You’re Doing It Right

Cross-posted from

I want to point out a composition competition that’s making a point of being completely above-board. It’s a nice counter-example to the skeevy one I mentioned in my recent post about composition competitions.

This is from the ACDA Illinois Choral Composition Contest guidelines:

a) The following dedication must be included in all manuscript and published editions of the winning compositions: “Winner of the 2011 ACDA Illinois Choral Composition Contest”
b) IL-ACDA will have the right to make copies for distribution to the members of the summer 2011 IL- ACDA Directors’ Chorus, its conductor, and accompanist.
c) Each winning composer will be asked to provide biographical information for publicity purposes. IL-ACDA will have the right to use the composer’s name and composition title in the future IL-ACDA Communications.

a) Copyright ownership will be retained by the composer.
b) Publication rights will be retained by the composer.
c) The composer will be given the privilege to display/advertise other compositions at the Summer Retreat.

There’s nothing “slick” here – no one’s trying to dress up a crappy deal in vague, misleadingly positive language. I really appreciate that the ACDA has made a point of spelling out exactly what they expect of the composer, and exactly what the composer can expect of them. ACDA reserves the right to make sufficient copies of the winning score to prepare and perform it. There’s no talk of perpetuity or recording rights. They require that the composer note in the published score that it won the contest – a very reasonable request, especially considering that the works can’t have been performed before, so it’s a safe assumption that most of the entries were written specifically for the competition. And ACDA can use the composer’s name and the title of the winning work on their website, in their newsletter, and in their promotional materials – publicity for the composer.

They’re also not making a grab at the copyright, publication, or mechanical rights, which sometimes happens.

ACDA Illinois: You’re doing it right.