The Irish Times is running a competition called Legends of the Fall, and asking readers to submit works of fiction “inspired by the events of the last five years in Ireland”.
The original terms and conditions, published by the Irish Times, asserted that “by entering this competition, you are agreeing that any submissions made become the property of the Irish Times.”
That’s a copyright grab, and an extraordinarily wide-ranging one. It applies not just to the winner, by every entry.
The terms have the benefit of being written in plain English, not legalese. My first thought was that something was lost in translation. The Irish Times surely couldn’t mean what they said.
So I asked a question on Twitter.
Twentyfour hours later, the terms were amended.
The copyright grab no longer applies to all entrants to the winner, who retains copyright but grants “perpetual” rights to the Times, including in media not yet invented.
I hadn’t planned to make an issue of this.
Truth is, the last thing I need is to start burning any goodwill I may have with someone who can help me promote a forthcoming project.
But copyright matters to writers.
And it should matter to you.