6. Limiting Liability

Organisers liability for copyright infringements in competition entries

Penalties for copyright infringement can be severe. In the terms and conditions, organisers should generally indemnify themselves from infringements of copyright by the entrant. But organisers cannot escape liability for further infringement of that copyright themselves. For example, displaying an entrants painting that infringed another person’s copyright would not be considered the organisers infringement of
copyright. But if organisers reproduced that artwork or put it on a website, they then add to that infringement.

This issue is particularly problematic for organisers of film and multimedia competitions, screening and/or copying footage for public screenings. Organisers of competitions are advised to have all entrants’ assure that their entry is entirely their own work or that they have obtained all necessary clearances for
entries.

Terms and conditions should also address the consequences if an entry breaches copyright, such as entry disqualification and liability for costs incurred as a result.

For example such consequential costs might arise if a copyright owner sues the organisers of a film competition for screening a film based, without permission, on a book; or reproducing a painting entered in an art competition that is a copy of another artist’s work.

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