View Full Version : Neil Gaiman CrowdSourcing Fandom to BlackBerry

Gale Haut
02-21-2013, 11:49 AM
It's rather troubling to see this playing out (http://keepmoving.blackberry.com/desktop/en/us/ambassador/neil-gaiman.html#get-involved?CPID=STHUBNAUSFY13Q4000000202100013620001 001HUB003). Neil Gaiman has lent some of his writing, his name, and his fandom to a BlackBerry ad campaign. Despite his advocacy for the arts and his professional experience working with artists, it appears that the artists chosen from the traffic he is driving to BlackBerry will not be receiving compensation regardless of the outcome of the contest... as if commercial art competitions weren't exploitative enough, amiright or amiright?

There are major red flags in the way this competition is taking place, and it's important that artists not be distracted by the Gaiman brand that BlackBerry is using to detract from this fact.


This is crowdsourcing, a.k.a. free spec work with no assurance of compensation to the artist.
There is no promise of compensation to be awarded to anyone who participates whether they are selected or not.
Pending the success of the campaign, BlackBerry stands to profit from this artwork.
It's also unclear whether or not Gaiman receives compensation from this arrangement (READ THAT he probably does).

Here is the tumblr response (http://neil-gaiman.tumblr.com/post/43548645159/hey-mr-gaiman-im-a-little-concerned-about-your) to the concern that many artists and fans have posited.

From his response: "It's for fun." It's pretty obvious that BlackBerry will not be promoting their new phone with the artwork obtain from the contest just "for fun."

Gale Haut ‏@galehaut
@neilhimself I find the Terms for the art contest you're sponsoring very troubling.

Neil Gaiman ‏@neilhimself
@galehaut They're fixing them: the corrected version should be up soon.

Gale Haut ‏@galehaut
@neilhimself Legal risks aside, how do the participating artists benefit from winning? I'm hopeful to see a list of awards soon. #keepmoving

7 hrs Neil Gaiman ‏@neilhimself
@galehaut they get - as I hope will lots of the not-winning artists to be part of a Calendar.

6 hrs Gale Haut ‏@galehaut
@neilhimself That sounds great! Is there information available regarding financial compensation to the published artists?

I haven't received a response on that last one, and I am hopeful that Gaiman will realize that what he's doing is coming off as an exploitation of those who trust him.