10 February

180 Competitions checked by Arts Law in 2013

2013 was a big year for our star-rating system, with a whopping 180 competitions checked and rated over the course of the year.  In addition, Arts Law contacted 14 competitions directly to urge them to improve their terms to be fairer to entrants.  10 of those competitions (including the Archibald Prize, Melbourne’s Music Bank promotion and the Alice Prize) amended their terms on the spot.  3 competitions (including the IPAF ATOM Awards and the Dreamtime at the ‘G competition) worked with Arts Law to create fairer terms for their 2014 competitions.  The IFAC Australian Singing Competition agreed to look carefully at our suggestions, but have not responded to our follow-up enquiries.

Prizes and competitions provide a necessary forum for artists and creators to promote themselves to a wide audience and receive recognition for their talents.  Without these competitions, many artists and creators just would not be able to catch a break and continue to pursue their artistic goals.  However, entering competitions always involves agreeing to some form of terms and conditions that bind the entrant and usually favour the competition organisers.

That is why Arts Law maintains an ongoing watch over contractual obligations and terms and conditions of arts-related competitions across Australia and overseas.  How we do this is by reviewing the terms of as many competitions as possible and giving each competition a star-rating out of 5 stars.  Competitions with the fairest terms for artists receive 5 / 5 stars.  In this way Arts Law aims to inform artists and creators about their rights and what terms to watch out for, plus encourages competition organisers to consider their terms in light of other best practice models.

In 2014 we hope to create a database of star-rated competitions on our website so artists and creators can easily look up a competition that interests them and contact us if it hasn’t been checked.  We encourage competition organisers to do the same and contact us for best practice advice.