A client of mine just got a great write up in entrepreneur.com (read it here). MyMusic has a great product and have a huge promotional caimpaign about to begin – see their website here. What they needed was a software upgrade for their product, digital music stands. They came up with the brilliant idea that they could host a hack-a-thon, get the best programmers around to pull a weekend long hack-fest to upgrade their software, and give any donations received to charity. This particular one gave the proceeds to the local symphony, hence its title Hacking for Music.
As discussed in the Entreprenuer article, this particular type of program is an off-shoot of crowdfunding, but instead of funding, people give their programming talent. MSNBC did a similar write up.
To hit on the legal aspects of this, and one I stressed prior to the event, was that each hacker should sign off on an Participation Agreement which transfers all of that programmers efforts to the entity hosting the hack-a-thon.
Also look for an article in the NY Times regarding Hack-a-thon’s soon.