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Simpsons challenge thievery

Any of you who entered the Simpsons challenge have gotten an email changing the terms for your participation. The summation is that even if you win nothing and get no payment for your entry, you can never use ANY part of that design again. 20th Century Fox OWNS your design now. Here's the full text of the email from Threadless if you didn't see it yet:



Hey designers!


Thanks for submitting all of your amazing Simpsons designs. We need to
inform you that the terms and conditions initially posted on The
Simpsons Design Challenge page were incorrect. The correct terms are
on the page now and can be viewed here.


In the originally posted terms, Threadless had 90 days to decide
whether or not to print your design. After that period, all design
rights would be returned to you. In the updated terms,
Twentieth-Century Fox, as a licensed partner (much like Marvel,
Nickelodeon, etc), will own the rights to your submitted design
forever.


We realize this can be a sensitive issue and we apologize for our
oversight. If you do not agree to the updated terms and would like us
to remove your submission, please reply to this message and we will
take care of it. If you agree to the new terms, there is no need to
take any action on your part.



I urge you to respond to Threadless and have your design removed like I did. This is not OK. Don't put up with it.

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Akaka

Bummer

mip1980

To be honest, if my designs are not selected then where else would these designs be of any use? you certainly would not be allowed to sell the illustrations elsewhere because of copyright.

I can't think of any scenario where i would need to use elements of my designs elsewhere

Musarter

Yes, Marvel, Nickelodeon, and now Fox are bastards for making contracts like this. I hope more people will not put up with it.

FoodStampDavis
mip1980 said:

To be honest, if my designs are not selected then where else would these designs be of any use? you certainly would not be allowed to sell the illustrations elsewhere because of copyright.

I can't think of any scenario where i would need to use elements of my designs elsewhere

Right. FOX already owns the characters, logos, etc., but what this is saying is they now own your design outright. That means at any point in the future they can do whatever they want with your work and not pay you for it. It's not about you being able to sell your Simpsons design elsewhere (obviously you can't); it's about FOX now having the right to use your work for free. If they decide they want to print a run of shirts of your non-winning design in the future then they can, and they don't owe you a dime for it. THAT is pretty bogus.

mip1980

DAMN!!!!!!!! when you put it like that........:-(

thatrobert

Mip1980, getting any reuse of your design would depend on a lot of things. I know there were a lot of designs that were minimalist or subtle enough that they could be reused. The way I read the contract, 20th Century Fox can decide to use your design later on merchandise or in an advertisement with no further pay or contact to you.

Here's the link to the updated contract: http://www.threadless.com/thesimpsons/legal/?utm_medium=ExactTarget&utm_source=2013-08-12SimpsonsDoh&utm_campaign=All%20Subscribers&utm_term=http%3a%2f%2fwww.threadless.com%2fthesimpsons%2flegal%2f

mip1980

I have also now sent in a request for removal

azrael5

Damn.

Manupix
If you do not agree to the updated terms and would like us to remove your submission

No way, that's not how it works.

These designs were submitted in accordance to some legal terms as they were, and all parties are bound by these. There is no going back.

Dan Yingling
Manupix said:
If you do not agree to the updated terms and would like us to remove your submission

No way, that's not how it works.

These designs were submitted in accordance to some legal terms as they were, and all parties are bound by these. There is no going back.

Fox does not have copies of any submitted designs, if you would like your submission pulled please let us know and we can pull it.

azrael5

even staffers had Awesomest entries like alex and jeff collab...this is a disgrace they cudn't put that terms first itself every one must have had hours of work done..and one entry I finished last moment by taking off from my office work..all those are outright owned by Fox-No conditions.damn

azrael5

I don't see the point of pulling the entries...it's sad but i'd rather stay my entry,if it didn't win,i'll just forget it.

opippi

So we've created a lot of great concepts for them simply to have the right to use our ideas later? According to this: In the originally posted terms, Threadless had 90 days to decide whether or not to print your design. After that period, all design rights would be returned to you. In the updated terms, Twentieth-Century Fox, as a licensed partner (much like Marvel, Nickelodeon, etc), will own the rights to your submitted design forever. Did I get it right?

thatrobert

BTW, looking at the terms for the Thor Challenge, it doesn't look like Marvel is asking to own all entries forever in the same way 20th Century Fox does. Maybe somebody who can read legalese can confirm: http://www.threadless.com/thor/legal/

I'm confused on why Threadless is letting 20th Century Fox yank them around like this? You can't change contracts after the work is done...

El-Be

I can see both sides of this. Fair enough you could never use that artwork due to copyright, BUT does that give them the right to free artwork (when they already have a team of artists)? I think it's a little cheeky myself. Incidentally, that e-mail means jack shit, as you submitted your designs under the original terms and they legally can't change them after the event.

karaed
karaed profile pic Staff

We want everyone to understand that Fox has no intention of ever using artwork submitted to this challenge outside of the Threadless relationship. Neither Fox nor Threadless has access to your art without you handing over the files.

The purpose of terms like these (which are the same as on challenges with Marvel and Nickelodeon) is for Fox to protect their intellectual property, not get free art. Bottom line is, whether the terms say that the partner owns the design or they just own the IP elements of the design, artists cannot legally profit from the design outside of the Threadless/Fox relationship.

The ownership language isn't as scary as it sounds. Fox is not going to take designs submitted to the challenge and sell them at Wal-Mart. It's just legalese that they need in order to allow challenges like this to take place.

Dan Yingling

Yeah dudes, we would never allow your designs to be used without contacting you for permission and offering you a payment. Promise!

frauleinkatrina

That's gross. Thatrobert, your design was awesome and because of that you're right, you SHOULD pull it. There were so many awesome, interesting, original ideas and only a few prints for this. Absolutely not worth the risk that anyone's idea could be used without their permission later on, you guys all worked way too hard.

El-Be
karaed said:

We want everyone to understand that Fox has no intention of ever using artwork submitted to this challenge outside of the Threadless relationship. Neither Fox nor Threadless has access to your art without you handing over the files.

The purpose of terms like these (which are the same as on challenges with Marvel and Nickelodeon) is for Fox to protect their intellectual property, not get free art. Bottom line is, whether the terms say that the partner owns the design or they just own the IP elements of the design, artists cannot legally profit from the design outside of the Threadless/Fox relationship.

The ownership language isn't as scary as it sounds. Fox is not going to take designs submitted to the challenge and sell them at Wal-Mart. It's just legalese that they need in order to allow challenges like this to take place.

That's fair enough, but we all kind of knew that the designs couldn't be used elsewhere anyway. Still, thanks for clearing that up. GAME ON!

Abstract Matter

Why would anyone pull their art? How do you think they're going to print designs that don't win without your hi-res files that you only supply if you win?

You all have the brains to notice this change in policy, please USE THOSE BRAINS

frauleinkatrina

BAH! Darn lag in my internets... still, I don't like it. The whole thing makes me feel gross.

Dan Yingling

Totally understand the worry here, but like I said, we wouldn't allow that to happen.

blackhand_
1 design submitted - Score now!

So designs submitted to sponsored challenges not chosen for print can't be sold on Society6? I've been wondering about this...

ckd

Yeah that's totally screwed up, We're not going to use your art, or pay for it, or let you ever use it again. Thanks Fox... because you don't hold enough rights as it is. At least it provided some inspiration for me...

ckd

LOL.. perfect

jaywalkergraphics
Dan Yingling said:

Yeah dudes, we would never allow your designs to be used without contacting you for permission and offering you a payment. Promise!

Thanks, Dan. But quick question: When they say "all design rights" and "the rights to your submitted design", what are they talking about, specifically? If I made a ball of FOX characters, could I still make an identical ball of Marvel characters later? Or will this idea belong to them?

Just wondering.

skaw
skaw profile pic Staff

karaed nailed it with our position. These are the same terms with Marvel & Nickelodeon. Another reason we needed to send this note is because we made a mistake and overlooked changing the terms to be with Twentieth Century Fox rather than with Marvel.

kuro_te said:

So designs submitted to sponsored challenges not chosen for print can't be sold on Society6? I've been wondering about this...

As for Society6, it does look like a fair amount of artists post designs from our license challenges over on Society6. However, this is definitely not legal for an artist to do if the designs contain IP from an entertainment property they don't have permission to sell. We have licensing deals with these companies where we pay them a royalty.

Dan Yingling

"If I made a ball of FOX characters, could I still make an identical ball of Marvel characters later? Or will this idea belong to them?

Just wondering."

You could definitely create a ball of Marvel Characters. Fox isn't going to patrol the submissions and take ownership of your ideas, in fact, it's very unlikely they are seeing much of anything other than the submissions we choose as winners at this point.

jaywalkergraphics

Got it. Thanks for helping sort this out.

Operator

Threadless staff: So we understand that if our designs feature explicitly obvious portrayals of characters/art owned by Fox that we can't go and use those designs for profit anywhere else but what if our design doesn't actually feature any of that? What if we have abstract designs that are "Simpsons Themed" but yet don't actually portray any characters? What if we've modified the characters so heavily that they are no longer explicitly obvious portrayals of Fox's characters and are safe for us to use however we wish.

For example take this design:
http://www.threadless.com/thesimpsons/yellow-redefined-2/ Does Fox own the right to a square with a jagged top edge in yellow? I don't think they do. Why can't he go ahead and try to use this design elsewhere if itsnt selected (minus the words Bart and Simpsons obviously)?

thatrobert

I've read the contracts closer. I can see how the 20th Century Fox and Marvel terms are basically the same. I've generally avoided licensed challenges in the past but made an exception for the Simpsons. Last time.

Manupix

Soothing words vs legalese? Seriously guys. What if Fox or Marvel finds a design they love and has one of their artists copy it? What will anyone do about it? Just plain old nothing because contract, and they don't need the hi-res design either.

Also what about those few designs without a single pixel of sponsor IP, such as this one?

Morkki
1 design submitted - Score now!

I never would have spent time to do subs for the Simpson contest in the first place under those legal terms. It's legal shit like that has kept me away from the Marvel and Viacom challenges. Still, I'm not about to pull the designs up right now, what's done is done and chances of me being able to sell them anywhere else are slim.

Abstract Matter

You guys are complaining that you can't sell these designs anywhere else if they don't print... but you couldn't legally do that even if there was no Simpsons challenge! If they found your designs they could and probably would sue you.

You are literally complaining that you cannot commit copyright infringement. It is ridiculous. In doing this, Fox are not infringing your rights as an artist or stealing your designs. They are simply protecting what is rightfully theirs from being sold outside of this Threadless partnership situation.

ckd

You could if you didn't have any IP in your work...

FoodStampDavis

Okay, okay, okay... I just need to apply this to real life, so hear me out:

I have a shirt design I did of Homer Simpson and Mickey Mouse and The Green Lantern.
And they are buttfucking.

Can I still sell this at the farmer's market, or what?

Operator

Exactly Manupix. I think if Threadless / Fox want to show us their good will they will ammend the terms to at least mention something in regards to designs that dont actually have any IP directly featured in them. If not that then at least a way for the artists to request that their work be released from the terms after an audit by Fox's lawyers or something. Would that be too much to ask?

Abstract Matter

Okay ckd, but how many designs in this contest don't use any likenesses of characters, settings, etc. owned by Fox or in any other way affiliated with the Simpsons?

FoodStampDavis
Abstract Matter said:

You guys are complaining that you can't sell these designs anywhere else if they don't print... but you couldn't legally do that even if there was no Simpsons challenge! If they found your designs they could and probably would sue you.

You are literally complaining that you cannot commit copyright infringement. It is ridiculous. In doing this, Fox are not infringing your rights as an artist or stealing your designs. They are simply protecting what is rightfully theirs from being sold outside of this Threadless partnership situation.

To be fair, most people aren't complaining that they can't sell these things elsewhere. The lion's share of the people commenting seem to be concerned with FOX having the rights to potentially publish their work elsewhere without paying or giving credit - via copying the design outright or even its concept.

So they literally are literally not complaining about not being able to commit copyright infringement, they are worried about having just done a shit-ton of free spec-work. But Threadfolk are clearing it up a bit. Good on 'em.

FoodStampDavis
Abstract Matter said:

You guys are complaining that you can't sell these designs anywhere else if they don't print... but you couldn't legally do that even if there was no Simpsons challenge! If they found your designs they could and probably would sue you.

You are literally complaining that you cannot commit copyright infringement. It is ridiculous. In doing this, Fox are not infringing your rights as an artist or stealing your designs. They are simply protecting what is rightfully theirs from being sold outside of this Threadless partnership situation.

To be fair, most people aren't complaining that they can't sell these things elsewhere. The lion's share of the people commenting seem to be concerned with FOX having the rights to potentially publish their work elsewhere without paying or giving credit - via copying the design outright or even its concept.

So they literally are literally not complaining about not being able to commit copyright infringement, they are worried about having just done a shit-ton of free spec-work. But Threadfolk are clearing it up a bit. Good on 'em.

Morkki
1 design submitted - Score now!
Abstract Matter said:

You guys are complaining that you can't sell these designs anywhere else if they don't print... but you couldn't legally do that even if there was no Simpsons challenge! If they found your designs they could and probably would sue you.

You are literally complaining that you cannot commit copyright infringement. It is ridiculous. In doing this, Fox are not infringing your rights as an artist or stealing your designs. They are simply protecting what is rightfully theirs from being sold outside of this Threadless partnership situation.

And you are missing the point about designs that only reference the IP through neutral images. Do you think Fox owns all pink donuts?

Dan Yingling
Operator said:

Exactly Manupix. I think if Threadless / Fox want to show us their good will they will ammend the terms to at least mention something in regards to designs that dont actually have any IP directly featured in them. If not that then at least a way for the artists to request that their work be released from the terms after an audit by Fox's lawyers or something. Would that be too much to ask?

Actually, this wouldn't have to be that complicated. If your design didn't directly feature the IP you could just ask us to remove it and we will return it to you along with the rights to the design. Fox doesn't have copies of your design.

ckd

foodstampdavis, you can't legally sell non-public domain characters on anything no. Now the big question is can you fly under the radar of major corporations, or not be enough of an infringer for them to go after you...that's different. Or if you had a mouse, a bald yellow guy and a green guy with a ring, you could do that. But actually characters not legal.

Morkki
1 design submitted - Score now!

Same thing with the TMNT challenge, all that pizza is now legally Viacom's, doesn't matter if there was no turtle to be seen.

jaywalkergraphics
foodstampdavis said:

Okay, okay, okay... I just need to apply this to real life, so hear me out:

I have a shirt design I did of Homer Simpson and Mickey Mouse and The Green Lantern.
And they are buttfucking.

Can I still sell this at the farmer's market, or what?

Muahahaha.

ckd
Abstract Matter said:

Okay ckd, but how many designs in this contest don't use any likenesses of characters, settings, etc. owned by Fox or in any other way affiliated with the Simpsons?

Mine for one :)

Abstract Matter
Morkki said:
Abstract Matter said:

You guys are complaining that you can't sell these designs anywhere else if they don't print... but you couldn't legally do that even if there was no Simpsons challenge! If they found your designs they could and probably would sue you.

You are literally complaining that you cannot commit copyright infringement. It is ridiculous. In doing this, Fox are not infringing your rights as an artist or stealing your designs. They are simply protecting what is rightfully theirs from being sold outside of this Threadless partnership situation.

And you are missing the point about designs that only reference the IP through neutral images. Do you think Fox owns all pink donuts?

Fair enough but again, not many designs in the challenge even have 100% neutral IP. I don't even see why people are complaining, a fuckton of artists on this site upload their designs to S6 straight away despite the fact you're supposed to wait 90 days on the ongoing challenge. Yes, people are going to violate this rule. No, nobody will likely get sued. But I don't see the point in withdrawing designs unless they do indeed contain 100% neutral material.

macdoodle

I knew, or at least assumed, that by submitting my designs to this challenge that I was giving up most or all rights to them. Either way, I'm not too concerned.

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