Sample Agreements
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).

Copyright Licensing Agreement

This sample Copyright Licensing Agreement should be used when a person who owns the copyright in creative content wishes to give permission to another person to use their content (whether a visual artwork, text, music, film or other content) in a particular way.

Debt recovery - Letter of Demand

If you are owed money and it hasn't been paid, the first step is to send a letter of demand. This is a template which you can adapt.

Image Reproduction Licence for a Publication

This sample agreement is for use when a visual artist agrees to licence an existing visual image (such as a painting, a print, a drawing, a photograph or a still multimedia image) for multiple reproduction in a print or online publication.

Photographer’s Model Release

This release protects photographers against any claim from individuals when they use photographs including those individuals.

Sample Website Terms of Use

These sample Website Terms of Use are for use on websites either with a blog (i.e. a public "discussion board" that allows users to post their comments for others to read and comment on) or a more traditional website without a blog.

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.

Venue Hire Agreement

This sample agreement can be used for hiring a place/space for short period of time.

Workshop Participation Deed

This sample WORKSHOP PARTICIPATION DEED should be used when a person takes part in a workshop in which they will create copyright material, for example by writing text, composing music, creating new dance movement or coming up with new lines for a play, and possibly performs the material created.

Info Sheets
Agency agreements

Actors, musicians and bands often appoint agents or managers to act on their behalf. Visual artists often have a dealer who represents them. The manager or agent can enter into contracts that are binding on the person who appointed them (the principal). There are specific legal rules which apply to these agency relationships.

This information sheet explains what an agency is, how it is created, the authority granted to an agent, an agent's obligations, and the important terms of agency agreements. It also deals with any state legislation that applies to agents, managers and venue consultants in the entertainment industry. Bands and visual artists should also read the “Music management checklist” and “Artist-gallery checklist”.

Alternative Dispute Resolution - Binding and Non-binding

Alternative Dispute Resolution or ADR refers to processes, other than judicial determination, in which an impartial person assists those in a dispute to resolve the issues between them. ADR can also be used to mean ‘assisted’ or ‘appropriate’ dispute resolution. Learn more about the ADR process.

Auspice Agreements

When a group of individuals (the Group) form to carry out a ‘one-off’ project (such as an exhibition, performance or show) they may not want to create a formal legal entity just for that project (such as an incorporated association, co-operative, company limited by shares or a company limited by guarantee).

Australian Consumer Law and Creators

An artists has rights which are enforceable under law, and they also have duties to other people. This information sheet explains what ‘liability’ means under the Australian Consumer Law and covers some of the legal duties and obligations that are relevant to artists and creators.

Children in the creative process (ACT)

When artists work with children, whether as part of a community project or an educational workshop, or where children are actors, performers or models, specific legal obligations and duties arise.

This information sheet outlines the legal issues artists or arts organisations in the Australian Capital Territory should consider when they contemplate working with or using children in any part of the creative or artistic process. It covers the duties of employers and the requirements for police and working with children checks.

It also summarises ACT laws relating to child pornography and obscenity.

National laws as well as State and Territory laws are relevant. It is important to read this information sheet in conjunction with the information sheet Children in the creative process – Australia.

Children in the creative process (Australia)

Federal, State and Territory laws all impact on how an artist works with children as part of the creative or artistic process. This information sheet looks at Australia’s national laws relevant to working with children including the censorship regime related to the classification of films, computer games and other publications.

This information sheet must be read together with the information sheet that is specific to the state or territory in which the artist is working.

Children in the creative process (NSW)

When artists work with children, whether as part of a community project or an educational workshop, or where children are actors, performers or models, specific legal obligations and duties arise.

This information sheet outlines the legal issues artists or arts organisations in New South Wales should consider when they contemplate working with or using children in any part of the creative or artistic process. It covers the duties of employers and the requirements for police and working with children checks.

It also summarises NSW laws relating to child pornography and obscenity.

National laws as well as State and Territory laws are relevant. It is important to read this information sheet in conjunction with the information sheet Children in the creative process – Australia.

Children in the creative process (NT)

When artists work with children, whether as part of a community project or an educational workshop, or where children are actors, performers or models, specific legal obligations and duties arise.

This information sheet outlines the legal issues artists or arts organisations in the Northern Territory should consider when they contemplate working with or using children in any part of the creative or artistic process. It covers the duties of employers and the requirements for police and working with children checks.

It also summarises NT laws relating to child pornography and obscenity.

National laws as well as State and Territory laws are relevant. It is important to read this information sheet in conjunction with the information sheet Children in the creative process – Australia.

Children in the creative process (QLD)

When artists work with children, whether as part of a community project or an educational workshop, or where children are actors, performers or models, specific legal obligations and duties arise.

This information sheet outlines the legal issues artists or arts organisations in Queensland should consider when they contemplate working with or using children in any part of the creative or artistic process. It covers the duties of employers and the requirements for police and working with children checks.

It also summarises QLD laws relating to child pornography and obscenity.

National laws as well as State and Territory laws are relevant. It is important to read this information sheet in conjunction with the information sheet Children in the creative process – Australia.

Children in the creative process (SA)

When artists work with children, whether as part of a community project or an educational workshop, or where children are actors, performers or models, specific legal obligations and duties arise.

This information sheet outlines the legal issues artists or arts organisations in South Australia should consider when they contemplate working with or using children in any part of the creative or artistic process. It covers the duties of employers and the requirements for police and working with children checks.

It also summarises SA laws relating to child pornography and obscenity.

National laws as well as State and Territory laws are relevant. This information sheet must be read in conjunction with the general information sheet Children in the creative process – Australia since that fact sheet explains how the various federal laws operate. This information sheet explains how the South Australia laws relate to you as an artist working with children. It includes information about the employment of children, background checks, pornography and obscenity offences and the application of classification legislation in South Australia.

Children in the creative process (TAS)

When artists work with children, whether as part of a community project or an educational workshop, or where children are actors, performers or models, specific legal obligations and duties arise.

This information sheet outlines the legal issues artists or arts organisations in Tasmania should consider when they contemplate working with or using children in any part of the creative or artistic process. It covers the duties of employers and the requirements for police and working with children checks.

It also summarises TAS laws relating to child pornography and obscenity.

National laws as well as State and Territory laws are relevant. It is important to read this information sheet in conjunction with the information sheet Children in the creative process – Australia.

Children in the creative process (VIC)

When artists work with children, whether as part of a community project or an educational workshop, or where children are actors, performers or models, specific legal obligations and duties arise.

This information sheet outlines the legal issues artists or arts organisations in Victoria should consider when they contemplate working with or using children in any part of the creative or artistic process. It covers the duties of employers and the requirements for police and working with children checks.

It also summarises VIC laws relating to child pornography and obscenity.

National laws as well as State and Territory laws are relevant. It is important to read this information sheet in conjunction with the information sheet Children in the creative process – Australia.

Children in the creative process (WA)

When artists work with children, whether as part of a community project or an educational workshop, or where children are actors, performers or models, specific legal obligations and duties arise.

This information sheet outlines the legal issues artists or arts organisations in Western Australia should consider when they contemplate working with or using children in any part of the creative or artistic process. It covers the duties of employers and the requirements for police and working with children checks.

It also summarises WA laws relating to child pornography and obscenity.

National laws as well as State and Territory laws are relevant. It is important to read this information sheet in conjunction with the information sheet Children in the creative process – Australia.

Classification and censorship

Artists should be aware that they might be required to have their works classified. Whether an artist has an obligation to have a particular work classified depends on a number of factors, including the medium of the work, its content and how it is being used.

This Information sheet explains the different classification systems that apply to different types of creative works including films, computer games, publications and artworks as well as the available exemptions such as for festivals. This scheme is administered by the Classification Board. This information sheet also discusses the regulation of content for television, radio and internet by the Australian Communications and Media Authority as well as the voluntary labelling guidelines for audio tapes, records and CDs that have been developed by the Australian Record Industry Association (ARIA) and the Australian Music Retailers' Association (AMRA).

Competition conditions

This information sheet considers some issues you should consider before entering creative competitions.

Contracts: A glossary of jargon

This information sheet contains a list of some of the more common legal terms that you might come across in negotiations as well as words and expressions that may appear in an agreement. 

Contracts: An Introduction

Contracts can be confusing to get your head around. This information sheet is an introduction to contract basics. 

Contracts: Getting it right

This information sheet explains the requirements for a legally binding contract and discusses some contractual pitfalls, when terms are implied in contracts and the rectification of omissions of terms.

Copyright

Copyright provides a way for artists to protect and monetise their creativity. Knowing how to license copyright and earn a royalty gives artists a way to make money from their work. This information sheet will introduce you to some of the copyright basics.

Copyright Collecting Societies

Collecting societies collect royalties on behalf of their members. Members are artists, authors, musicians and other owners of copyright in works (such as lyrics, visual art and literature) or other copyright material (such as sound recordings, films, and television broadcasts). 

Copyright Infringement

Learn what copyright infringement looks like and what steps you can take if you think you're copyright has been infringed.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons (CC) is a non-profit organisation which provides a set of free, generic licences which creators of intellectual property can use to distribute their work to the public digitally. It was launched in the United States in 2001 founded on the concept that people can contribute to a shared 'commons' of creative works by effectively giving up certain rights in a copyright work and allowing others freely to use, adapt, modify and distribute this work.

Debt recovery – small claims procedure (NT)

An introduction into how one can go about chasing payment that is owning to them in the Northern Territory. It provides clarification on the small claims procedure in the Northern Territory.

Debt recovery – small claims procedure (QLD)

This information sheet provides an introduction into about how one can chase outstanding payment in Queensland. It provides clarification on the small claims procedure in Queensland.

Debt recovery – small claims procedure (SA)

This information sheet provides an introduction into about how one can chase outstanding payment in South Australia. It provides clarification on the small claims procedure in South Australia.

Debt recovery – small claims procedure (WA)

This information sheet provides an introduction into about how one can chase outstanding payment in Western Australia. It provides clarification on the small claims procedure in Western Australia.

Defamation Law

Artists often have questions about whether their work defames someone. This information sheet describes the law of defamation (sometimes called libel or slander) and explains how to minimise the risk of defamation and what the defences are if you are threatened with a defamation action. 

Disclaimers, exclusion clauses and risk warnings

This information explains the difference between a disclaimer and an exclusion clause in a contract and the circumstances when a risk warning should be used. It explains when you should use them, what they mean and the effectiveness of such clauses or statements in limit liability for injury, loss or damage. This information sheet should be read in conjunction with our insurance and liability information sheet.

Employment Issues (NSW)

This information sheet provides information about employment law in NSW for employees, contractors and volunteers, including employers’ legal obligations under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth). 

Freedom of expression

The Australian Constitution does not expressly protect the freedom of expression and there are also limitations that can inhibit creative freedom in some situations, including defamation, anti-vilification, classification and censorship laws and the treason and urging violence offences. 

Intestacy Kit - ACT (AITB)

This Intestacy Kit has been developed to assist families of Indigenous artists who passed away without making a will in the ACT. If the artist did leave a will, see the Wills Kit. The development of this resource is made possible through the support of Copyright Agency Ltd (CAL) and DLA Piper.

Intestacy Kit - NSW (AITB)

This Intestacy Kit has been developed to assist families of Indigenous artists who passed away without making a will. If the artist did leave a will, see the Wills Kit. The development of this resource is made possible through the support of Copyright Agency Ltd (CAL) and DLA Piper.

Intestacy Kit - NT (AITB)

This Intestacy Kit has been developed to assist families of Indigenous artists who passed away without making a will in the NT. If the artist did leave a will, see the Wills Kit. The development of this resource is made possible through the support of Copyright Agency Ltd (CAL) and DLA Piper.

Intestacy Kit - QLD (AITB)

This Intestacy Kit has been developed to assist families of Indigenous artists who passed away without making a will. If the artist did leave a will, see the Wills Kit. The development of this resource is made possible through the support of Copyright Agency Ltd (CAL) and DLA Piper.

Intestacy Kit - SA (AITB)

This Intestacy Kit has been developed to assist families of Indigenous artists who passed away without making a will. If the artist did leave a will, see the Wills Kit. The development of this resource is made possible through the support of Copyright Agency Ltd (CAL) and DLA Piper.

Intestacy Kit - TAS (AITB)

This Intestacy Kit has been developed to assist families of Indigenous artists who passed away without making a will. If the artist did leave a will, see the Wills Kit. The development of this resource is made possible through the support of Copyright Agency Ltd (CAL) and DLA Piper.

Intestacy Kit - VIC (AITB)

This Intestacy Kit has been developed to assist families of Indigenous artists who passed away without making a will. If the artist did leave a will, see the Wills Kit. The development of this resource is made possible through the support of Copyright Agency Ltd (CAL) and DLA Piper.

Intestacy Kit - WA (AITB)

This Intestacy Kit has been developed to assist families of Indigenous artists who passed away without making a will. If the artist did leave a will, see the Wills Kit. The development of this resource is made possible through the support of Copyright Agency Ltd (CAL) and DLA Piper.

Liability and insurance

Accidents can happen when you operate a business or conduct your creative activity. It is important you understand your ‘liability’ or legal responsibility to compensate for damage or injury to people and property. This information sheet explains liability, risk management  and insurance. 

Moral rights

Moral rights protect the personal relationship between a creator and their work even if the creator no longer owns the work, or the copyright in the work. Moral rights concern the creator’s right to be properly attributed or credited, and the protection of their work from derogatory treatment. 

Patents

Patents are a way of protecting inventions. If you have created a useful product or process, you may be entitled to register a patent. This information sheet provides a description of the types of inventions eligible for patent protection. It also provides an outline of how to apply and who can apply for a patent, as well as information on business method patents.

Protecting your ideas

How to protect ideas and an outline of confidentiality law. This information sheet includes a sample confidentiality agreement.

Public Art - Design and Commissioning

Public art commissions create exciting opportunities for artists, allow Australians to enjoy aesthetically beautiful environments, and stimulate community engagement with the arts. Learn how to get the most benefit to yourself as an artist, your council and your community.

Putting Your Film or Photo Online

This information sheet outlines the legal issues artists or arts organisations should consider when planning to put films and photos online.

Social Media for Artists

The Internet provides artists with a platform to access a worldwide audience for their work.  Social media, in particular, is a ready-made do-it-yourself mechanism for distributing, promoting, exhibiting and even selling creative content whether music, visual art, film, literature or other multi-platform art forms. This information sheet addresses the legal issues that can arise for artists using social media to publish their work.

Street photographer’s rights

Can I take a photograph in public that contains images of people I don’t know? Can I take a photo of a famous landmark or of the front of someone’s house and later sell it? Read on to find out!

Superannuation and contract for services

This information sheet provides a summary of, and guide to, the superannuation guarantee charge, including the different aspects of superannuation and the responsibilities of employers, employees and self employed workers.

Takedown Notice - Copyright

This information sheet explains the purpose of a ‘takedown notice’. It includes the procedure to follow if you believe a website has breached your intellectual property rights and you want the infringing material to be taken down.

Trade marks

An explanation of who can apply for a trade mark, how to register a trade mark, and what can be registered as a trade mark. An overview of the registration process, reasons why a application may be refused and preventing others to use your trade mark.

Unauthorised use of your image

This information sheet addresses unauthorised uses of your image, outlining that there is no specific law in Australia aimed at preventing this from happening. It suggests areas of law that may be used to try and stop an unauthorised use of your image.

Website development

This information sheet covers the most important issues that a person should consider and possibly address in a contract when engaging a website developer to create a website.

Articles
(RE)Introducing Creative Commons

So you're a creator of music/graphic designs/films and you want to get your body of work 'out there'. You've heard about this licensing system called the Creative Commons that doesn't involve you seeing — or, more importantly, paying — a lawyer. What do you need to know before committing to using a Creative Commons licence?

Cameras in Public

On a warm November evening the Gunnery and Arts Law played host to some forty artists (and a few lawyers) for the event Cameras In Public. With the tone set by a t-shirt with the slogan, "I'm a photographer not a criminal" the next two hours were filled with illuminating – and often very lively – discussion.

Caveat Artist: Who owns the rights in freelance photos?

Arts Law often received calls from freelance photographers on the question of who owns copyright in commissioned photos. A lot of commissioners automatically assume they own copyright in the work they commission, as well as owning the negatives, but this is simply not the case.

Displaying visual art on the Internet

Lindsay Johnston discusses the new best practice guidelines Displaying Visual Art on the Internet produced by Art Network Australia Pty Ltd and Arts Law.

Mugs on mugs and the many faces of merchandise

What is the situation where you want to take the photo of a famous or not so famous person and have it printed on a coffee mug or a T-Shirt. There are a number of things you should consider before you start rolling things off the production line.

Nothing Like Australia Competition: just unAustralian

Recently Tourism Australia ran a competition called 'Nothing like Australia' which attracted 29,031 photo entries. While the competition itself may have seemed innocuous it was the face of a set of very onerous terms and conditions.

Photo Reproduction of Artworks

Photos of artworks can only be taken with the permission of the owner of the copyright in the underlying work (usually the artist) as both are a substantial reproduction. Assuming however that such permission has been obtained, what are the photographer's rights?

Protocols For Working With Children

In this article Serena Armstrong and Suzanne Derry outline the main provisions in the Australia Council’s Protocols for working with children in art.

Snapping In The Street

Anyone can do photography these days, but awareness of the legal issues around the taking of photographs is less common. Arts Law looks at some of the key issues around popular photography subjects in public spaces.

The Devil in the detail

Competitions provide a necessary forum for artists, especially those embarking on their artistic careers, to advertise and promote their particular talent to a wider audience and to seek and possibly secure future commissioning for their work. For all manner of artists, creating works for and entering competitions at one stage or another in their career is so prevalent as to be considered a rite of passage! Regardless of whether you are entering your first competition or your hundredth, the devil is likely to be found in the competition detail.

The Legal Issues Arising When Using Children in the Creative Process

In Australia when using children in the creative process it is necessary to balance the interests of an artist and the interests of the children they work with. So if you are working with, or using, children in any part of the creative or artistic process, what are the legal rules that apply?

Unauthorised photography on the internet

Katherine Giles discusses the issues raised in the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General discussion paper, 'Unauthorised Photographs on the Internet and Ancillary Privacy Issues'.

Uploading your work on to a website

With very little effort you can create your own website to showcase your work. Alternatively, you can display your work on someone else's website. Before you do this, however, there are important issues you should consider before making your work available online.

Case Studies
A photographer finds her photos online without her permission - what next?

Arts Law was approached by a professional photographer who was concerned about retaining copyright in photographs that she had taken professionally. She had taken multiple photos of a friend and had given them copies to show their family. She later discovered that some of the photos had been uploaded to Facebook without her permission or attributing her as the photographer.  She was very worried about the effect on her ownership of copyright in the photos and her ability to use them again in the future.

Auburn City Council: Best Practice and Licensing Images for Merchandise

Auburn City Council is a vibrant council in the heart of Western Sydney and is host to a unique fusion of cultures from around the world. As the Arts Coordinator at Auburn City Council, Jenny Cheeseman plays an active role in supporting the growth and development of the artistic community, helping local artists to gain access to council resources and link-up with other artists and community partners on joint and individual projects.

David Beaumont Case Study – Do I need permission to use this old photo in my work?

David Beaumont is a Melbourne based visual artist whose works are held in private collections in Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom. He is a five time finalist in the ANL Maritime Art Prize and has exhibited in over a dozen solo exhibitions since 1999. In late 2010, he contacted Arts Law regarding an exhibition he was in the process of creating which addressed the controversial and highly emotional theme of terminal illness and euthanasia.

News & Events
A Commonwealth Statutory Cause of Action for Serious Invasion of Privacy
7th November 2011

The Arts Law Centre of Australia (Arts Law) is pleased to comment on the Commonwealth Government’s Issues Paper, A Commonwealth Statutory Cause of Action for Serious Invasion of Privacy, (Issues Paper) released in response to the recommendations of the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC).

Artists in the Black visits the Mid North Coast
16th June 2015

Arts Law, in collaboration with Saltwater Freshwater Arts Alliance is offering FREE legal advice workshops to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Artists on the mid north coast this June.

Arts Law Reviews the Terms of Competitions Closing in March 2014
26th February 2014

Prizes and competitions can be a great way for artists to gain recognition and promote themselves however, many people don’t read the fine print or understand what they are agreeing to by entering. Arts Law maintains an ongoing watch over the terms and conditions of prizes and competitions for artists in Australia and internationally. This month, we rate 19 competitions closing in March.

Defamed in 140 characters or less
29th February 2016

There’s the old adage which says that ‘Words are free. It’s how you use them, that may cost you’. So how relevant is this saying today? 

July competitions reviewed by Arts Law
9th July 2014

Art prizes and competitions can be a fantastic way for artists to build their reputation and earn income but do you know what rights you might be giving up simply by entering? Arts Law rates prizes and competitions closing in July out of 5 stars for fairness to artists.

May competitions checked by Arts Law
30th April 2014

Art prizes and competitions can be a fantastic way for artists to build their reputation and earn income but do you know what rights you might be giving up simply by entering? Arts Law rates prizes and competitions closing in May out of 5 stars for fairness to artists. 

Privacy
15th January 2007

Arts Law submission to the Australian Law Reform Commission on the issues raised by Issues Paper 31 concerning the Review of Privacy.

Spotlight on the Artist: Anna Glynn
15th June 2016

We provide legal advice to a huge range of artists around the country. We're shining a spotlight on these artists and sharing their stories.

WetlandCare Australia on the National Art and Photography Competition
17th October 2012

Arts Law maintains an ongoing watch over contractual obligations and terms and conditions of competitions and prizes for artists in Australia and internationally.  Art Law often contacts the sponsors of these competitions and prizes urging them to amend their terms and conditions to be fairer to entrants, especially where copyright and moral rights are affected.

Checklists
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.

Guides
Displaying visual art on the internet

The purpose of these guidelines is to codify the best practice for the reproduction and communication of visual art via digital distribution methods in Australia, whether such reproduction or communication is for commercial purposes or otherwise.

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.

Books
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.

The Arts Insurance Handbook (2nd edition)

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

A user-friendly guide to the insurance world for artists and non-profit arts organisations. It outlines the various types of insurance cover available and offers tips on what to look out for when buying insurance, reducing insurance costs, public liability and insurance for volunteers, where to shop for insurance and how to make a claim.

Other Organisations
Australian Centre for Photography (ACP)

A not-for-profit organisation that promotes photomedia-based art in Australia, dedicated to the practice and understanding of photography and photo media. 

Office of Industrial Relations (NSW)

Free publications to help employees and employers understand their rights and obligations under NSW industrial legislation. Has information about registering as an agent.