The fight over Mandela's R2.1billion smile

Blog posts   •   Mar 02, 2018 09:15 +08

South African's Government Communication Information System (GCIS) has been accused of misappropriating a famous photograph of Nelson Mandela. It shows yet again to PitchMark your work to stop such issues from arising.


App designer accuses MTR: Please stand back from the ideas

Blog posts   •   Sep 15, 2017 08:50 +08

Hong Kong's MTR refutes allegations by an app designer that it stole their ideas. Promised to call them to clear things up.


Bagging a tea slogan lands agency in hot water

News   •   Mar 23, 2017 08:37 +08


The corrupting power of idea theft

News   •   Mar 10, 2017 08:48 +08

Even politics is not immune to idea theft. While political parties generally try to attract voters by being different from other parties, sometimes adopting the policies of others and calling them your own is a better strategy.


Stealing ideas for TV shows - that’s reality!

News   •   Mar 08, 2017 08:36 +08

Good ideas can make or break a TV show - especially in reality TV. So it's no wonder writers are tempted to copy ideas from already successful shows. But does that make it right?


After 25 years, a fly in U2’s anointment

News   •   Mar 06, 2017 08:44 +08

Rock band U2 is being sued by guitarist Paul Rose for ripping off his sound for their hit track The Fly.

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Pitch fees: don’t bank on them

News   •   Mar 03, 2017 08:58 +08

Singapore’s Central Provident Fund (CPF) has become one of the few organisations in Singapore to offer pitch fees to creative agencies.

In CPF’s latest request for tenders to provide it with integrated marketing and creative services, it has announced that up to five tenderers will be paid a honorarium of S$3,000 (about US$2,100) if they make it to the second stage of its selection process.

According the brief, as reported by Marketing Magazine, the pitch fee being paid is on the basis of helping to “offset the time and costs incurred for the submission of design concepts including detailed sketches.”

Since no compensation is being offered to tenderers who fail to make the shortlist, this should encourage tenderers to make more of an effort to get past the first round.

It looks like a good thing: money in the bank. But could the trend towards pitch fees also make your ideas less bankable?

On one level it seems only fair that Creators making a pitch at the request of a prospective client with the luxury to pick and choose should receive at least something for their time and effort. Even on the Client’s side of the equation, there are those that see pitch fees as both fair and good business, resulting in a more valuable selection process and building stronger, more productive relationships.

For all the various practical pros and cons of pitch fees, we believe there’s one key issue. When a pitch fee is paid, is it to compensate the Creator just for the time and material costs incurred in making the pitch? Or is it also seen as payment for their ideas?

Every Creator knows of horror stories where a pitching process has been used as a cheap way to harvest ideas, or where the ideas put forward by one pitcher end up being adopted even though someone else wins the contract. Such practices are clearly not ethical.

Pitch fees, however, can muddy the ethical line, even when intentions are good, and even if there’s no explicit clause in a pitch fee contract that the payment gives the client the right to use ideas pitched to them.

Simply by paying the Creator something, a client might feel a greater moral right to “borrow” ideas. And in accepting payment, a Creator might weaken any potential avenues of moral pressure to be compensated if they discover their ideas have been appropriated.

It’s a complex issue. We’d like to hear what you think about pitch fees, about your own experiences and about cases you know of that illuminates both the pro and cons of pitch fee payments.

Now it's over to you:

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Advertising agencies have long asked prospective clients to pay pitch fees, to compensate them for the time and effort that goes into creating pitches - even if they end up unsuccessful. Singapore's Central Provident Fund is now offering such fees. In general, we don't advocate pitch fees because it could reduce your claim to compensation if you lose a pitch, but your ideas are used anyway.

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Standing Rock a sitting duck for intellectual property thieves

News   •   Mar 03, 2017 08:30 +08

T-shirt designs to support native Americans in the Dakota Access Pipeline dispute are themselves subject of dispute, with lots of rip offs jumping onto the bandwagon.


Google-Uber stoush shows the importance of being in the driver’s seat of your ideas

News   •   Feb 28, 2017 08:48 +08

There are lessons for anyone with an idea in Google's suit against Uber over self-driving technology.


Stitched up: The fashion industry's culture of appropriation

News   •   Feb 22, 2017 08:52 +08

The fashion industry is particularly rife with idea theft. Better PitchMark your designs before you pitch them to a fashion design house.

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About PitchMark

Let your clients get the idea, without taking it.

PitchMark deters idea theft and provides you with options if it happens.

PitchMark protects the expression of your original concepts, designs, proposals, business plans, creative pitches, music - in short, any idea that you conceived and published, and claim as your own. It gives you peace-of-mind by signalling to whoever you share it with that you are its creator, and that you wish to be respected as such.

If you receive or evaluate ideas or pitches, join PitchMark as a sign of your commitment to respect the Intellectual Property rights of their creators. Attract more in-depth pitches from a wider range of sources. Highlight your PitchMark membership in your Sustainability or CSR Report.