28 July
Photo by Daniel Anthony from Unsplash

PRIZE REVIEW: AFL SportsReady First Nations Design Competition

This month, Arts Law has reviewed the terms and conditions of the AFL SportsReady First Nations Design Competition (the Competition) in Australia. Read the terms and conditions (T&Cs) of this competition here

The deadline for this competition is 1 August 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 reached out to the organisers with best practice suggestions for their terms and conditions. Because the competition was closing in less than a month, the organisers were not in a position to alter the terms and conditions for their current competition but were responsive to our feedback and said they will certainly consider our recommendations for future activities 

How artist-friendly is this competition?  

The terms and conditions of this competition are moderately friendly to artists. Arts Law has only awarded a 3.5-star rating because there are some areas of artist rights that are not sufficiently protected. 

How do the copyright terms stack up?  

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

It is great to see that the terms state all entrants will retain copyright of their artwork. However, by submitting an entry, the entrant must grant AFL SportsReady (AFLSR) and the Commonweath of Australia (as represented by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment), a permanent, irrevocable, free, world-wide, non-exclusive, non-transferable licence to use, reproduce, adapt, display, modify and publish the artwork.  

For a better rating, we would have liked to have seen that the copyright licence was only granted to the winners rather than all entrants. This is because the winners receive the benefit of winning and having their artwork publicly recognised and non-winners receive no benefits by granting the licence.  

It is good that the licence is an express licence that is non-exclusive, which means the entrants are free to allow others to use their work. However, we would have liked to have seen a more appropriate timeframe for how long the licence lasts (for example 2 years) given that a ‘permanent’ licence is excessive in the circumstances.  

Further, the licence’s purpose is quite broad and may result in the modification of entries. We would prefer competitions to limit their licence for publicity and promotional purposes in connection with the competition only. At the very least, we consider that a licence to modify entries is unfair to the entrants and should be removed. 

Does the competition respect 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.   

It is good to see that the terms state that the winning entries together with a picture of the artist and their biography will be displayed on the AFLSR website and head office for a period of 12 months. Arts Law assumes that this implies that artists will be credited when the organiser’s display their artworks. For a better rating, there could be a positive undertaking to always credit the artists when their artworks are displayed and used under the licence.  

The terms allow modification of the entries. The best practice is to include a term that the organiser will treat an entrant’s work with integrity and not make any changes or alternations without prior written consent. 

What about Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property? 

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 the competition are silent on Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP).

In anticipation that some entrants will submit artworks which incorporate Indigenous arts and culture, it would be best practice for the terms to address ICIP. Entrants who are incorporating ICIP into their artwork should be required to follow protocols to either warrant they have the appropriate permissions, to ensure that they have consulted and received required permissions from the relevant custodians of the ICIP. Another recommendation is to bind entrants to comply with an existing set of protocols used in the sector, such as the ‘Protocols For Using First Nations Cultural And Intellectual Property In The Arts’  (published by the Australia Council for the Arts and accessible online here). Best practice for Competition organisers is to commit to attributing any ICIP as notified by the entrant, and do not publish or use work in a way that is considered degrading or offensive by the Indigenous community. 

What could they have done better?  

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

  • A term limiting the copyright licence to use the artworks for a limited purpose, for a limited period of less than 5 years.  
  • A term limiting the copyright licence to prize winners only.  
  • A positive undertaking to observe moral rights and clearly state that no changes will be made to the actual works, without prior written consent of the artist.  
  • Recognition of ICIP in the terms including requiring entrants to warrant they have the appropriate permissions and binding entrants to comply with an existing set of protocols to respect ICIP. Further, warranting that the organisers will commit to attributing ICIP as notified by the entrant. 

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 First Nations Design Competition about?  

AFLSR has partnered with National Careers Institute to run a national design competition to showcase the traineeship experience through First Nations participant’s eyes. The theme is ‘My traineeship journey’ and entries must demonstrate what a traineeship is and highlight the entrant’s trainee experience and what completing a traineeship means for you and your community. 

Entries are open to all current and former First Nations trainees of AFL SportsReady and ArtsReady who are 16 years old and over. Entries can be in the form of paintings, drawings, and photographs. Entrants must submit their artwork as a high-resolution photo and include the title, materials used and an explanation of how the artwork relates to your traineeship.  

The winner will be selected by community, with all artworks available on the AFL SportsReady website for online voting and will be announced on 23 August 2022.  

What prizes are on offer in First Nations Design Competition?  

There are three cash prizes on offer. First prize will consist of cash prize of $3,000. Second prize will consist of cash prize of $1,500 and third prize will consist of cash prize of $500. The winning entries will also receive the opportunity have their artwork recognised nationally – including on the AFLSR website and at the AFLSR head office in Melbourne for a period of 12 months.  

In addition, the winning artwork may also:  

  • Be displayed at the home of AFL SportsReady, Victoria Park 
  • Be used to illustrate Warumilang documents, including AFLSR’s Reconciliation Action Plan  
  • Be used on AFL SportsReday’s social media channels and website.  


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.