This month, Arts law has reviewed the terms and conditions for entry of the Harden Art Prize 2024. You can read the terms and conditions of this competition here, with additional entry information here, and an online entry form with further terms here.
The deadline for this competition is Friday 16 February 2024.
What is the rating?
Arts Law has awarded the competition’s terms of entry 2 stars out of 5.
How did Arts Law help?
Arts Law was contacted by an artist who asked us to review the terms and conditions of the Harden Art Prize.
We reached out to the organisers via the web form available on their website and were pleased to receive a response. The Committee of Harden Art Prize Inc. (Organisers) thanked us for our observations around the terms of this year’s prize and said they would seriously consider changes to the terms for the 2025 prize, but would not be updating the terms for 2024.
How artist-friendly is this competition?
The terms of the Harden Art Prize are largely in the Organisers’ favour.
The Harden Art Prize is a landscape painting competition in Harden-Murrumburrah, New South Wales. An acquisitive prize of $10,000 for the winner, the Prize is substantial given the context of the of the award.
There is a brief exhibition for two weekends at the Old Courthouse, Albury St, Murrumburrah (6-7 April and 13-14 April 2024) for finalists. This is a good opportunity for artists to raise their profile – and a good financial opportunity for the winner. The winner, announced at the opening, will be offered $250 for travel expenses.
In exchange, along with the acquisition, the Organisers require the winner to provide an exclusive, perpetual licence to reproduce the winning work for promotional purposes.
For finalists and other entrants, the copyright and licensing terms are more confusing.
How do the copyright terms stack up?
The biggest issue with the copyright terms in this prize is that there are conflicting terms on copyright between the terms and conditions of entry and the online entry form.
There is no express statement in the terms of entry that copyright remains with entrants, though this is implied by other terms. All entrants are, however, asked to complete a declaration in the entry form confirming that they are the copyright owner.
The Organisers require the winner to provide an exclusive, perpetual licence for promotional purposes is very broad. There is no mention in the terms of entry as to whether the licence is limited to non-commercial uses. ‘Promotional purposes’ is vague and could extend to any number of activities and uses. More troubling still is the exclusivity of the licence. Coupled with the fact that it is perpetual, the winner is greatly restricted in the use of the image of their winning artwork going forward.
For finalists, the Organisers reserve the right to use images and photographs of the artworks for promotional purposes. Again, the phrase ‘promotional purposes’ is vague. There is also no express term on the use of these images, nor any express statement that copyright remains with the finalists.
However, in addition to the terms of entry, there is also a declaration on the online entry form that all entrants are asked to make. This asks all entrants, as copyright owners, to grant Harden Art Prize Inc. permission to reproduce the work in a list of non-commercial marketing materials – the prize’s website; printed, electronic and broadcast formats including but not limited to advertisements, brochures, flyers, signs and invitations; and the prize’s social media accounts, including but not limited to Facebook and Instagram.
This term in the declaration is better for artists in the sense that it is expressly for non-commercial purposes only, which are then directly listed. But there is no mention in this licence as to whether it is exclusive or non-exclusive, nor whether it has a limited term. This term also does not limit itself to finalists but applies to all entrants. By entering the Prize, even if not selected as a finalist, artist’s work is still able to be used by the Organisers to promote the Prize.
Beyond the substance of the terms, the fact that there are conflicting terms between the documents entrants are asked to read and agree to is a major concern.
Does the competition respect moral rights?
The terms do not mention moral rights.
There is no express commitment by the Organisers to prominently attribute the artist when exhibiting their work, or using it for any other purpose.
Best practice terms would also have the Organisers commit to not altering the works or images of the works in any way (such as cropping or changing colours for a catalogue) without the prior written consent of the artist.
The Harden Art Prize’s online gallery shows full artist names, details and artist statements with what appear to be unaltered images of the entered works. This is encouraging – but artists would be given far greater confidence and protection of their rights if these things were spelled out in the conditions of entry.
- The Organisers require artists to take out their own insurance to cover the artworks both during transport and while it is on exhibition. Best practice would be for the Organisers to provide insurance cover to protect the artwork while it is in their possession.
- The terms more broadly are silent as to what happens if there is any loss or damage to the work. The burden on the artist to take out insurance implies that the Organisers see this as each artist’s responsibility, but the terms do not make this clear.
- The terms do not set out the judging criteria for finalists or the winner of the prize. They also do not state who will be part of the initial selection panel for finalists, nor who the judges will be for the final winner. For transparency, it would be best if all of this information was available to entrants in advance.
- Artworks under the terms of entry will be disposed of if they are not collected by the notified date at the end of the exhibition. This is not best practice. The Organisers must attempt to reach out to an artist of an uncollected work over an extended period to arrange collection and understand why there has been a delay.
- The terms of the competition are silent on how Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP) would be handled for any entries by First Nations artists. Best practice for Competition organisers is to commit to attributing any ICIP material as notified by the entrant, and not to publish or use work in a way that is considered degrading or offensive by the Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander community to which that material belongs.
What could the Organisers have done better?
The terms of the Harden Art Prize could have been improved by updating the following:
- Ensuring consistency between the terms and conditions of entry and the separate declaration on the online entry form.
- Expressly acknowledge copyright ownership for each artist’s work – and provide greater limits on the licences the Organisers require from entrants to be non-exclusive, non-commercial and for a fixed term.
- Include terms about how the Organisers will respect the moral rights of entrants.
- Take responsibility for damage to artworks and insure all artworks while they are in the Organiser’s possession, including during the exhibition.
- Setting out clear selection and judging criteria in advance to ensure transparency.
- Remove any term that allows the disposal of artworks without first making reasonable attempts to contact an artist over an extended period.
What is the Harden Art Prize?
The Harden Art Prize is an annual landscape painting prize. It is now in its third year and is held in Harden-Murrumburrah, with an exhibition at the Old Courthouse in Albury St.
Harden Art Prize Inc. is a community-based committee which the Prize website states emerged from from an initiative of the Prize’s dual sponsors – Harden Murrumburrah Community Bank and the Geoffrey Kruger Trust.
The Prize aims to promote Harden-Murrumburrah to artists around the country and to encourage visitors to the region to support the local economy. As an acquisitive prize, the aim is to develop a collection of quality artworks that will further encourage these objectives.
What prize is on offer in the Harden Art Prize 2024?
The sole prize is a $10,000 acquisitive prize for the winner of the Harden Art Prize. There is a $250 travel budget also offered to the winner.
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.
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.