Arts Law regularly reviews the terms and conditions of competitions and rates them out of five stars. Our review looks broadly at the terms and conditions of a competition. In particular, we look closely at how a competition deals with an entrant’s copyright and moral rights, and consider this in light of the prize. Entrants should always take into account the possible profile-raising which may result from being a finalist or winner.
By accepting the terms and conditions of a competition, entrants should be aware that they may be entering a legally binding contract.
For more information, see our free information sheet on competition conditions. Artists are welcome to contact Arts Law for legal advice on the terms of a competition. We also invite competition organisers to contact Arts Law for best practice assistance to make their terms and conditions fairer for artists.
Please note: Prior to February 2018, Arts Law rated out of five stars only the terms of a competition which dealt with copyright and moral rights using our previous rating systems. Arts Law’s competition reviews are now more holistic, such that our rating out of five stars now reflects a broad review of all the terms and conditions of the competition.
This month, Arts Law has reviewed the terms and conditions of the Hadley’s Art Prize, Hobart in Tasmania.
The deadline for this competition is 18 May 2018 and entries are open to Australian artists over 18 years of age.
Read the terms and conditions of this competition here.
Arts Law has rated this competition 3.5 out of five stars.
This is an annual acquisitive Australian landscape art prize (in 2D media excluding photography and film), offered by the owners of Hadley’s Orient Hotel in Hobart, Tasmania.
It is an acquisitive art prize where the winner receives a huge $100,000! Shortlisted works will be exhibited. There is also a People’s Choice Award (non-acquisitive), however the prize for that is not clear.
So, how do the terms deal with copyright?
Regarding the winning artwork, it is stated that it can be ‘used and held [by the Hotel] as part of their permanent collection of artwork’. This is a very broad licence, in that it is unlimited in time and the purposes of such use not clearly set out. That said, the prize is very generous at $100,000 and so this is an attractive competition for the winner. We would have liked however to have seen a term which expressly states that copyright remains with the winner and to make clear that this is a non-exclusive licence.
Finalists are also required to grant a licence to the Hotel to use their artworks. Namely, a non-exclusive 10-year licence to reproduce the finalists’ artworks in digital and material form for ‘prize-related and other purposes including marketing, publicity, educational and publication uses’. It is good that this is non-exclusive and not forever. It means the Hotel can make copies of the artworks and at the same time the artists are free to license their work to other parties. However, it is rather long and the purposes for which the Hotel can use the finalists’ artworks are arguably open-ended. The artworks can be reproduced for ‘other purposes including’ – theoretically, this could include, for example, the Hotel using artworks on merchandise for sale. There is no prize for becoming a finalist and so artists will need to weigh up this broad licence as against any profile-raising of this competition and of course that they stand to win $100,000. Ideally, it would be better if the terms limited this licence to a shorter term, e.g. five years, and for ‘non-commercial purposes’.
What do the terms say about an artist’s moral rights (which broadly are an artist’s rights to be credited and that their work not be altered)? There is the positive statement that the artist’s moral rights will be respected. This is a good start, but best practice is that the terms should go further and expressly state that artists will be credited whenever their work is used, or at least at the exhibition and on the website. It should also be expressly stated that no changes will be made to their works when reproduced, without their prior consent.
Other than that, entrants should be aware of a few onerous terms. The Hotel disclaims liability for the works during the exhibition – it is fairer for the Hotel to have responsibility for the artworks while they are in its possession and control. Also, artists can choose to have their works available for sale however they should note if their works are sold, the Hotel will not pay the artists until one month within the exhibition closing. It would be fairer if the artists were paid sooner. Finally, the winner is expected to participate in prize-related media activities e.g. interviews. However, this should be subject to it being reasonable to participate and the winner being given reasonable notice.
Overall, taking into account the generous cash prize, this competition is great for the winner. However, for finalists who do not win, they need to balance any profile-raising from being a finalist with the broad licence they are giving. For a better rating, the licence from the finalists who do not win could have been shorter in time and expressly limited to non-commercial purposes. Further, express obligations on the Hotel to credit and not alter the works should be included in the terms. Finally, the other matters addressed above could be dealt with in the terms.
You can lodge a query with us here if you would like to obtain advice from Arts Law about this competition.
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See more about Arts Law's campaign to improve competition terms and conditions in the Prizes and Competitions section.