe. I haven’t advanced far on the project. No more than 25 pages exist. Still, it was enough material to enter the contest.
At the website, I muddled through the many whereases and wherefors of the agreement until I nearly fell asleep. I’m glad I didn’t, however, because buried near the end was a condition to which no writer should agree.
Submission of an Initial Entry grants Sponsors and their agents the unconditional, irrevocable, perpetual, worldwide right to publish, use, adapt, edit and/or modify such Entry in any way, in any and all media, without limitation
In plain speak, an entrant gives his or her material to the sponsors, whether or not he or she wins or loses and without remuneration now and into the future for any use the sponsors make of it. In plainer terms, it’s theft of property.
I decided not to enter the contest. I understand the intent of the language is to protect the sponsors from a frivolous law suit – a complaint by a contestant that some book or movie produced later was based on his or her idea. But understanding the rationale doesn’t lessen the fact that what’s going on is the taking of intellectual property. Authors beware. Read contracts to the end, no matter how boring. Otherwise, you and your manuscript may soon be parted.
(Courtesy of blog.legalbistro.com)
*EULA – end user license agreement