Running An Intellectual Property Rights Grabbing Contest Isn’t A Good PR Move

Laura Zabel, Executive Director of the awesome Springboard for the Arts posted a important Twitter thread on being mindful about the way you solicit creative work from the community.

Read the whole thread, it is short but she makes the important point that you may be asking creatives to do a lot of free labor on spec and if there is only a couple winners, most won’t see any sort of reimbursement for their time. She suggests that a request for proposals (RFP) might be more appropriate. She likewise reminds readers to make sure the planned remuneration, whether it is contest prize or fee for services, is appropriate for the level of effort people will need to invest in your project.

Perhaps most importantly, she urges people not to use any language which claims all the intellectual property rights for anything that is submitted. She notes that many templates have this language in it so even if it isn’t your intention, you could be making a “rights grab.

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker ( website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (

I am currently the Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to Butts In The Seats and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Thank you for subscribing.

Please enter a valid email address

Leave a Comment

Send this to a friend