Under crowdspring’s User Agreement, the creative who submits their work to a project on crowdspring owns the intellectual property (IP) rights to their original work. Of course, if their entry (such as a website design) includes elements from third parties (such as stock photography), those third parties would retain ownership to their own work, as well.
Ownership of IP is transferred via a written contract from the winning creative to the client only when a client approves the final files (in the project wrap-up process) and the creative is paid.
The terms of the written contract for the project are available for everyone to review before they decide whether to participate in a project.
Any work not awarded continues to be owned in full by the creative who submitted it. We make it very clear to clients (in the User Agreement and in the specific project contract) that they cannot simply modify the work of a creative and use it as their own until that creative is paid. The only legal way to utilize any of the work from their project, however small, is by awarding or negotiating an offer with a creative.