A tale of two competitions

picture-7.pngOver the past few months we’ve seen good and bad ways of running competitions for user-generated content on the South African Internet.

Exhibit A: Apple South Africa’sGetPodcasting‘ Competition. In March, some eagle-eyed bloggers caught sight of the draconian terms and conditions on the site which didn’t enable people to use other content (for example, a soundtrack licenced under Creative Commons) and forced entrants to give up all their rights to the sponsor if they won (amongst other terms discussed by new CC South Africa volunteer, Paul Jacobson on chilibean.co.za). To their credit, Apple SA responded with a call for suggestions from Jacobson by saying that they would replace the old terms and conditions with his edited version within 30 minutes of receiving it. But, in the weeks that followed, instead of the terms and conditions being amended, they disappeared altogether from the site.

Today, the site has shut down and the content has disappeared. Because the terms didn’t allow for CC licencing, much of the content can’t be constructively reused or re-purposed.

Exhibit B: This week, BMW SA launched a competition on zoopy.com calling for submissions of video using the Creative Commons South Africa Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 licence. A couple of weeks ago, they invited me to chat to them about Creative Commons licencing and more recently, invited Paul Jacobson and Andrew Rens to help draft the wording for the terms and conditions, ensuring that entrants to the competition would all retain copyright and would licence their works to the public for non-commercial sharing according to the terms of the licence.

We think that this is an example of great ethical online business practice. Not only has BMW thoughtfully developed intellectual property rules with a ‘take only what you need’ approach, but its partnership with Zoopy shows us how the company is thinking of itself in terms of a local ecosystem of Internet players, rather than believing that it can build everything from scratch and retain all rights just ‘because it can’.

Now, because BMW has partnered with Zoopy and enabled entrants to use the CC licence that will permit down-the-line sharing, content that is developed from this competition will be available on other sites that showcase the video or develop non-commercial remixes out of it long after BMW has moved onto other promotions.

These two examples display the essence, not only of best practice in terms of intellectual property management of Web 2.0 projects, but of new relationships between the company and its public. We hope that this will act as a model for companies engaging and experimenting with the Web and its opportunities in South Africa in the future.

Thanks to Scott Gray for being a great pioneer in this space. We know that it’s not easy.

This was was first published on http://za.creativecommons.org.

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