6 June
Photo by Hannah Olinger on Unsplash

University of Canberra Vice Chancellor’s International Poetry Prize Review


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 prize or competition. We look particularly closely at how a prize or competition deals with an entrant’s copyright and moral rights. We weigh this, and other considerations, against the potential prize to develop our final rating. Where possible, we contact the prize administrators to discuss any issues from our initial review which often results in a positive discussion and a good outcome for both artists and the prize or competition.

Arts Law is committed to ensuring fair treatment for artists, at the same time as taking a practical approach that considers the commercial constraints of a prize or competition. We reiterate to any artists considering entering a prize or competition that by accepting terms and conditions they may be agreeing to a legally binding contract. At the same time, entrants should always consider the possible profile raising which may result from being a finalist or winner. We take these factors into account when undertaking our reviews.

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 rated out of five stars only the terms of a competition which dealt with copyright and moral rights (using our previous rating systems  https://www.artslaw.com.au/advocacy/prizes-and-competitions). Arts Law’s competition reviews are now more holistic, in that our rating out of five stars reflects a broad review of all the terms and conditions of the competition.


This month Arts Law reviewed the University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor’s International Poetry Prize in the Australian Capital Territory.

The deadline for this competition is midnight on 30 June 2018 and it is open to anyone in the world 18 years and over.

Before publishing this review, Arts Law offered suggestions to the University of Canberra (University) to make the terms and conditions more artist friendly, and we are pleased that the University took on board our comments. 

Details about the competition can be read here and the General Terms and Conditions of Entry are here.

Arts Law has rated this competition 5 out of 5 stars.

In sum, this competition is for a previously unpublished poem (no more than 1000 words).  The purpose of the prize is to celebrate “the enduring significance of poetry to cultures everywhere in the world, and its ongoing and often seminal importance to world literatures”.

The prizes consist of cash and publication in the University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor’s International Poetry Prize Longlist Anthology 2018 (Anthology) in print and online. The terms could be a bit more concise when it comes to explaining the prizes, but overall this a great publishing opportunity and excellent prizes for the winner and runner up. As we understand it, it works this way: 60 poems will be longlisted, from which there will be chosen a winner, a runner up and 4 shortlisted poems. These 60 longlisted poems will be published in the Anthology in print and online. The winner receives A$15,000, the runner up receives A$5,000 and the rest of the longlisted entrants receive A$50 each. 

We commend the University of Canberra for implementing our suggestions to ensure a fairer outcome for the entrants. We have rated the revised terms and conditions a perfect 5 out of 5 stars, and we are pleased to outline our reasons for this rating.

First, all entrants retain copyright in their submitted poems, including those longlisted. This is an excellent condition of entry which should reassure authors when considering whether to submit work to the competition.

Secondly, the copyright licence granted to the University is fair and reasonable. Only the longlisted entrants (which includes the winner, runner up and shortlisted entrants) grant a copyright licence to the University, for their work to be published in the Anthology in print and online. The licence is broad in that it is worldwide, forever. However, this makes sense given that it will be published online, and the wide breadth of the licence is potentially profile raising for these authors. Importantly, it is a non-exclusive licence limited for the non-commercial purpose of promoting the University and the Prize. This is great; the longlisted entrants are free to license their poems to others, while the University’s licence is restricted to a sensible purpose.  Let’s also not forget the cash prizes, in particular for the winner and runner up. In addition, the longlisted entrants grant to the University a time-limited licence of 2 years for broadcasting and recording public readings of their works, which we consider a reasonable time limit.

Thirdly, the moral rights of entrants are expressly recognised in the terms and conditions. Longlisted entrants will be credited if their work is used or published. Furthermore, permission will be sought for any modifications or edits to their work. We commend the University of Canberra for its commitment to the moral rights of artists.

Finally, this competition offers profile raising for entrants. If they are longlisted they will be published in the Anthology and there is the prospect of being broadcast to a wider audience. Certainly a positive boost to any poet’s writing career.

As an aside, entrants should note that they cannot submit their entries to other prizes between 2 December 2017 and 31 August 2018 (at which time the longlist will be announced). Nor can entries be under contract to any publisher or broadcaster. We do not think is unreasonable.

To conclude, Arts Law is impressed with the University’s willingness to listen to our suggestions to improve its terms and conditions – it demonstrates its commitment to dealing positively with artists’ rights. Well done!

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

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.