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’s 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.
We have reviewed the terms and conditions of the City of Busselton Art Award 2018 in Western Australia.
The deadline for this competition is 31 August 2018 and entries are open to all artists residing in Western Australia working in any medium or subject.
Read the terms and conditions of this competition here.
Arts Law has rated this competition 3 out of 5 stars.
This is an annual competition for artists resident in Western Australia. The terms and conditions state: 'Through this annual award, the City of Busselton aims to build a collection of contemporary Western Australian art and promote ArtGeo Gallery as an exhibition venue.'
There are three prizes. First, the City of Busselton Art Award, being a A$10,000 acquisitive prize plus solo exhibition (2019-20). (We could not see any details about this exhibition.) The winning entry becomes the property of the City of Busselton. Next, there is a non-acquisitive Emerging Artist Award of A$2,500 (note the eligibility requirements for this prize). Finally, there is a A$500 non-acquisitive People’s Choice award selected by popular vote at the end of the exhibition. Judges may also award Highly Commended certificates.
Judging works in this way: Artworks are selected for exhibition which we understand will be at the ArtGeo Gallery (the Gallery), by a panel of experts who will then judge the selected artworks for the City of Busselton Art Award and the Emerging Artist Award.
The prizes are generous. However, the terms do not go into enough detail about how artists’ copyright will be dealt with, while artists’ moral rights are not dealt with at all.
Regarding copyright, there is the following statement: 'By signing this form, I accept the conditions of entry and agree to the reproduction of my work for promotional purpose'. In addition, artists submit digital photos of their works and there is a term which says: “photos are used for records and publicity only”. Effectively then, all entrants (not just finalists) are giving a licence for the reproduction of their work for “promotional purposes”, “records” and “publicity”. This licence needs further clarification. How long does this licence last for? Who gets the licence? Is it for non-commercial purposes only? Is it clearly a non-exclusive licence?
Regarding the licence to reproduce the works for promotional purposes and publicity, best practice is that such a licence should only be given from the winners, or at least from the finalists and winners, but not from all entrants. (On the other hand, it is reasonable that all entrants give a licence for making copies of their photos for records.) The licence should be limited in time (e.g. five years). Further it should be expressly stated that it is a non-exclusive licence (this would allow artists to licence their images to third parties). It should also be clear who exactly gets the licence and how exactly they can use the images – eg reproduce online on their website and/or in print material. It should be spelt out that the licence is for the ‘non-commercial purpose’ of promoting the exhibition and/or the competition and/or the competition organiser. It should also be expressly stated that copyright remains with all entrants.
Turning to moral rights (i.e. an artist’s right to be credited and for no changes or mistreatment of their work without consent), the terms and conditions make no reference to moral rights at all. Best practice would be a term saying that the artist will always be credited whenever their work is used (eg when the original is displayed and reproduced eg online, in print material). While it might be expected that this would occur anyway, it is nonetheless best practice to express this obligation in the terms and conditions. Further it would be great if there were a term that says there will be no changes made to any reproductions of an artist’s work unless the artist’s consent is first obtained.
It seems works will be available for sale during the exhibition, however the terms do not provide enough details about this including when and how artists will be paid. Note there is a 34% commission payable to the City of Busselton on all sales made during the exhibition, which is fair. It is great that there is insurance for artworks while on exhibition, although there is a $1000 excess – who pays this? The terms should be clear. It would be unfair if the artists have to pay this excess.
While this competition provides some excellent prizes and profile raising for artists, in order for us to provide a higher rating, the terms of the competition need to go much further and address the important rights of artists, namely copyright and moral rights in the ways identified above.
You can lodge a query with us here if you would like to obtain advice from Arts Law about this competition.
Please email us at [email protected] to tell us about any competitions or prizes you think we should check.
See more about Arts Law's campaign to improve competition terms and conditions in the Prizes and Competitions section.