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.
This month, Arts Law has reviewed the terms and conditions of the Heritage SnAps Photo Competition 2021 (“Heritage SnAps”) organised by the Department of Environment and Water of the Government of South Australia (“the Organisers”). Read the terms and conditions of this competition here.
The competition’s website states that “there are 2,305 State heritage-listed places in South Australia, but not everyone knows about these places, why they are significant and where to find them. Your photographs will help celebrate our State Heritage Places.”
The deadline for this competition is midnight, Friday, 15 October 2021.
Arts Law has rated this competition 5 out of 5 stars.
Arts Law reached out to the Organisers to suggest ways their terms and conditions could be improved to make them as artist friendly as possible. We were really pleased with the Organisers’ response – they were prompt and enthusiastic about updating their terms and conditions to make them better for the photographer entrants.
Entries are open to everyone and must fit within one of four categories:
- Category 1 – Maritime Heritage coastal and riverine (includes Shipwrecks and Heritage listed lighthouses, jetties, obelisks, wharfs and boatsheds).
- Category 2 – State Heritage visits (featuring photos of State Heritage Places you have been to).
- Category 3 – Professional and Edited photos of State Heritage Places.
- Category 4 – Young talent (under 18) taking photos of State Heritage Places (encouraging school age kids to learn about our Heritage).
There are prizes for each of these four categories, including various vouchers, passes and gift hampers. The winners of each category will be selected by the judging panel. From the winners of each category, the judges will vote for an overall winner, who will win a SeaLink return trip for two on a ferry (valued at $392) and a family pass to the Adelaide Gaol and Naracoorte Caves.
Additionally, the judges will select 20 finalists to be displayed on the website https://www.environment.sa.gov.au. The public will then be able to vote for the ‘People’s Choice’ winner, who will get a $200 SmartArt voucher, a Spring Gully Foods gift hamper and a family pass to the Adelaide Gaol and the Naracoorte Caves.
Entrants should take note of the term that if the Organisers cannot reach a winner by 26 November 2021 the prize will be awarded to the runner-up.
A photographer’s copyright is their exclusive right to use their work. Competition terms usually require permission to use an entrant’s copyright (known as a ‘licence’). This competition contains good artist-friendly copyright terms.
So how do Heritage SnAps’ terms deal with copyright?
Firstly, we are pleased that they include a positive statement that photographers retain copyright in their photographs.
Finalists must allow the Organisers to reproduce their photographers for up to 7 years for the purpose of promoting Heritage SnAps, in the organiser’s print material (for example, posters and calendars) and on their website https://www.environment.sa.gov.au/Home. The licence also includes the Organisers printing out 90cm x 60cm hardcopy prints to be displayed at an event to announce the winners in December 2021, and at other venues, to promote Heritage SnAps and its aims for up to 2 years.
We like that the licence is required only from finalists, and not all entrants and further that it is limited in purpose in that any use of a finalist’s work must be in connection with Heritage SnAps and future competitions. It is also explicitly non-exclusive (meaning that a finalist is free to allow others to use their work) and non-commercial (which means that the Organisers cannot, for example, put the photographs on merchandise for sale). It’s also great to see that the licence is limited in time – even though the 7 year term is on the longer side for a competition of this type, the upside is that the use by the Organisers under the licence will no doubt be profile-raising for the finalists.
In addition to this licence from finalists, note that all entrants grant a licence in perpetuity to the Organisers for its archival purposes. This is reasonable.
Moral rights and Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property
Moral rights are about being credited for your work, and not having it subjected to derogatory treatment (for example, through changes being made without your permission).
The terms deal respectfully with a photographer’s moral rights. The Organisers have committed to credit the photographer, reproduce entire entries and not to make any changes or alterations without the consent of the photographer (except for minor changes for cropping).
It is always excellent to see terms which show a respectful treatment of Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property, as done in these terms. The Organisers have committed to attributing any Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property as notified by the photographer, and will not display or use a work in a way that is considered degrading or offensive by the Indigenous community.
Competitions often use an entrant’s name, image and biography to promote their organisations as well as the competition. We are pleased that the Organisers of Heritage SnAps have decided to only use a photographer’s name in connection with Heritage SnAps and its aims.
As part of the competition, the Organisers intend to print a finalist’s work on 90cm x 60cm board to display at an announcement event and subsequently at third party venues for up to 2 years. We are pleased that the Organisers have committed to making these prints available for collection to the photographers after they have been used for events. Note, however, that if you don’t collect the prints within 2 months, the Organisers may dispose of them.
When we contacted the Organisers out of the blue with suggestions on how to revise their terms to make them as artist-friendly as possible, they were appreciative and moved very quickly to revise their terms . Arts Law was impressed with the positive attitude the Organisers took to respecting artists’ rights. The copyright and moral rights treatment in the terms warrant a 5 out of 5 rating. While the prizes are modest, the various uses of the finalists’ works including online and as prints on display at third party venues are undoubtedly profile-raising opportunities. Well done to the Department of Environment and Water of the South Australian Government!
Arts Law’s primary point of contact was David Hanna, Executive Officer of the South Australian Heritage Council, who said, “A big thank you is extended to Aditya and Trudie of Arts Law for reaching out and providing assistance to improve the Heritage SnAps 2021 Terms and Conditions. In particular, it is pleasing that they now include clarity around the moral rights of the entrants and making it clear that it is our intention to look after the authors copyright and use of their own photos. These improvements will hopefully encourage even more people to enter our competition and to help celebrate South Australia’s wonderful heritage.”
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.