28 June
Image by Laya Clode from Unsplash

PRIZE REVIEW: Cossack Art Awards 2022

This month, Arts Law has reviewed the terms and conditions of the Cossack Art Awards 2022 in the Pilbara Region of Western Australia. Read the terms and conditions of this competition here.  

The deadline for this competition is 7 June 2022

What is the rating? 

Arts Law has awarded the competition 3 stars out of 5. Read on to find out more detail. 

How did Arts Law help?  

Arts Law has reviewed this competition, however, the organiser was unable to respond to any suggestions prior to the deadline for entry in this competition. Arts Law looks forward to working with the City of Karratha and the Cossack Art Awards to improve their terms and conditions for next years competition.

How artist-friendly is this competition?  

The terms and conditions of this competition are moderately friendly to artists. Arts Law has only awarded a 3 star rating because there are some areas of artist rights that are not sufficiently protected.

How do the copyright terms stack up?  

What is copyright?  Copyright is a bundle of rights that protect literary, artistic, musical and dramatic works (as well as films and sound recordings). These rights allow the owner of copyright to control the ways that a work is used. If you want to learn more, you can read Arts Law’s Information Sheet on Copyright here 

The terms of this competition acknowledge that the copyright of all exhibited artworks remains with the artist.  

If their artwork is exhibited, Artists agree to give the City of Karratha permission (a ‘licence’) to:

  • freely use, communicate, reproduce and publish;
  • for publicity, promotional and educational purposes associated with the Cossack Art Awards;
  •  in both digital and print mediums; and
  • for an unlimited period of time.

Arts Law suggests that the terms of the licence should be as follows:

  • only for prize category winners;
  • for a limited period of time (for example 2 years); and
  • there should be a requirement to acknowledge artists for artwork used for these purposes.

Arts Law assumes that the City of Karratha will take steps to avoid internet copyright abuse, such as limiting the resolution size of images, and will appropriately attribute each artwork used.

Does the competition respect moral rights?  

What are moral rights?  Creators have moral rights when their work is used (i) to attribution, (ii) against false attribution, and (iii) to integrity, which means not having their work treated in a derogatory way. For more information, you can read Arts Law’s Information Sheet on Moral Rights here.    

The terms and conditions do not address moral rights, and without any terms, the City of Karratha are required to respect the moral rights of the artists where reasonable.

Arts Law assumes that the City of Karratha will respect the integrity of each artwork, by not altering the work in any way without the permission of the artist and will appropriately attribute artworks when used.

What about Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property?

What is ICIP?   ICIP is a broad term that covers all of the rights that Indigenous people have, and want to have, to protect their traditional arts and culture (including writing, music, performances, paintings, languages, sacred sites, stories passed down orally, and other records of heritage). If you want to learn more, you can read Arts Law’s Information Sheet on ICIP here.    

The terms of this competition make mention only of the need to protect the intellectual property rights of a third party, and there is no term protecting an artists intellectual property.  

Arts Law assumes that the City of Karratha will respect the rights of all indigenous artists who enter artwork in the Cossack Art Awards, to protect their cultural heritage.

Other issues 

  • The Insurance provided is minimal. Artworks are only protected by the City of Karratha for fire and theft once delivered at Cossack. All other insurance is the responsibility of the artist. Arts Law recommends the insurance should protect the artwork from damage and theft, and should be in place until such time as it is collected, either by the artist, a courier or by a purchaser.
  • Payment for the sale of artwork will be made within 60 days of the close of the exhibition. This means an artist will be waiting a long period of time to receive their income. Arts Law hopes that these payments will be made well before the 60 days after the close of the exhibition.
  • Some artists may receive less money than the sale price of their artwork due to the following condition: in the event that a selling price exceeds the sum of a prize, the winning artists must accept the lower amount if acquired by the sponsor of that prize.
  • Not all prize categories have a detailed eligibility, so it is not clear, or could be clearer what artworks or artists are able to enter into each prize category. Arts Law recommends that all categories should have clear eligibility criteria listed in the terms and conditions.
  • As of 7 June, when the entries for this competition have now closed, it is still unclear who the judges for the competition will be. The website only provides details of who the 2021 judges were. Arts Law would prefer to see the judges listed prior to the opening of entries.

What could they have done better?  

To achieve a higher rating, the terms and conditions could of included the following:

  • A term limiting the licence to use the artworks for a limited purpose, for a limited period of time that is less than 5 years.
  • A term limiting the licence to prize winners only.
  • A positive undertaking to observe moral rights.

Overall, Arts Law finds the remaining terms and conditions of this competition acceptable.

You can lodge a query with us here if you would like to obtain advice from Arts Law about this competition.  

What is Cossack Art Awards 2022 about?  

The competition is run by City of Karratha and supported by Pilbara Ports Authority, Government of Western Australia and Rio Tinto. This competition is celebrating it’s 30th anniversary. This is an annual competition celebrating art and culture in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, which culminates in a Gala evening on 16 July, and an exhibition from Sunday 17 July to Sunday 7 August 2022, in the Bond Store and Post and Telegraph Building in Cossack WA.

Entries are open to Australian residents over the age of 16 and must be any two-dimensional original artwork executed in the last 12 months.  Eligibility, themes, and subject matter vary across the different categories (see below).   

Decisions are made by Judges, but there is no explanation about how decisions are made or who the judges will be.

What prizes are on offer in Cossack Art Awards 2022?  

There are ten categories of awards with a total prize pool of $89,000, and all categories are acquisitive with a commission of 30% (inc GST):

  1. Best Overall Artwork

Prize: $20,000

Eligible: All entries

  • Best Artwork by Pilbara Artist

Prize: $10,000

Eligible: Pilbara entries, may require entrants to provide proof of address

  • People’s Choice Award

Prize: $3,000

Eligible: All entries

  • Portraits

Prize: $8,000

Eligible: Artwork must be accompanied by a Talent release form

  • North West Flora and Fauna

Prize: $8,000

Eligible: Artwork must primarily feature Flora and Fauna from the North West of Western Australia

  • Emerging Young Artists

Prize: $8,000

Eligible: 16 -25 years of age and must not have won the award previously

  • Open Theme

Prize: $8,000

Eligible: No specific eligibility requirements

  • Works on Paper

Prize: $8,000

Eligible: No specific eligibility requirements

  • Painting by Pilbara Indigenous Artist

Prize: $8,000

Eligible: No specific eligibility requirements

  1. Painting Pilbara Landscape

Prize: $8,000

Eligible: No specific eligibility requirements


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. 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. For more information see our website. 

Further Information 

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.