fibitz (fibitz) wrote,

Unpaid Creative Work for a Multinational Corporation, Anyone?

With great displeasure, I've received a call for submissions to Ito En Ltd's Haiku Project.

Basically, the idea is that you send them "positive" haiku, and they put them on tea-bottle labels. Oh, and you give up rights to the work and permission to use your name. That's right. You can provide packaging content and endorsement for a commercial product, and it won't cost them squat!

It is understandable, if regrettable, that literary journals with little or no funding may not be able to pay contributors (Mobius: A Journal of Social Change, for which I am Poetry Editor, is so far from being in a position to do so that it has recently become online-only). But for a corporation to invite poets to provide its advertising gratis is contemptible. I e-mailed them the message below, and encourage other poets to do likewise--there are a whole bunch of corporate e-mail addresses on Ito En's Contact Us page.

I can't begin to tell you how offensive I think it is that ITO EN, a for-profit company would solicit poems to enhance a product without compensating the authors in any way. Beats having to pay advertising copywriters, doesn't it?

This "honors" poets in the same way that a corporate logo on a t-shirt honors the wearer.

Nor is this a "literary" venture: modern haiku rarely follows the archaic 5-7-5 syllabic pattern, making it unlikely that reputable poets with literary credentials are involved in the selection, making this worthless even as a publication credit.

Sadly, there are enough fledgling poets desperate to be published that you will doubtless obtain a superfluity of cheesy 5-7-5 haiku.

I shall certainly make a point of boycotting your products. Your "Haiku Project" is predatory and devalues poetry.
  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.
  • 1 comment