ThinkGeek, that delicious haven, destination and veritable year-round Christmas morning bonanza, also sells tshirts! Geek tees. Usually quite clever, witty and terrifyingly geeky.
As I’ve designed a tee or two and once in a while am known to get my geek on, I was excited to note that ThinkGeek has a ‘Bounty Program’. In a nutshell: you can earn cash by submitting ideas for tees. I like cash!
To sweeten the deal, you can earn double the cash by also submitting artwork. I love double cash!
What could go wrong?
As it turns out, plenty. Now, I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV. But see for yourself: the terms and conditions include this particular nugget:
13. General Conditions (c) By submitting Entry, You hereby agree Design will be deemed a “work made for hire”, as that phrase is used in the United States copyright law, and all right, title and interest in and to the Design will vest automatically in Sponsor. To the extent the Design is not deemed to be a “work made for hire,” You hereby assign, transfer and convey, and agree to further assign, transfer and convey, to Sponsor any and all Your intellectual property or proprietary rights in the Design.
Did you catch that? Normally (in Canada and the US) when you create work, it’s automatically yours. You, the creator. But at ThinkGeek, when you submit artwork, you implicitly agree to automatically give away those creator rights. Those rights now belong to ThinkGeek. Forever.
Then there’s this other nugget:
(g) Entries become the property of the Sponsor and will not be returned.
In other words: when you submit artwork, it’s not only theirs, ThinkGeek doesn’t have to give you anything. Click ‘submit’ and you’ve just flushed your IP and/or artwork away. Wheee!
Artists be warned!
As much as you and I might be scratching ourselves raw for cash, hardware and self-respect – ThinkGeek’s bounty program will cost you your artwork and creator rights to that artwork in exchange for nothing. As much as you can, protect your creative work by knowing your creator rights.