Because about 3 days after I wrote my post called If The Voice Existed for Writers what would we call it? I discovered that a brand new contest akin to The Voice (or American Idol as the case may be) is on, and geared toward Writers of fiction.
How much more can fate intervene before I finally take it seriously? A real reality contest for Writers? I mean, I have a story within the word requirements (2500-5000) that’s fiction. I’m ready to rock and roll! Holy crap, sign me up!
Well…hold on just a second Miss Quick-on-the-Draw; maybe read the rules first?
So I did. And here’s something I’m not very sure about:
“…You also grant us the right to edit the formatting and display of your Entry, and to create literary or any other types of effects in respect to your Entry without compensation or approval…”
Formatting and display edits I can certainly understand. The entries should all have similar structure and style in order to remain vanilla enough for the voting public to not adopt any sort of bias toward one story or another. But that bit about creating literary effects without approval? Yeah, what does that even mean?
Literary by definition means: pertaining to or of the nature of books and writings, especially those classed as literature
Now perhaps I’m just being paranoid here but to me this reads like the content could be altered without my prior approval. That’s not okay. Anyone in law care to weigh in on this?
I kept reading and couldn’t seem to find the words ‘Author will retain all rights to their work’ anywhere in the first three-quarters of the lengthy rules. Another thing that’s a bit unsettling to say the least. But I kept reading anyway. And then I came across this:
“13. GOVERNING LAW/DISPUTES. This Contest is governed by the laws of Curaçao. As a condition of participating in this Contest, you agree, to the extent permitted by law, that any and all disputes which cannot be resolved between the parties, and causes of action arising out of or in connection with this Contest, will be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action, exclusively before a court located in Curaçao.”
Wait, what? Curaçao? Where the hell is that?
So I did a little digging and it turns out it is an island located off the coast of Venezuela and is a Netherland/Dutch nation. And Hofstra Law School has an entire course dedicated to the study of International Law in this nation.
Impressive. But equally unsettling.
I’m not entirely sure how comfortable I am entering a contest where the governing law over the subsequent use of my intellectual property is located in International waters. I would have a leg to stand on if the contest originated out of the United States because that’s where I’m from and where my copyright is held. But I know nothing about anything related to the laws in Curaçao and frankly I don’t want to have to earn a degree from Hofstra just to find out if I’d be protected should someone steal my work and make millions of dollars or defame my name, etc.
It does make me a little sad because I felt as if I almost dreamed this contest into life after pretty much asking for it to be hand delivered to my door. But you know how they say to be careful what you wish for? I never understood just why you should protect yourself from those wishes or why it's important to clarify the specifics of the wish in question until this very moment.
Hopefully this shows I’m smarter than I look and not that I blew a golden opportunity at fame and fortune ($5000 grand prize). But like I always say, I live with no regrets so unless my lawyer type friends weigh in and tell me I shouldn’t be afraid, I think this is one contest I’m letting pass by after all.