Protecting UGC – our content!

I have spoken – publicly at conferences, and here on the blog – over the last couple of years at least, about the need for an unIndustry organisation to protect our content from interactive, new and digital media agencies, amongst others. Here’s another example of why (definatalie): Get FUNK’D! Say no to design contests. FUNK’D…

I have spoken – publicly at conferences, and here on the blog – over the last couple of years at least, about the need for an unIndustry organisation to protect our content from interactive, new and digital media agencies, amongst others. Here’s another example of why (definatalie):

Get FUNK’D! Say no to design contests.

FUNK’D have posted in the Red Bubble forums (and I suspect a few others) about their label competition. Please consider absolutely all the entry conditions before entering a design contest like this.

From their website’s FAQ:

Do you offer a cash prize?
We do not offer a cash prize. The winner will have their design printed on a min. of 10,000 bottles (along with their myspace or website URL) that will be distributed throughout Australia or Internationally.

Will my entries be returned?
No. Each entry will become the sole property of FUNK’D™.

By participating in this competition, you hereby release all rights to the submitted art work final to FUNK’D™. You must be the legal copywrite owner of the said artwork (design entry). Every design entry submitted becomes the exclusive property of FUNK’D™. By submitting a design, the designer thereby grants FUNK’D™ perpetual license to use the design on its press releases, advertising, and any other way it sees fit worldwide to promote the FUNK’D™ or GO GET FUNK’D™ brand.

In conclusion: You will not get your original artwork back, nor do you retain copyright and there is no cash prize. Basically they’re inviting potentially thousands of artists and designers to submit potentially thousands of entries, and will not pay them for their time, expertise or work.

We’re starting to see more ‘name and shame’ such behaviour – bring it on! – and here’s a great website ( if you are a designer and tired of being ripped off:

Welcome to NO!SPEC

The NO!SPEC campaign: Serves as a vehicle to unite those who support the notion that spec work devalues the potential of design and ultimately does a disservice to the client.

Our mission: To educate the public about speculative, or ‘spec’ work.

Our target: Those who use creative services, as well as creative professionals (designers, photographers, illustrators, typographers, writers and those in marketing, branding and advertising).

What you can do: Read NO!SPEC’s Protocols. Place a “NO!SPEC” logo on your site. Sign the NO!SPEC petition. Distribute the “NO!SPEC” posters. Contact us with your thoughts, comments, articles and insights.

Requirements: The only requirement for participation is putting the appropriate value on your profession.

Bring on the anti-branding, the anti-community. It’s time we learn’t to protect our own media – no-one else will!

hat tip: Tiara Shafiq

Similar Posts


  1. Thanks for linking to this – we really need to raise the profile of No!Spec so that companies (especially start ups) realise that it’s quite uncool to rip off designers.

  2. I love entering competitions like this because it helps to get my artwork out there and directs people to my graphic design profile on myspace.

  3. @Jessi … you should have more respect for your work hon. Doing stuff for free for friends and having them link back to you is fine: having your copyright snatched away is not. If you don’t win, they don’t link to you, but they still keep your design – think about that.

    I’d rather you set up a Free-the-design website where people could hook up with budding designers and do a trade – the design goes on the website or whatever, and then links back to the designer who keeps the copyright. Nice way for newbie web developers to get going, and a bit of advertising for the designer. Not wholesale taking of content by an agency!

  4. On the face of it, I’m not sure I see a huge problem here.

    When you’re looking to get started you’ll do pretty much anything to get going. We all did work experience for free, didn’t we? I know I did, and it was worth every penny I couldn’t afford to get on the train to London, crash at friends’ houses and be reduced to eating very little. I had a great time.

    You’d be crazy to keep submitting your work/time for free once you’ve had some success, but once or twice can’t hurt? Being used in a recognized campaign would do wonders for any designer’s CV.

    However, I say I don’t see a huge problem because I do think it’s low not to offer anything at all. Equally, however, an agency that repeatedly does this will inevitably end up labelled as a cheapo agency, would it not?

  5. err this isn’t work experience. Unless your work experience was being locked in a basement, photocopying crap, for free.

    I have no problems with communities moving into non-monetised community models, and having a great time doing it.

    But posting off “work on spec” having it vanish in the archives to turn up later as an award winning campaign, is not by any stretch of the imagination educational, career building or networking, is it?

  6. I see your point, and agree this is a particularly tough set of conditions, but entering competitions and winning is great experience and worthwhile for many people. If your time or design work is too precious to risk then you’re probably not going to be entering comps like this anyway.

    My work experience was hard and, yes, I did it for free and they own the copyright to the stories I wrote then. Boo Hoo. I wouldn’t necessarily do the same thing now as I don’t need to, but sacrificing a couple of good designs (or your time), when you’re starting out, isn’t a huge deal in the scheme of things.

    If you don’t like the terms, call them out (as done here) and don’t enter the competition.

  7. Aye Alex I think we are in agreement. Nothing wrong with a competition to get free content (host) and get promoted if winning (member). It’s just nicer and good marketing sense and less likely to cause a storm in a blogteacup if it’s done ethically. 🙂

  8. I’m with Alex on this one,
    I’m in a band and also do a bit of graphic design work for other bands when I’m not busy with shows.

    When you think about it, when bands start out they do a hell of a lot of free shows just to get their name out there!

    the bar your playing at makes money from the crowd you pull in the door but the bands do it because they enjoy it and it furthers their fan base, and if they don’t then there is no way they could possibly get to a point where they would get paying gigs

    everyone does stuff for free
    people are not going to do it time after time but why not give it a go?


  9. Nope not the same thing. Not comparing apples with apples.

    This is not artists/designers being asked to hang work for free in a public gallery where it will work as marketing. it is designs being submitted to an agency for the agencies benefit.

    A music analogy: This is a stream of bands being asked to make a demo in a basement where no one will hear it. The demo may or may not be broadcast later as a jingle. And no attribution or copyright is retained. An agency could go very far on stealing content. Probably has, for all I know.

    If you want a public competition, why not just do one yourselves? “hey guys, put your art work up and we’ll all (the community) vote on it.” the prize is the love of so many members 😛 no copy right lost, no unethical behaviour.

Comments are closed.