Here are the fixed and permanent rules for all future editions of the escChat.com Song Contest: Eligibility Members of escChat.com may participate in the escChat.com Song Contest, a fun event between friends to share music and vote for their favourites. Entry into the contest is not a right, but rather a privilege. It is not a clinical song contest, but rather a contest for friends. As such, it is expected of members who choose to enter the contest to actively participate in the escChat.com chat room and become a regular member. Entry to the 13th escChat.com Song Contest is open to everybody, but from the 14th Edition onwards, only regular participants in the chat room will be permitted to enter. Eligibility will be determined by an automated system which will monitor the degree of active participation by each member in the chat room on a month-by-month basis. Members who do not adequately engage in the chat room will be prohibited from entering the contest, with the exception of the core founding members of escChat.com and other members of value at the sole discretion of the administration team of escChat.com. Members who are banned may not enter, however. Participants represent fictional countries. New participants are therefore required to invent a country and design a flag. They may not represent real countries. Players may only create one country. Anybody from any country in the world may enter, providing that they pass the aforementioned eligibility requirement. Acceptable songs Songs cannot be Eurovision Song Contest or Junior Eurovision Song Contest songs, nor may they be songs that have taken part in Eurovision national finals or were planned to take part in Eurovision national finals. This includes any variants, covers or different versions of any such song. However, songs can be by artists that have taken part in the Eurovision Song Contest or any Eurovision national finals, as long as the song itself was not part of such a show. Songs must be available on a streaming video website and YouTube is preferred for this. Songs may be disqualified if the participants who submitted them fail to vote before the deadline, or if a song is deemed by the administration team to bring escChat.com or the escChat.com Song Contest into disrepute. Such decisions are solely undertaken at the discretion of the administration team of escChat.com and no correspondence or debate will be entered into. If two people submit the same song or two people enter songs by the same artist, the person who submitted it first wins the rights to that song/artist for this edition. Songs that have been entered into a previous edition of the escChat.com Song Contest may not be entered into a future edition of the contest, nor may the same song sung by a different artist, nor any remix thereof. A song, once submitted, may not be changed for a different song unless the submitted song is deemed to be unacceptable by the host and/or administration team of escChat.com. Announcement of songs Chosen songs shall be revealed upon the closing of the song submission window. Songs should not be announced to other members before this date and doing so may result in disqualification. However, participants may choose to hold 'national finals', publishing a shortlist of potential entries asking others to vote for their favourites. This is permitted, as long as the winner of such a national final is not publicly announced prior to the closure of the song submission window. Participants may choose to promote their song in the forum prior to the closure of the submission window, providing that they do not give too much away about the song and do not directly or indirectly identify either the artist or song name. Voting Upon the closure of the song submission window, the songs will be revealed and can be viewed on the contest page. The songs will be presented in the reverse order that they have been submitted. This provides an incentive to submit early, as earlier songs will appear later in the running order. When the contest has concluded, the order will be rearranged to present the songs in their final score positions. The voting period also opens when the song submission window closes for a predetermined duration, which will be stated on the contest page. Participants rank the songs in order of preference, with the top ten being awarded points in traditional Eurovision order, with 12 points to their favourite song, 10 to their second favourite, then 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 point. Participants are also urged to rank more than just their top ten in the event that any of their top ten songs are disqualified; in such a scenario the points allocated to any disqualified song will be given to the next song in their ranking. For example, if Participant B is disqualified and Participant A gives 8 points to Participant B's song, then the song originally getting 7 points from Participant A will get 8 points, with the song originally getting 6 points being awarded 7 points and so on, and the song ranked in 11th place will receive 1 point. This procedure will be exhaustively repeated for all disqualified entries. Only people who have submitted songs can vote. Semifinal In the event of more than 24 participants entering a contest, a preliminary semifinal will take place. In such a situation, the top 10 ranked participants from the previous edition will automatically qualify for the final, with the remainder entering a semifinal. Participants in the semifinal must vote in the semifinal or will be disqualified. The participants who directly qualify for the final may vote in the semifinal if they wish, but this is not compulsory. 14 songs from the semifinal will pass to the grand final along with the automatic qualifiers from the previous contest. All participants in the final must vote in the final. Failure to do so will result in disqualification. Failed semifinalists may also vote in the final if they choose, but this is not compulsory. Results presentation If a video show of the results presentation will be broadcast, participants may elect to record a multimedia clip of themselves announcing their votes. This may be either an audio or video clip and will only be for the final, and not the semifinal if a semifinal takes place. Only the top three points should be announced (8 points, 10 points and 12 points). See the results presentations for the 8th, 9th or 10th Editions of the escChat.com Song Contest for some examples. Next edition The winning nation has the optional honour of being declared as the ceremonial host nation for the subsequent contest. If the winning participant is unavailable or declines this, the runner-up will be declared as the host nation. If the runner-up is also unavailable or declines, then the winning participant may arbitrarily choose a host nation for the following contest, subject to the corresponding participant agreeing to being the host. This concludes the official rules of the escChat.com Song Contest. Have fun!