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TV show rips off Britain's brains

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Got a great idea for a new Web venture? Then why not send it to Channel 4 - if it's good enough you are guaranteed £1 million, or you may be one of the lucky five to get a share of a further £1 million.

Alternatively, why not walk around the streets naked, asking people to take pictures of you in the hope that one of them is a top fashion photographer?

Channel 4's new TV show The E-Millionaire Show will put the channel "right in the swing of the new economy". All those would-be entrepreneurs out there are invited to post their ideas at the show's website, www.emillionaireshow.com.

After heavy sifting by venture capitalists, just 15 will then go forward to the show where they will battle it out in a "gladiatorial knock-out". The five finalists then go for the top prize - funding, 66 per cent of the shares, marketing and a TV crew following you around for a year.

Quite frankly, anyone stupid enough to hand over their idea deserves everything they get. The Register assumed the identity of Derek, a street cleaner from Carlisle. While Channel 4 (and all the associated others poring over the ideas) is unlikely to be interested in Derek's idea of selling street-cleaning equipment to housewives over the Web, we were nevertheless intrigued to find the following paragraph inserted in the competition's T&Cs:

"By entering this competition, you irrevocably and unconditionally grant permission to Princess, and its affiliates, successors, assignees and licensees to disclose your application including the dot-com idea for the purpose of assessing the application and to use, in whole or in part, by any and all means, media, devices, processes and technology now or hereafter known or devised, in perpetuity throughout the universe, including the right to make alterations thereto, your name and/or likeness and/or the results of your appearance."

Basically, whatever you send to us is ours. Forever. This is then immediately followed by:

"The applicants and contestants hereby release Princess, Channel Four and the Consortium, their affiliates, successors, assignees and licensees from any and all claims and demands arising out of or in connection with the application, the applicant/contestant's idea and the viability or otherwise of the applicant/contestant's idea."

Which means: and don't even think about suing us when we've made a tidy packet out of your idea.

Aside from the fact that the show sounds like it has been dreamed up by a naïve media studies graduate, can Channel 4 really not see the potential public relations nightmare looming when Gladys finds her egg-whisking concept was rejected but then popped up on the Web two months later, run by an associate of one of the judges?

This may be one of the worst ideas ever inspired by the Internet. ®

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