Case Studies

Arts Law assists the Australian Fairy Tale Society with agreements for its historic anthology

Illustration by Lorena Carrington © 2020

The Australian Fairy Tale Society (‘AFTS’), is a national, not-for-profit, charity organisation which exists to collect, share, discuss and create Australian Fairy Tales. AFTS, driven by its volunteer subcommittee, has worked tirelessly for many years to compile an historic anthology of original Australian Fairy Tales titled ‘South of the Sun – Australian Fairy Tales for the 21st Century’ (the ‘Anthology). Partnering with a Western Australian based book publisher, Serenity Press, AFTS approached a long list of author and illustrator contributors to incorporate their material into the Anthology, which will be available in both print hardcopy and e-book formats.

AFTS contacted Arts Law to obtain legal advice about its agreements with the contributors and the publisher. AFTS wanted to ensure it had lawful, ethical, responsible, and mutually fair agreements in place.

Arts Law offers a ‘Best Practice’ advice service to arts organisations like AFTS who seek to ensure their agreements reflect best practice when dealing with creators, while striking a fair balance with their commercial needs. Solicitor Roxanne Lorenz reviewed AFTS’s draft agreement with the contributors and advised on best practice for dealing with the contributors’ copyright and moral rights (these are the rights around attribution and not making derogatory changes to works). In respect of copyright, Arts Law worked with AFTS to ensure that it had obtained the appropriate copyright permissions to reproduce the contributors’ literary and artistic works and that the copyright licence required from the contributors was fair and balanced. Arts Law assisted with best practice moral rights clauses including ensuring the contributors would be credited and that their works could not be altered without their permission.

Because AFTS is using the services of a third-party publisher to print the Anthology, Arts Law also reviewed the service agreement between AFTS and the publisher. This was important to ensure that the publisher knew to comply with these same best practice terms when printing the Anthology.

It was important to AFTS that the Anthology incorporated a culturally diverse range of stories. In this regard, AFTS wanted to ensure that it respectfully incorporated works by Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander artists. Arts Law provided advice around best practice protocols for working with Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP). One of the works that AFTS has included in the Anthology is a story by an Aboriginal Elder which has never been transcribed or translated before. AFTS said that it felt profound gratitude and responsibility to be carrying this story into publication.

The Anthology will be published in Autumn 2021. Some of the notable contributors to the Anthology include Sophie Masson, who received an Order of Australia for her Services to Literature, T.D. Luong (Thang Dac Luong) who is a Vietnamese-Australian lawyer, writer and musician, and Eugen Bacon, an award-winning African-Australian author who is widely published and who is also on the Board of Directors of the Australian Society of Authors.

Arts Law were very pleased with AFTS’s approach to ensuring that it had best practice agreements in place, and because of its dedication to the project it effectively stands as an example for other similar groups to follow.

Louisa John-Krol from the AFTS Subcommittee said of Arts Law:

Thank you for all your wonderful, outstanding work; we really appreciate it and are 100% happy. Goodwill and fatigue often go together, which can make a not-for-profit organisation vulnerable. I advocate for the Arts Law Centre as a protective guide for organisations like ours.”