LG Comp on the front page

sounds like horrible terms…

“For all Designs: Failure of any Design to comply with the above Guidelines and
Restrictions, as determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion, may result in
disqualification. All Designs will become the exclusive property of Sponsor, and none
will be acknowledged or returned. You hereby waive any moral rights or any equivalent
rights regarding the form or extent of any alteration to the Design or the making of any
derivative works based on the Design, including, without limitation, photographs,
drawings or other visual reproductions or the Design, in any medium, for any purpose.
You acknowledge that LG owns all Designs whether patentable or unpatentable, and all
works of authorship, whether copyrightable or uncopyrightable, made, developed,
conceived, acquired, devised, discovered or created by you for this Contest. BY
its sole discretion, publish or exhibit the Design in whole or in part, alone or in
combination with other Designs, and that the Design may be changed, altered, edited or
modified, used in distorted, illusory or composite form, or in any other manner, as solely
determined by Sponsor. Sponsor may or may not, in its sole discretion, pursue
production of any Design submitted. Sponsor is not responsible for lost, late, incomplete,
invalid, unintelligible or misdirected Designs, which are void. You understand and
acknowledge that LG is in the business of designing and manufacturing mobile handsets
and therefore does not agree to treat your entry as secret or confidential. You also
acknowledge that a mobile phone designed independently by LG may be similar to your
Design. Accordingly, you release LG from any and all claims, liability or causes of action
arising from or related to the Design, and you will not be entitled to any compensation
from LG with respect to your entry or the Design other than as provided to winners of the

I would expect more from a design centered company like LG.

I HATE that spec work has become acceptable in the world of Corporate sponsored competitions. No professional or aspiring professional should support these things.

I would just be interested in getting credit but it sounds like they are just trying con a bunch of people into giving them a jolt of creativity without hiring a consultancy.

this might be common practice, but as mentioned above, it’s not cool.

Definitely sounds like a free mass brainstorming session but then again, the same could be said for almost any competition. But it’s this contract that really makes it sound fishy.

My biggest issue is that they are claiming all rights and IP for ALL entries submitted for the contest. Not to mention the contest is specific in its direction towards LG’s future mobile platforms. Its not like Bombay holding a martini glass comp.

It is a tough environment out there for many out of work designers and recent grads. This, unfortunately will probably increase the participation, a opportunity which I am sure is not lost on the contest holders.

It is the definition of abusing the dynamics of spec work under the guise of a competition. Core77 shouldn’t be supporting this, they should be condemning it.

I would say that for a $20k first prize, 10k second prize and 40 more peeps taking 1k home plus a phone, thats not bad. There are VERY FEW competitions that give out that amount of cash, and to that amount of people. Im not working in the cell phone industry, but if I win 20k, hell thats more than enough for me to give them the IP they want…its just a few sketches anyways.

Secondly, I doubt there’s gonna be a huge technological revolution in any of the entries and stuff the LG crew hasnt already pondered…its mostly designers entering their sketches. I doubt any of the entries will contain technology based on secret research and valuable IP.

Condemn contests that screw the designer. This one at least has a pretty decent payout in my opinion.

See also wePC

Having been at the receiving end of this stuff, it’s safe to say that “crowd-sourcing” ploys like this say as much about the intellectual bankruptcy around the process as it is does about the struggle for viable ideas.

@ d-flux: With respect, I think you’ve missed the point. It’s not that $20K isn’t generous if you win - I agree that it is - it’s that LG gets the exclusive rights to all designs that are entered. So let’s say you come up with something new and revolutionary that LG want to patent and exploit. They don’t award you a prize, because that would publicise your idea and, in some countries, invalidate the patent. But they do prevent you from showing it in your portfolio, from making any claim for compensation, and even from being acknowledged as the designer/inventor.

I’m not saying that LG would act in this way, but by accepting the terms and conditions you give them permission to do so.

what Matt___ said.

If you don’t understand why Spec work is bad for the design industry I suggest you read up on it.

Competitions can be a very healthy form of creative output and interaction with the masses on the interwebs, but this is exploitative IMO.

This is a pretty typical set of legal rules in design competitions.

The idea that you will come up with anything that new and innovative is pretty funny. Most likely anything that is entered will be derivative and already in development by somebody somewhere if it hasn’t been done already. If you have something that revolutionary… don’t enter into what is essentially a beauty contest.

These types of rules usually server to protect the company from entrants. Lets say you come up with a cool flip hinge for your entry and LG already has something very similar in development. They don’t pick your idea to win because they already have something similar g that you happened to not be aware of because it was confidential. 18 months later LG produces this phone with a very similar hinge to your idea. You sew them. Its a mess. These rules prevent that.

That summary shows why these kind of competitions are flawed and the issues Corps have with opening up to the masses…ownership.

I totally see your point. But like I said, and Yo put more eloquently than I could, I doubt anything revolutionary will be entered that would warrant that kind of worry. If you have something patentable that you’ve poured incredible amounts of research on, you wouldnt be entering it in any competitions. We are worrying about the IP of a bunch of sketches that have all probably at one point passed through most companies at the idea stage. It is also set far enough in the future where most ideas would not be feasible/profitable anytime soon.

For me, it’s not really about how likely someone is to come up with an amazing patentable idea, it’s about how the company treats the designers who are entering. Whilst it’s true that this is a pretty typical set of rules, it doesn’t have to be done that way. In Nokia’s recent headphones competition the company received non-exclusive rights, meaning you were free to do whatever you wanted with your work, including selling it to someone else. Other competitions only claim rights to those designs selected as winners, ie only to those designs which have been paid for by awarding a prize. In any contract, you have to assume that everything that’s written is there for a reason. LG chose to word their contract in this way, I think it’s reasonable to question why.

In any case, LG are not just claiming patent rights, they are claiming that ALL intellectual property rights transfer to them. That could include styling, as well as a pattern, a graphic, even the name of a design. I don’t think anyone could argue that all possible styles of mobile phone have already been done.

I’m sure if you put it in you portfolio you will be fine. They are not going to come after you to stop using a concept you did but they own the rights to… that is a PR nightmare.

unfortunately, this is the way most, if not all, competitions are set up.

I remember, fresh out of college, I applied to every single one. some projects I even made up specifically based upon the competition outline.

its design. and design for competitions, that just the way it is.

As you know, LG Electronics is a global electronics company constantly developing new design and other ideas for its technology. The rules relating to IP ownership have been designed to protect LG in the event we are developing new technologies or designs similar to the ones submitted by an entrant. We understand where you’re coming from, and that is why we tried to make the size of the prizes larger and award more winners than most other competitions (43 total).

Regarding the topic of spec work, crowdSPRING has talked and written about this subject numerous times in the past. For example, you’ll see their thoughts about it here:

100 percent correct.

Fair enough, as I said in my first post it’s not that LG necessarily would act in an ‘exploitative’ way, just that the T&C’s give the right to do so. So, in order to make things clear and endorse what some have suggested on this thread, can you confirm that entrants will have the right to show work in a portfolio and identify themselves as the originator of an idea or design, and will the T&C’s be adjusted to reflect this?

If your answer is yes, I would have no problem encouraging people to enter the competition.

I just wonder what LG thinks they will get out of this…

with this set of rules and no way to later claim ownership by the designer, who would take this competition serious?
I for one would not submit an original well thought out idea.

what is the point of this competition? Promotion?
certainly not for the designer…

20 large is peanuts if LG would take it to a consultancy…

I think you guys are spinning out way too much. As I said, I’m sure they are not going to come after you for putting it in your portfolio… and I wouldn’t sneeze at 20g’s in my pocket. I think it is a good competition. I’m probably going to throw some ideas at it.

After reading the post linked by the LG rep (The NO!SPEC campaign vs. crowdSPRING – Signal v. Noise) it actually bolsters my feelings towards objecting to spec work.

Like I said before, competitions can be great…but now that we are getting into areas more elaborate than logo design, there needs to be a better solution than sponsors taking no risk and getting all the reward (-$20k I guess).

Matt 22 Sep 08

crowdSPRING’s argument sets up a bunch of straw-men arguments, so of course it’s easily able to knock them down.

OF COURSE amateurs can produce great designs.

OF COURSE hobbyists and underdogs and entrepreneurs should be able to compete with agencies.

The trouble is, that’s not the argument that AIGA or NO!SPEC make.

I work on the client side, and I frequently hire designers. It’s a tricky process – I want to hire the best, most qualified, most creative designer, but they’re hard to identify. The designers want to get hired, but they don’t want to invest too much time or effort, unless they have a reasonable likelihood of getting a return on that effort.

So, the best solution is one that has us share the risks, and share the cost. We’ll often pay for a designers time when they present, and we’ll often pay for a first round of preliminary creative. That way, we both have “skin in the game” – designers know we’re serious about hiring, and we know the designers are serious about competing. When we don’t pay for their time, we only expect them to compete on the basis of work they’ve already done – we don’t expect them to invest effort on OUR project.

crowdSPRING puts ALL of the cost, and ALL of the risk on the designers. As a potential client – it doesn’t cost anything for me to post a job request. Designers have no idea what chance they have of getting a job. Nevertheless, they need to make a significant effort of doing the work in advance.

I don’t see how crowdSPRING’s rant above addresses this.

Matt in the comments does a great job of explaining why crowdSPRING’s explanation of why its ok, isn’t.