Heritage recently changed the license terms to demand complete exclusivity:
By registering for the Competition, each Entrant (a) grants to Sponsor and its designees a worldwide, exclusive (except with respect to Entrant), sub-licensable (through multiple tiers), transferable, fully paid-up, royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right to use, not use, reproduce, distribute (through multiple tiers), create derivative works of, publicly perform, publicly display, digitally perform, make, have made, sell, offer for sale and import the entry and the algorithm used to produce the entry, as well as any other algorithm, data or other information whatsoever developed or produced at any time using the data provided to Entrant in this Competition (collectively, the "Licensed Materials"), in any media now known or hereafter developed, for any purpose whatsoever, commercial or otherwise, without further approval by or payment to Entrant (the "License") and (b) represents that he/she/it has the unrestricted right to grant the License. Entrant understands and agrees that the License is exclusive except with respect to Entrant: Entrant may use the Licensed Materials solely for his/her/its own patient management and other internal business purposes but may not grant or otherwise transfer to any third party any rights to or interests in the Licensed Materials whatsoever.
Academics should also note that they cannot freely publish their results, even if journals accept publishing proprietary algorithms:
Rule 20: "entry (i) was not previously published"
Rule 22: "The Data Sets may not be used for any purpose other than participation in the Competition without Sponsor's prior written approval. If you wish to use the Data Sets for research purposes, please contact Sponsor via the Website's "Contact Us" form, including a reasonably detailed description of the proposed research. All such requests will be given careful consideration."
This competition is now a shortsighted R&D effort for Heritage. I cannot see how any company or academic can submit results under terms remotely like these. Companies are bought and sold and have many assets that intermix and academics require owership of their creations, both for publications and to build future work.
I urge Heritage to quickly change these rules and to follow the Netflix guidelines. Entries should require no license except being described in enough detail that a competent user can recreate the solution. Researchers should be free to publish results as they see fit. This will benefit Heritage commercially by ensuring the algorithms that are developed are far better than they would be otherwise, while protecting the interests of all involved.
It is sad that this prize, which has significant potential, will have little impact on academic research or public health under the current terms.
I encourage anybody that feels similarly to post their support.