Emily (foresthouse) wrote,

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FirstOne Publishing: Questionable Writing Contest Rules Analyzed

@cleolinda: Today’s Writing Contest To Run Like Hell From

@cleolinda: Also, Section 12 of those contest rules: if you are mean to them on the internets, they will sue you. http://tinyurl.com/6xh7aea

@cleolinda: Seriously, I dare you. Come and do it. My Internet Lawyer is better than yours.

@cleolinda: ... maybe I should have actually consulted my Internet Lawyer before I said that.

@maureenjohnson: Perhaps we can ASK A LAWYER, @cleolinda? LAWYERS OF THE INTERNETS! Please tell us about THIS clause: http://tinyurl.com/6xh7aea

You ask, I answer. I'm easy like that. And I'll do the rest of the rules for free, too.

[Necessary Disclaimer, As Always: Yes, I am a Real Lawyer. No, you should not rely on anything I write here as Specific Legal Advice Intended For You Personally, and no attorney-client or confidential relationship is involved or has been formed here. Thank you.]



@foresthouse: .@cleolinda @maureenjohnson You have achieved: WAKE INTERNET LAWYER. Achievement unlocked: UNTANGLE LEGALESE.

@foresthouse: Clause 1: Hilariously, plagiarism doesn't mean what they think it means. If no one could ever quote a song lyric in a story without written-

@foresthouse: -permission to avoid being sued, a LOT of writers would be in court right now. Pertinent Example: Deadpool singing "Barbie Girl." Thank you.

@foresthouse: [Disclaimer: That doesn't mean you can plagiarize with impunity. Obviously you can't. Just that their definition of plagiarism is v v off.]

@foresthouse: Clause 2: Again, their way of wording this is very weird. It implies that works for children can't be prose. Um, what? What they MEANT is --

@foresthouse: - that even prose works will be ineligible if they are works for children. Which is fine. They just didn't say it correctly.

@foresthouse: Clause 3: The laws of Myapartmentistan prohibit the validity of this contest, because it is a crock.

@foresthouse: Clause 5: I am concerned by the combination of this w/ Clause 13. If they reject your content from the contest...they still own & can use it.

@foresthouse: Clause 7: WTF? That's just ridiculous. CONTEST FAIL. Or, in other words: WARNING. WARNING. CONTEST IS A SCAM. AVOID.

@foresthouse: Clause 8: The fail may kill my brain. No royalties? No definition of "complete" tour? Must sign contract with additional unnamed terms?? O_o

@foresthouse: Clause 12: Actually some of it is okay - if they are referring to hackers, etc., there are laws against that, yes. Again, BADLY WORDED.

@foresthouse: Clause 12, cont.: Seriously, who WROTE this thing? Really. Because if your legalese is so shoddy it confuses the entire internet, you FAIL.


@foresthouse: Clause 13: By sending us your work, you relinquish all rights to it, ever, including any right to earn more money. WE GET IT ALL. PS And we-

@foresthouse: -can use your identity/likeness for free (Clause 11) PPS We can cancel the contest if we feel like it. But we still get to keep your stuff.

@foresthouse: PPPS Even if you win we might not publish your submission. But we will keep it. And all the others, which we can use however we'd like.

@foresthouse: PPPPS If you send us your work you can't sue us for anything ever, nah nah nah nah nah, because by sending it in you give up all your rights

@foresthouse: Aaaaand I'm done now. More commentary:




SUMMARY: It would be foolish to enter this contest. There's nothing illegal about it; but it would be very foolish to enter it, because unless you win, you actually LOSE (literally; your rights to your own work), and IF you win, you get what is probably a much worse deal than you could get from just submitting to publishers in the usual manner.

ETA: They're in Ur Internetz, Trolling Ur Criticisms Against Their Contest.

I love how the fee is to "eliminate anyone who thinks they want to be published from entering." ...Isn't that the WHOLE POINT of entering a contest to be published. ...TO BE PUBLISHED?? Um. Also I'm pretty sure anyone going to the trouble of entering a writing contest thinks their work is worth publishing, whether it is or not. They're not going to "just upload any old manuscript" even if the contest is free to enter.

It is irrelevant whether the contest is "launched" yet or not. They published THESE rules for all to read. If these aren't the actual rules, why did they put them up? If they are...then we certainly have a right to critique them and comment on them and find all the obvious things that are worrisome about them.

Karen of FirstOne says:

Regarding rights. We will not take anyone's copyright. If you enter and do not win or are not a finalist, you are free to do whatever you want with your book.


P.S. In a real publishing contract, the rights to market the work in other markets than traditional publishing are negotiated, and you commonly can get additional benefits (like MONIESSSS) for them.

I'm not even critiquing who First One Publishing may or may not be, or how legitimate they are. They could be the bestest publishers ever...and this would still be a shoddy set of contest rules.

ETA PART II: Okay, you know what? I was reading Karen (the First One rep)'s responses and the way she was saying, "thank you for pointing out the errors, we will fix things..." and thinking, "maybe they really didn't mean to be so completely shoddy in their wording. I mean, they WERE. But maybe they really just don't know any better." (Which, of course, negates claims to all the experience they have, but still. Benefit of the doubt, what what?) AND THEN I READ THIS:


LOL...to most of the responses. Here's the deal: If you want to be a part of something bigger than what you're currently doing, join us. Be a part of the solution, not a part of the naysaying and the problem. It's very easy to sit on the sidelines and poke holes at everything. It is far more difficult to get out there and do something different. That's what we're doing.

Seriously? Take your arrogant condescension elsewhere, please. I don't care if you are the Editor-in-Chief of The World's Only Publishing House, Ever, you don't get to ignore people's legitimate concerns about your crappy contest by saying "if you criticize, it means you don't want to be a part of something bigger."

NO. It means they don't want to be SCAMMED. Or lose the rights to their CREATIONS. With no promise of ANY RETURN. Hello? Seriously. Let's get (to use a word in the actual rules that is really not the word they were looking for) "terrestrial" about this. Feet firmly planted on Earth, now, FirstOne. Take responsibility for the words you've put out there, even if they've now come back to bite you and make you look bad. It's your own fault, not the fault of people who don't want to "be a part of something bigger."

Oh, please.

P.S. Oh, and reserving anonymity on the internet makes us all cowards? Um, OR it could be that we actually have reasons to compartmentalize our internet activities that have absolutely nothing to do with either you or this debate.

P.P.S. Hire a competent lawyer before you "fix the problems" in your current rules, if you truly plan to. Then maybe you won't have to spend all your time on the internet with us cowards, defending your contest and making yourself look bad.
Tags: contest, internet, law, publishing, rant, writers, wtf?

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