Businesses running competitions on social media should ensure that they comply with Australian Consumer Law and any other relevant laws and regulations. Always consult a business solicitor if you’re in doubt about how to comply.
Competitions run online or on social media should have detailed terms and conditions. However, competitions on social media have particular issues that should be reflected in your terms and conditions, preferably with the assistance of a business solicitor. You should be aware of the relevant terms and conditions of the social media platform you are using, and ensure that you link to the most up-to-date version in your own terms and conditions.
Drafting your Terms and Conditions
Firstly, your business solicitor should insert an introductory clause into your terms and conditions that sets out how people enter your competition. For example, they may enter your competition by uploading a photo or posting a comment to the particular social media site you are using. Uploading a photo, or posting a comment, and then tagging it with the appropriate handle and hashtag, grants the entrant entry into the competition. The entrant’s conduct constitutes his or her acceptance of the competition terms and conditions. This way you do not need participants to go to your terms and conditions, read through each clause and tick a box to accept the terms and conditions. However, you still need to ensure that your terms and conditions are available and easily accessible to the entrants. Ask your business solicitor to assist you with the drafting.
Practically speaking, if they have discovered the competition through Instagram or Twitter, they may not have read your terms and conditions before entering the competition. You should ensure that these terms and conditions are easily accessible and displayed (for example, via a link on the company profile or on the ‘about us’ page) so that people viewing the prize details can go and read through the terms and conditions. You should also state that, by participating in this competition, the entrants are assumed to have read and accepted the terms and conditions of the relevant social media site.
It is also important that you are clear in your terms and conditions in communicating that the competition is not related to the social media platform you are using. Your terms and conditions should have your contact details so that the entrants can contact you if they have any questions or concerns with the competition, rather than contacting the relevant social media platform.
If your competition requires the entrants to upload, or otherwise produce, images or other material that may contain intellectual property, you should include as a requirement, in your terms and conditions, that the entrants have the right to use that image or material. If you discover that a particular image or post infringes a third party’s intellectual property, you should indicate that you have a right to disqualify the entrant from the competition and remove the relevant images or posts.
It is important that entrants have rights to the materials that they are submitting for the competition, as you may wish for the entrants to provide you with rights to use that material. For example, you may want to use the material for promotional purposes or to use it when you announce the winner. To do this, your terms and conditions should include a license that states that the entrants provide you with a worldwide, perpetual and royalty-free license to use the entrant’s submission, including any images or other materials included in that submission.
If you are planning on running a game of skill and are unsure about what regulations apply, speak to an experienced business solicitor. The solicitors at LegalVision work with business of all sizes that run online competitions, so they can advise you on legal issues that may arise. If you’re in need of legal advice, contact us on 1300 544 755 and speak with one of our business solicitors today.