back to article Sydney Opera House to devs: build our app for peanuts, wear patent pain

Sydney Opera House has announced it will stage a “hackathon” to find its next app, with the winner to receive $AUD4,000 in prize money and a big fat contract asking them to hand over all code developed during the event. Even losers could be asked to hand over their code. The famous venue says one reason to enter the …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This needs to stop - creative types (photographers, musicians, etc.) have already been dragged into borderline poverty by the cheapening of their profession, now developers and other tech savvy types are going to cut themselves off at the knees for the "opportunity" to put something on their CV.

    The response from the community should be this, "If the management of the Opera House are willing to forsake their own salaries, then we will provide our time for free too". When every other profession is willing to forsake the ability to keep a roof over their heads, maybe then we should accept it, until then its the middle finger for these sorts of requests.

  2. John Tserkezis

    "and agree to sign any necessary documentation that may be required for us and our designees to make use of the rights you granted."

    I didn't think that one contract can legally oblige you to sign following contracts. Sure, if they're all laid out on the desk at the same time, you can read and sign at your will, but "any necessary documentation that may be required" doesn't quite do that. By my understanding, it implies there's going to be more contracts, but we're not going to tell you which ones till you get past the first one...

    Would be interesting to see who'd be desperate enough, or naive enough to take it on.

    1. Ronny Cook

      The escape clause here is it obliges you to sign any documents NECESSARY to make use of rights granted, but you are not obliged to sign documents in excess of that. If they stick extra clauses in the contract, cross out any bits that assign additional rights, or write your own version.

      Or just turn up, stuff yourself, and submit a one-liner which pops up a window saying "Thanks for the free food."

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All Coders should tell these frackers to go swivel on a Sicilian knife.

    Not only do they want effectively cheap/free code, because the 'free' facilities will no way pay for the code, but worse they want free liability insurance (not cheap!), which could easily bankrupt even a professional developer, let-alone the amateur winner and losers! They are plainly cheeky female genitals.

  4. RobHib

    It's a game warrior who'd take on this assignment.

    Only a fool ignorant of history would ever develop an app for the Bennelong Point Lunatic Asylum, moreover to do so for only $4000 would guarantee to certify him as an inmate.

    As its great architect Jørn Utzon found from bitter experience, the SOH has been a hotbed of intrigue, managerial incompetence, government bungling and interference from the moment Joe Cahill, the then premier of NSW, first championed the idea of a opera house for Sydney way back in 1954, some 20 years before the building opened.

    As many who have worked for, provided services, or been closely associated with the SOH will attest, this institution has multiple masters all of whom wield considerable sway. These include the general manager and managerial staff, the SOH Trust as well as the government of the day and its Arts Minister not to mention the Ministry and various other levels of bureaucracy. Then there's the hiring companies who also wield very considerable political power, the Australian Opera, Aust. Ballet et al.

    The SOH has been a political hot potato for nearly the past 60 years. Risk battle, and as with many before you, you'll likely end up being another of the many 'corpses' found littering the Sydney landscape.

    Naive IT techies be warned, you go there at your peril: technology—especially IT, government bureaucracy and the Arts Mafia have long proven to be an explosive mixture. Get involved in this project then at the first hint of a problem you'll be left carrying the can—patents, IP, litigation, everything. 'Tisn't worth being toast for utter pittance. ...And forget kudos, there won't be any.

    Leave the performing arts to the few politically savvy hiring companies, not only are they world-class but also they've proven capable of surviving the bureaucracy.

  5. Matt 94

    The glitter on this particular turd (if I've read it right) is that someone might not win, have their idea nicked, implemented by someone else and *still* be liable if that idea infringes someone else's IP.

  6. andypiper

    Hackday Manifesto

    This sucks.

    Read - particularly the Intellectual Property section and those around it in the Atmosphere and Attitude section - and realise that some people run hackathons for good reasons (fun and learning) not exploitation.

    Oh, and if you agree with the manifesto, feel free to sign it :-)

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    skint muso

    I feel your pain....

    .... yet, as a musician, there's also a hollow laugh going on. For the past ten years, I've watched techie types going on and on and on and on about how free music - due entirely to the efforts of techies and the tech industry- is a 'good' thing, musicians shouldn't expect to get paid, illegal downloading doesn't hurt anyone, and if your industry is f***ed, you can't make a living, and everyone wants you to work for free, well ... tough.

    Karma, folks, karma. Now you know it what it feels like.

    My industry has been decimated by tech, and the attitude from people like the Opera House about IP issues, and how they can be ignored or exploited comes directly out of the general attitude, these days, that copyright in music and film can be ignored and exploited. By everyone.

    So next time you just grab that music or film from some torrent site ... remember. This attitude can bite YOU in the arse, too.

    1. Ronny Cook

      Re: skint muso

      Now compare the amount of genuinely royalty-free code out there with the amount of genuinely royalty-free music.

      I have an iPod stuffed full of music that I've paid for (thousands of songs, all of them paid for, and as I recall none of them free.) It also has a fair few apps (most of them paid for, some of them free).

      The music industry has been devastated by tech, yes, but the coders I know are far more aware and respectful of IP and the rights of creators than the general population. (That's not to say that none of them ever pirate, but the non-techies I know don't seem to care at all.)

      I'm not denying that life is tough for musicians, and musicians have to put up with issues that coders don't (such as performance royalties). On the other hand musicians don't need to worry that some patent troll will sue you for every cent you have because you independently came up with an idea that is vaguely paralleled by an obscurely worded patent filed a decade ago.

      Swings and roundabouts, really.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: skint muso

      "For the past ten years, I've watched techie types going on and on.. This attitude can bite YOU in the arse, too."

      It is not just the musos and techies that are the victims here. The down-loaders are also victims: They think they get creative content for free, but all access got logged. Everything was seen & recorded. At any point in future, they can be served this as fully-admissible evidence, and a bill for the current damages. Once they pay that, future extraordinary damages can be presented to the victim (that is now a confirmed target).

      So beware blaming anyone, everyone loses except the Puppeteers.

  8. Ronny Cook

    Turning this around...

    OK, upside: a place to sleep and free food and drink for a night. Downside: Anything you write, and associated IP, becomes property of the Opera House.

    Solution: Turn up.Stuff your face. Get some sleep. Turn in a hackathon solution consisting of one line of code stating "The conditions for this competition are insane."

    Tell your homeless friends!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Great idea!

    World famous institution, budget of millions, wants something for (effectively) free. With bells on!

    Please please all professional (ie. not script kiddies) Australian coders, do your duty and tell them to FUCK OFF!

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