Sample Agreements
Artist and Gallery Agreement

This sample agreement outlines what is needed when an Artist wishes to enter into a long term relationship with a Gallery where the Gallery acts as an agent.

Auspice Agreement

This sample agreement should be used by a group of individuals who are not incorporated and want to apply for funding from a funding body that will only fund incorporated organisations (like co-operatives, incorporated associations, companies or companies limited by guarantee).

Band Partnership Deed

This sample agreement outlines the formalisation of a pre-existing band or performers wishing to join together to form a band.

Band Partnership Letter agreement

This sample Band Partnership Letter Agreement should be used when members of a band want to record how their band will operate as between the various members.

This sample agreement includes the most common terms which the parties need to consider and agree to.

Film/Video Partnership Deed

This sample agreement outlines what needs to be considered, both creatively and financially, when a partnership is formed to collaborate on a specific film or video project, and the parties agree to share all expenses, profits and losses associated with the film.

This sample FILM/VIDEO PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT should be used when a group of people want to work together to make a film or video. It is appropriate for low or no budget film projects where the parties cannot afford, or chose not, to establish a company vehicle for the film project. It assumes that one of the partners originated the idea or proposal for the project (whether that person is a producer, director, screenwriter or holds an option over a novel or otherwise) and approaches others to work collaboratively with him or her to make the film. If the originator is a producer who wants to retain overall control and responsibility of the project, then it will be more appropriate for the producer to use contractor or employment agreements with the director, screenplay writer and other people working on the film such as Arts Law’s sample Producer and Director Agreement. If the originator doesn’t want to be involved in the filmmaking process but merely to pay a producer to make a film in accordance with a specific brief and wants ownership of the finished product then Arts Law’s sample Video Production Agreement may be more suitable.

One-off Performance Partnership Deed

This sample deed should be used when a group of performers (dancers) want to form a partnership for the purpose of putting on a one-off show/project/performance.

Performer’s Ongoing Partnership Deed

This sample deed should be used when a group of performers want to form a partnership for the purpose of putting on more than one show/project/performance on an ongoing basis.

Sponsorship Agreement

This sample agreement should be used by artists or arts organisations when obtaining sponsorship for a particular event or activity, such as a festival, performance or exhibition.

Info Sheets
Auspicing Agreements

Many funding bodies will not make grants to individuals or unincorporated bodies unless they are auspiced. This information sheet explains what an auspicing arrangement is, how auspicing agreements work and issues to consider when entering into such an arrangement.

Australian Charities and Not-For-Profits Commission

This information sheet provides an overview of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) and some of the consequences of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit organisations Commission Act 2012 (Cth) (ACNC Act) for arts organisations that are ‘not-for-profit’ organisations that meet the legal definition of being a ‘charity’. The ACNC Act came into force on 3 December 2012.

This information sheet could be relevant to any institution or organisation that is a public library, public museum or public art gallery or an Indigenous Art Centre or any ‘not-for-profit’ organisation, where that institution or organisation satisfies the legal test of having a charitable purpose that is for the public benefit.

Business Structures for Filmmakers

Filmmaking can be undertaken by one person, or a small group, or with an extensive cast and production and post-production crew managed by a number of ‘producers’ with different job descriptions and titles. The choice of a business structure will be influenced by the complexity of the production and the risk of things going wrong in the production. This information sheet considers the advantages and disadvantages of the following business structures: operating as a sole trader; as a partnership; and as a company. Each of these business structures will be considered as well as the procedure for establishing each business structure.

Crowdfunding Music Projects

The guides to successful crowdfunding draw attention to the advantages of offering ‘rewards’ or ‘perks’ linked to the project as a way of enhancing the attraction of your project.  Arts Law’s Crowdfunding information sheet helps you understand what you can do (and what can get you into trouble) if you are a Australian band or recording artist engaging in crowdfunding for your next recording session, video, tour or any other creative project.

Film Financing

This information sheet looks at domestic and international sources of funding for film, television and games developers including both funding by way of grants (e.g. Screen Australia) or investment. Free-to-air broadcasters and pay television channels may provide partial funding for film and television programming. Film distributors may assist in the financing of feature films and distributors and publishers of computer games are possible sources of financing for computer games. A number of funding options exist, including the “Producer Offset”/ “Producer Rebate” scheme, and private avenues such as crowd funding. Each of these funding options is explored in more detail in this information sheet. Arts Law has a sample Film Loan Agreement and a Games Loan Agreement which may be relevant.

Music Copyright and Publishing for Bands and Recording Artists

Composers, lyricists, independent recording artists and bands that own the copyright in their music can derive income through the licensing and performance of their compositions and sound recordings. This information sheet explains music copyright and royalties, the role of collecting societies such as APRA/AMCOS and PPCA, and music publishing. Sample agreements that may be relevant include Music Recording agreements guide, Music Studio Recording Agreement for Unsigned Artists and Session Musician’s release

A New National Business Name Registration System

Businesses currently need to register their business name within each of the States or Territories that they operate within.  Many business owners find this a cumbersome process.  In March this year a plan was released to establish a national business name registration system.  The Australian government has introduced a draft Bill called the Business Name Registration Bill 2011 and two associated Bills, with the system proposed to commence in mid 2012.  This project is a joint initiative between the State and Territory and Federal governments.  Implementation and the commencement of the national system is dependant on the States passing legislation to put the system into place. 

Artists and the GST: The confusion stops here

We asked Steven Miller from Steven J Miller and Co. some common questions that artists have regarding the GST. His answers will help artists (and lawyers alike) to remove lingering confusion about how the GST affects them and their arts practices.

Better Ask a Lawyer: q&a with Michael Easton

Michael’s a lawyer with over 17 years experience in media, entertainment, commercial and intellectual property law. He previously worked for the ABC and now runs his own specialist practice. 

Caveat: Cybersquatting

As an artist your name and reputation are essential to the promotion of you and your artwork, and it is therefore essential that you are aware of the use of domain names and the issue of cybersquatting.

Common conundrums

Arts Law deals with a diverse range of legal concerns across all art sectors.  Below are some frequently asked questions over the last year, answered by some of our volunteer lawyers who provided an incredible amount of support and help to Arts Law during 2005. 

Get It In Writing

I am often asked by young bands whether they should enter into an agreement among themselves.

Just Blog It

Katherine Giles reports on the legal issues that bloggers may have to deal with.

Musicians in the Black Update

In Balgo in remote north Western Australia, a small group of musicians sit in the exhibition space of Warlayirti Artists Centre  discussing the bands they play in, how they make decisions and what they should call themselves. They like the sound of "The Lost Boys" but think there might be another band somewhere in Queensland using that name. Behind them is the new purpose built recording studio built at the art centre in recognition of the emerging Indigenous musical talent in a community better known for its visual artists – including Eubena Nampitjin, Elizabeth Nyumi, Boxer Milner and  Helicopter Tjungurrayi.

This Is Us: Establishing Your Performing Name

So you've found your band members, you've got the instruments, you've come up with some great songs you're ready to show the world - but what's your name? More importantly, how are you going to make sure it stays your name not just for now, but for your future career?

What’s in a name?

In this article Gibson Owen and Troy McGregor provide an introduction to the protection of names through the use of trade marks.

Case Studies
Albert Namatjira – copyright and a will


Albert Namatjira is one of Australia’s most well-known and celebrated Indigenous artists, however his family’s ability to have any legal influence over the ongoing cultural and economic management of his artworks after his death was compromised by the Public Trustee’s failure to appreciate the value and significance of copyright.

Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair: Creating a Non-Profit Business Structure

Established in 2007, the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair is an annual cultural event showcasing visual artworks from over 40 Indigenous owned and incorporated art centres. The Fair was initially managed by an interim Steering Committee made up of representatives from ANKAAA, DESART and Indigenous art centre managers. However, following a review of their governance structure in 2010, they decided to follow recommendations to register as a not-for-profit foundation, to help support the ongoing vision and management of the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair.

The Brow Horn Orchestra: On the road to success

The Brow Horn Orchestra ( is a six piece afro-electro funk band based in Perth, Western Australia. The band has garnered a cult following since winning Best Funk Act at the 2010 Western Australian Music Industry Awards and Best Live Act  at the Perth Dance Music Awards. In light of the band’s growing profile, founding members Nic Owen and Karri Harper-Meredith (who started out ‘The Brow’ as a street performing duo back in 2007) sat down with Arts Law Senior Solicitor Delwyn Everard at the 2011 WAMi Festival to get some general legal advice around band management.

The Dion Beasley Trust

Dion Beasley is a talented young Aboriginal artist working in Tennant Creek, Northern Territory. Dion is profoundly deaf and suffers from muscular dystrophy. He has only a very limited ability to communicate. When Dion was 14, Barkly Regional Arts contacted Arts Law requesting help to establish a business structure to protect the income received for Dion.

News & Events
Arts Law launches new band partnership agreement

Together with Allens Linklaters, Arts Law has developed a new short form band agreement. This template is an alternative to the longer more detailed band partnership agreement and can be used when bands want a basic straightforward record of how they want to work together, who owns the music they make and how they will share expenses and income.

Law of the Written Word

Join Arts Law Centre of Australia Executive Director, Robyn Ayres, and guest practitioners Barrister James Samargis and Dr Mark Williams as they discuss a broad range of topical Arts Law issues affecting writers.

New legal resources for game developers

Arts Law have recently developed a suite of legal resources specifically for game developers. All the legal issues are covered from conception through to development, production and distribution.  There are also sample agreements available including a loan agreement and music licence. 

System Upgrade

Dear Arts Law Supporters,

We are currently doing a system upgrade. As a result, over the next couple of weeks our ability to answer your query as quickly as usual will be affected. We endeavour to get back to our usual response time as soon as we can. Your patience during this period will be greatly appreciated.

Tax Tips for Arts Organisations- Adelaide

Arts Law is teaming up with Creative Partnerships Australia and the Australian Taxation Office to present a free workshop to provide managers and staff of arts organisations with essential tips and advice on taxation law.

Tax Tips for Arts Organisations- Brisbane

Arts Law is teaming up with Creative Partnerships Australia and the Australian Taxation Office to present a free workshop to provide managers and staff of arts organisations with essential tips and advice on taxation law.

Tax Tips for Arts Organisations- Canberra

Arts Law is teaming up with Creative Partnerships Australia and the Australian Taxation Office to present a free workshop to provide managers and staff of arts organisations with essential tips and advice on taxation law.

Tax Tips for Arts Organisations- Hobart

Arts Law is teaming up with Creative Partnerships Australia and the Australian Taxation Office to present a free workshop to provide managers and staff of arts organisations with essential tips and advice on taxation law.

Tax Tips for Arts Organisations- Melbourne

Arts Law is teaming up with Creative Partnerships Australia and the Australian Taxation Office to present a free workshop to provide managers and staff of arts organisations with essential tips and advice on taxation law.

Tax Tips for Arts Organisations- Sydney

Arts Law is teaming up with Creative Partnerships Australia and the Australian Taxation Office to present a free workshop to provide managers and staff of arts organisations with essential tips and advice on taxation law.

Business partnership checklist

This resource includes information on partnerships, including key issues to be considered within a partnership agreement, and a checklist for business partnerships.

Sponsorship agreements guide

Corporate sponsorship is assuming an increasingly important role in the arts. This guide outlines the different forms of sponsorship that an artist or arts organisation may need to seek from a commercial organisation and what should be included in a sponsorship agreement.

Seminar Papers
Music: Push the Button (2001)

Arts Law's 2001 music seminar Push The Button investigates the legal pitfalls in taking the song out of your head to the marketing and demo stage if you're an unsigned artist. The seminar covers everything from band partnerships, disputes as to who's written the song, using samples and cover work.

Business Structures and Governance: A Practical Guide for the Arts

The Arts Law Centre of Australia (Arts Law) has substantially subsidised this publication for artists, now only $5.00

A practical guide for artists and arts organisations, this book provides a user-friendly guide to the different business structures and governance for arts organisations.

Earning a Living in the Visual Arts and Crafts (3rd edition)

This must read for everyone involved in the visual arts and crafts includes new chapters on sponsorship, working from home, hobbyist vs professional and the role of design in serial production, while information on income tax, copyright, finance, marketing, selling, pricing and costing have been updated and expanded.

Visual Artists and the Law - EPUB format

The EPUB versions of the Visual Artists and the Law eBOOK. 

Here you can download the EPUB versions of publication Visual Artists and the Law.

To go back to the PDF versions click here

Other Organisations
Board Organisations-Building Effective Boards

BoardConnect, a resource for the boards of non-profit organisations, has been operating in Queensland, largely with arts and cultural organisations, since August 2008.  It was an initiative of consulting firm, Positive Solutions and received initial financial support from the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland.  In June 2011, it  won a contract with Arts Queensland to continue to provide these services for a further two years. 

BoardConnect is now an independent non-profit entity and is extending its services beyond Queensland and beyond the arts into the broader non-profit sector.

Dream Shield by IP Australia

IP Australia’s new resource, the Dream Shield project, features intellectual property (IP) success stories and tips for Indigenous inventors, designers and business owners. The Dream Shield project shows real examples of how to protect and grow your IP.

NSW Office of Fair Trading

NSW Fair Trading administers fair trading laws and looks after the rights of consumers. At the same time, NSW Fair Trading advises businesses and traders on fair and ethical practices. Free publications are available on their website providing information for consumers and traders of NSW.

Small Business Tool kit

The University of Western Sydney has developed The Small Business Tool Kit that is full of useful information for people starting a business. The Small Business Tool Kit is a valuable resource to find information and interactive tools you need to start, run and grow your business. You can register for free to create a profile, build business planning documents and track your progress.

Small Businesses Victoria

Business Victoria is a comprehensive online resource designed to help you start, run and grow your business. There is a database where you can find accountants, bookkeepers, lawyers and business advisers.