Contest? No…not if that’s the prize

Contests can be a good thing for your creative business, but not when they are actually el cheap-o rights-grabbing clients masquerading as contests. I came across one of those recently on the HOW design forums.

GenArt is a NYC-based company that has as its “mission” (according to their site, for which I refuse to provide a link) to help artists (visual, film, and fashion) get recognized, and yet it only offers a $1000 prize to the designer who submits the winning entry for their NYC film festival advertising contest. For that $1000, the winner has to sign over their copyright to the work. How smarmy is that?

Now, I’m not saying that GenArt hasn’t done some good in the arts community, it has gotten some people recognized, etc., but what bothers me about it is that the website does not list the company as a not-for-profit anywhere AND it’s making plenty of money so it should therefore pay more for the rights for this (and other) contests. In fact, it shouldn’t even demand the copyright but instead ask for an exclusive unlimited license of some sort, with no 3rd party rights.

These people make their money not off the art they “promote” because they don’t promote art–they promote the sponsoring companies who advertise at the events which are chock full of trendy young folk with lots of money to spend. Acura is one of the main sponsors of this film event and contest. You’re telling me Acura can’t pony up more than $1000 for (essentially) its own advertising?!

The GenArt folk have a smart business and I applaud their brilliance in its concept and management. I just wish they would treat their artists with more financial respect.

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