I am a mobile developer. I want to create my own mobile app, so I ran a contest for the mobile design.
Many good designers participated in the contest. I get lots of good ideas from almost all of them. Ultimately I choose one of the designers because of the good looking design.
But many other designers have used brilliant ideas which I never thought of. So I note down all ideas and ask the winning designer to integrate it into his work. The final result is completely different than what I have imagined.
Is it ethically, legally and morally right to use the design ideas of other non-winning designers in the design contest? Who owns the right of designs submitted in contests?
Ethically and morally….. using any “contest” is merely taking advantage of designers.
Contest do nothing but take advantage of designers and give all the benefit to the person running the contest. It essentially amounts to “slave labor” of a sort. All designers should adamantly avoid “contest” settings. However, if a designer freely agrees to being taken advantage of, well that’s their right (and folly).
Without knowing exactly what the terms and conditions are/were of your “contest” and what submission meant in terms of rights transfers…. Given that all artwork is copyrighted the moment it is created. No you can not freely use aspect of other designs without permission. Traditionally, you only get rights to the “winning” design you choose. Most “contest” do not provide rights to every single submission. You will need to check the terms though to be certain.
Ideas or concepts can’t be copyrighted. So, using concepts is technically okay. Although it’s again an arguable ethics issue. You must be certain to avoid using any tangible, recognizable aspects of any design you do not have permission to use.