FlashLite Contest Rules Update

John Dowdell from Macromedia has blogged a reply to my post, Worries about FlashLite contest rules, wherein I stated my concern that Macromedia's terms and conditions for the FlashLite contest they are currently running allows them to take your submissions, incorporate them into their own products/services or release them as their own products/services without giving you any compensation. The relevant clause is below:

Under point 8 (Assignment of Rights), below:

"Entrants retain any and all rights of ownership, intellectual property rights and all other rights entrant may have in and to the entry. Notwithstanding such ownership rights, by entering, entrants personally and on behalf of their company grant and assign to Macromedia, its successors and assigns and those acting under its direction, a perpetual, non-exclusive worldwide right and license, but not an obligation, free of any charge or compensation, to use entries, and all rights subsidiary to and derivative from the entries, for the development and incorporation in, Macromedia products or services, in any medium now known or invented in the future."

In John's post, he states "I don't think anyone's trying to screw you out of your apps. If you'd like that in writing, try a short note to the FlashPlayer team . . . Or ask the folks in Customer Service to forward your answerable request for a written clarification." He goes on to say "when I've checked in the past, phrases like that are usually included to protect against "hey, I submitted a weather app, and now the multinational corporation is releasing its own weather app! to the barricades!!"

I don't think that Macromedia is trying to screw developers out of their applications when they enter this contest. It would not be in Macromedia's interests to appear this greedy. However, when you sign an agreement, you enter a legally binding contract and you must abide by the terms of the contract. The terms of this contract decree that Macromedia *can* use your application (not just build one like it but use or change your application as it sees fit) without paying you a dime. This does not mean that Macromedia will do this. But it will be legally entitled to do it if it so desires.

On principle, this is not acceptable and I would like to see Macromedia remove this clause from their terms and conditions for the FlashLite contest.

I don't know about you but I read every legal document I sign carefully and, if there's something I don't understand, I consult a professional. In this case, the clause is very clear in its intent and leaves little room for interpretation. In light of this, I don't believe that John's post clarifies the issue and does not constitute an official Macromedia reply. (John works for Macromedia but, as stated on his blog, his views are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Macromedia.)

I posted a note regarding this on the FlashLite forums yesterday so hopefully there will be some official response to this and some action taken.

On an unrelated note, John mentions in his post that comments on FlashAnt are "restricted to approved speakers." While it is true that you have to send me an email to let me know you want to post comments (one time, after registering), all requests are approved. This is to make sure you're a real person and not some spambot. (If you then turn around and decide to spam the site, I reserve the right to deactivate your account.) This is a system I've been forced to implement due to blog spammers and is not in any way meant to discourage feedback or discussion. Since the total number of blog spam comments I've received since implementing this is zero, I would say that it has been hugely successful! John, if you'd like to comment, please register with the blog and I'll activate you account as soon as I get notified of it -- you don't even have to send me an email :)