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If you have ever attended one of my IP law trainings, I am sure you have heard me talk about sponsored competition by corporates and other commercial entities. One of the easiest ways to be duped into creating work for free is through competitions and promotion campaigns. I thought times have since changed, owing to the level of enlightenment I had perceived having been a trainer on matters IP for the last 10 years.

However, it seems this will always be a subject of discussion until the playing changes and corporations respect our intellectual property and treat it with the importance and value it deserves. At the end of the day, these sponsored competitions always have an end game which includes but is not limited to brand visibility, increased sales and creation of new value chains. As such, how on earth does one find it practical or prudent, to give a “Thank you” in exchange for submission of their intellectual property?

It has come to my attention that a multinational company has since put out on social media a sponsored writing competition. Have you seen the terms and conditions? We have had conversations among a few IP lawyers and we are truly disappointed and angered by this strategy. The strategy comes off as a freeloading attempt by a profit making entity to further enhance their brand.

We live in the era where content is King and the entertainment and arts industry is the proverbial rising phoenix; especially in our continent Africa. We should not condone such practices. We should refuse such campaigns and attempts that belittle the value of IP in the creative economy. The arts is one of the largest industries that employs the youth as well as talented minors who hope to carve a niche in this space. 

Submissions in the name of such competitions is a confirmation that the arts have no value; that they have no contribution to the economy. It is high time such practices are publicly shunned, exposed and boycotted. True, Contract Law is about a willing seller and a willing buyer, but perhaps we may need to re-think some of our legislative provisions to protect the vulnerabl.

Always read the terms and conditions ladies and gentlemen and in between the lines. You do not want to be taken advantage of in broad daylight yet to hold the cards. 

Do not be duped by such deceptive marketing strategies; be in it to win it! 

1 Comment

  • Meshack



    August 24, 2021 at 1:21 pm