One lucky small business is set to score big-time with a free 30-second TV ad during the Super Bowl -- the grand prize in a new contest for entrepreneurs. But there are a few legal considerations you'll want to kick around in your head first.
The winner of the Intuit Small Business Big Game will get a professionally produced TV commercial that will likely be seen by more than 100 million viewers during Super Bowl XLVIII in February, according to USA Today.
Snagging a Super Bowl ad spot could be a game-changer for your small business, but the "Big Game" contest also comes with a lengthy set of rules. Here are five legal reminders for you to keep in mind:
- Public vote rules. Each person may cast one vote per day during the public voting phase. Don't try to "fake it 'til you make it" and get votes through fraudulent means -- like offering prizes to members of the public or using multiple/different email addresses, identities, and logins. Those votes won't count and could get you disqualified.
- Likeness and publicity issues. By accepting the prize (because you're obviously going to win), you're giving Intuit consent to use your name, city, state, and likeness -- basically, your pretty face. Remember, the Super Bowl will give you huge national exposure, but chances are not all of it will be positive. You can't bury your head in the sand when you're contractually obligated not to.
- Submission rights. When you upload your submission, you're only giving Intuit a license to use it. But when you win, your submission won't be your property anymore. You'll be required to transfer the rights to Intuit, which can then copyright the commercial and do what they want with it.
- Release from liability. If there are any legal issues with your submission (like copyright infringement), you're the one who will have to deal with it because the rules say you have indemnified Intuit from liability.
- Disputes. With such huge exposure on the line, a dispute may crop up along the way. If so, then you'd better like Michigan, because by signing the contract, you're agreeing to resolve disputes in a federal or state court in Michigan. You're also limited to recovering out-of-pocket costs -- no attorney fees or punitive damages. And don't think about pursuing a class action suit, because you've signed away that right, too.
On that note, time to crack open a brewsky and get those creative juices flowing. Good luck!
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