19 May
Photo by Unseen Studio on Unsplash

PRIZE REVIEW: Best Australian Yarn 2023 

This month, Arts Law has reviewed the terms and conditions of the Best Australian Yarn 2023 in Western Australia. Read the terms and conditions of this competition here.  

The deadline for this competition is 8:00pm AWST on 1 August 2023

What is the rating? 

Arts Law has awarded the competition 4 stars out of 5. Read on to find out more detail. 

How did Arts Law help?  

Arts Law reached out to Seven West Media (the organisers) to make this competition’s terms and conditions friendlier to artists. We engaged the organisers following on from suggestions we provided as part of our review last year. We were delighted that the organisers took on board a number of our recommendations.   

How artist-friendly is this competition?  

This competition is very artist friendly. There are a range of generous prizes and the opportunity for writers to have their work published across the organisers’ channels. The organisers ask longlisted entrants to provide a time-limited licence in connection with the competition, and commit to respecting moral rights and Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP).    

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 

This competition has fair copyright terms.  

It is explicitly stated that copyright remains with entrants.  

It is good to see that only entrants that have their work longlisted are required to grant a licence to the organisers (an improvement on the competition’s terms in previous years). This is so that these writers’ work can be considered for the “Readers’ Choice” prize of $2,000.  

The licence is appropriately time-limited. There is an 8-month exclusive licence period during which longlisted entrants cannot licence their work elsewhere, and then a 4-month non-exclusive licence period during which longlisted entrants are free to start licensing their work elsewhere. This is fair.  

While the media and formats permitted by the licence are very broad, this is not unreasonable given the exposure this will give longlisted writers while being considered for the Readers’ Choice prize.  

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.    

We are thrilled by the competition’s treatment of moral rights. The organisers commit to always crediting the author when their work is published (except during anonymous judging), and will not make any changes to the work without the author’s consent. It is commendable that the organisers commit to getting the author’s consent for any custom illustrations or artworks created to appear alongside the author’s entry. 

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.    

We congratulate the organisers for their work on including ICIP terms in this year’s competition based on recommendations from Arts Law. It is also exciting that the competition includes a “First Nations Storytelling Prize” this year.   

The organisers commit to complying with the Australia Council for the Arts’ Protocols for Using First Nations Cultural and Intellectual Property in the Arts, and reserve the right not to publish or use work that is considered degrading or offensive by an Indigenous community.   

Other issues 

It is very disappointing that the organisers have left some uncertainty and flexibility in the terms regarding the prize pool. They have, for example, stated that they “[accept] no responsibility for the change in prize value between now and the ultimate date on which the prize is taken”. There is also a broad statement that elements of the prizes may be “cancelled, postponed, or not available” and if this occurs, that those elements will be “forfeited and no alternative offer will be granted”.  

It is also concerning that the organisers may require prize winners to sign a legal release form determined by the organisers in their sole discretion. It is best practice for any important terms in a competition to be included at the time of entry so that writers can weigh up whether they would like to enter the competition.   

What could they have done better?  

The organisers could have improved the terms of this competition by doing the following: 

  • Specifying in the copyright licence the mediums and formats that the work will be published in rather than asking for a broad permission covering all mediums and formats.  
  • Removing terms that allow the organisers to change the elements of the prize pool for any reason. Approval/certainty regarding the prize pool should really be settled before a competition is run. If flexibility is required, changes should only be allowed in specific, named circumstances.  
  • Removing terms that would require entrants to sign additional releases that they don’t know the contents of when entering.  

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

What is The Best Australian Yarn 2023 about?  

The organisers describe the competition on their website as a celebration of creative writing and the arts across Australia.  

Entries are open to individuals residing in Australia over the age of 12.  

Entries must be 1,000 – 2,500 words; original, independent works of fiction; unpublished and not submitted elsewhere; and written in English.  

The judges will first select a longlist by the end of November 2023. Longlisted entries may be included as part of a curated list considered for the Readers’ Choice prize. The judging panel will then select winners for the various prizes listed below.  

What prizes are on offer in The Best Australian Yarn 2023?  

There are 16 different prizes on offer: 

  • First prize winner – $50,000 
  • Runner-up – $3,000 
  • 8 x shortlist winners – $1,000 each 
  • Regional winner – $3,000 (there are specific eligibility requirements for this prize) 
  • The Navitas ESL Prize – $3,000 (there are specific eligibility requirements for this prize) 
  • The First Nations Storytelling Prize – $3,000 (there are specific eligibility requirements for this prize) 
  • GenWest Youth Prize winners – $3,000 ($1,500 each for a 12-14 year old winner and a 15-18 year old winner) (there are specific eligibility requirements for this prize) 
  • Readers’ choice winner – $2,000 (selected from a curated list of entries via an online voting poll)  


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.