Bridgeman Art Library, UK

About This Organisation


Bridgeman Art Library

About this Organisation

Bridgeman Art Library were founded in 1972 to work with artists, libraries and museums to make fine art available for reproduction on a commercial basis. They claim to have images from over 8,000 collections and 29,000 artists catalogued and key-worded to make searching easy via their on-line catalogues. They have offices in London, Paris, New York and Berlin.

The company was involved in the case Bridgeman Art Library v Corel Corp in which Bridgeman sought to prove that Corel had infringed Bridgeman's copyright by using Bridgeman's photographs of artworks. The court concluded that photographs merely copying works of art in the public domain were not copyrightable, and therefore use of Bridgeman’s photographs by Corel did not amount to copyright infringement.

Bridgeman Art Library lost this long argued and complex case, and lost again on appeal against the first court's ruling. The defence argued that the photographs were created as slavish copies of artworks and thus lacked all originality, this ruling was upheld by the court. Originality is a key element in determining whether a work can be copyrighted. 

This summary is a simplification of the complex legal arguments involving both US and UK law as detailed at the above link. The ruling is of widespread concern to many museums and libraries which obtain considerable revenue raised from reproduction fees.

CC  Wikipedia 

About this Report

traffic-light-stopCompetitions or appeals seeking submissions of creative works from the public, works such as photos, videos, poems, music, etc., are reviewed by the Bill of Rights campaign. The reviews are to help you decide whether you should participate in the competition or appeal. The only thing you need to understand is that when you create a work (e.g. a photo) the law automatically makes you the sole beneficiary of certain rights over that work (but see note 1 below). These rights are called intellectual property rights.

Rights have a value and you are free to decide what that value is. If a person or organisation would like to use your work to promote something, you have the right to refuse permission, or to set a fee for a specific use and decide how long they may use it. More information about intellectual property rights and their value to you as an individual can be read in our Guide to Rights & Licensing. Listed on the next tab are some competitions or appeals promoted by the above organisation. For each we detail how the organisation's terms and conditions will exploit your rights to their advantage for works you submit to their competition or appeal. 

A copy of this report was submitted to the organisation to help them review and change their terms and conditions. We also took the opportunity to invite them to join the Bill of Rights Supporters' Group. This would have enabled them to enjoy the benefits of being a member of a group which supports and respects others' intellectual property rights. Unfortunately the negotiations did not conclude successfully.

The main aims of the Bill of Rights Campaign are to help everyone understand that their intellectual property rights have a value and to encourage competition and appeal organisers to adopt the standards set out in the Bill of Rights for Artists.

Note 1. Rights for works created as an employee are usually owned by your employer.

About Their Competitions/Appeals


How this Organisation's Competitions or Appeals are Listed

How to Use this Tab

Listed below in order of closing date are the competitions or appeals promoted by this organisation that have been reviewed by the Bill of Rights for Artists campaign. To see the review of each competition or appeal just click on its title and a window will open to reveal its details.

The following information is provided for each competition or appeal;

  • the terms and conditions that impact on your intellectual property rights for any works you submit;

  • an explanation of how the terms and conditions will affect you and the rights you have in any work you submit to it;

  • a list of any other organisations sponsoring the competition or appeal;

  • who you should contact and how to complain to the organisation concerned.

The Art of the Mash-Up; closing date 11 Mar 2010

The Art of the Mash-Up


The design competition is open to graphic designers, illustrators and design students over the age of 18.

Images obtained and used from Bridgeman are for the express purposes of the design competition only and cannot be used for reproduction. Bridgeman images used within your design must be licensed separately and credited appropriately if you wish to reproduce your design for self-promotional purposes, both online and in print.

Your cover artwork must be based upon a work in the Bridgeman archive (as artist reference) or include Bridgeman images in the composite. Any additional elements must be your own original illustrations or photographs or works in the public domain. Images from other photography licensing agencies are prohibited. You agree to indemnify Bridgeman Art Library and Quirk Books for any or all issues with third parties due to the use of any non Bridgeman material.

By entering the competition you are giving Bridgeman Art Library permission to publish your entry both online and in print (for contest promotional purposes only).

By entering the competition you agree to give Quirk Books an exclusive worldwide license to use your entry for any purposes related to its projects or lines of business.

Quirk Books has received and will receive numerous proposals for book concepts or ideas, including mash-ups, as part of its business. Quirk Books also has a team of consultants and in-house writers, editors, and big thinkers that also develop their own ideas or concepts for new products, books, movies, TV shows and other entertainment vehicles. This is all setting the stage for the simple fact that we may have already been pitched or thought of your idea and you agree not to request money if we have already thought of the same or similar idea as your entry.


The following notes explain how the above terms and conditions affect your rights in respect of any works you submit to the above competition or appeal.        

  1. The terms and conditions claim exclusive use of your work. Although you will still be the copyright holder you will not be able to use your work again without permission. Competitions or appeals only require non-exclusive use of your work.

  2. The terms and conditions do not state you will always be credited when your work is reproduced. One of your most important moral rights is that you should be credited as the author of a work whenever it is reproduced.

  3. The terms and conditions are granting the organiser unlimited use of your work for ever. For non-winning works a usage time limit of 5 years or less should be set with usage limited solely to promoting the competition or appeal. It is permissable to use winning works for ever but only in a permanent winners gallery with the sole purpose of promoting a recurring competition or appeal.

  4. The terms and conditions grant the organiser the right to use your work beyond that needed to promote the competition or appeal. Your work will be used for other purposes. Usage of your work should be restricted solely to promoting the competition or appeal.  If the organisation wishes to use your work for any other purpose they should negotiate with you independently of the competition. You should have the right to negotiate an appropriate fee for the specific use they want to make of your work and to set a time limit on such use. You should also have the right to refuse use of your work. For further information on fees and licensing refer to the Introduction to Rights and Licensing.

The above may help you to decide not to submit any works to this competition or appeal. For further guidance please read the Bill of Rights for Artists.


#Quirk Books


To complain to the organiser use this email address; Kim Tidwell, Marketing Manager, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

To visit the competition website click the competition title above to submit the free image we have created. Note that the competition link may cease to work at some point after the competition results are announced.

You can help the Bill of Rights campaign by complaining to the organiser urging them to change their terms and conditions.  If time is at a premium for you we have prepared a complaint email which you can copy and send to the organiser. Alternatively, or as well as, you can submit the free image we have prepared to register your complaint simply by entering the free image to the contest.

Where a contest automatically displays entrants images on the contest website as they arrive you can use the free image to test the competition and determine if it is stripping metadata. The test results can be submitted to a survey by the Controlled Vocabulary Group.

The Bill of Rights campaign depends on your active support, your help will make a difference.

Updated on 3 Feb 2011


Failing the Bill of Rights


The Bill of Rights Standards for Creative Competitions

Competitions which meet all the standards set out in the Bill of Rights For Artists do not do any of the following -

  • claim copyright
  • claim exclusive use
  • seek waiving of moral rights
  • fail to give a credit for all free usage
  • add, alter, or remove metadata from submissions
  • seek usage rights other than for promoting the contest and no other purpose. Note that a book, posters, cards, or a calendar are seen as legitimate ways of promoting the contest and defraying costs
  • seek free usage rights in excess of 5 years
  • use the submissions commercially without the entrant's agreement, and such commercial usage is to be subject to a freely negotiated license independently of the competition.
  • make it a condition of winning that an entrant must sign a commercial usage agreement
  • fail to publish all documents on the competition website that an entrant may have to sign
  • fail to name the judges for this or last year's competition
  • fail to explicitly state all the organisations who will acquire rights to the submissions
  • set a closing date more than 18 months after the contest launch date
  • fail to make clear statements of rights claimed and how submissions are used.

We have written an Organisers Guide to the Bill of Rights to help organisers draft terms and conditions that respect the rights of entrants and at the same time provide legal protection for the organiser.

© Bill of Rights Supporters Group


The above text may be reproduced providing a link is given to the Bill of Rights For Artists.

Any text reproduced in italics in this report has been extracted from a competition or appeal website for the purposes of review.

Organisations who would like to be promoted as a Bill of Rights Supporter and have their competitions promoted on the Rights On List can use this contact form. We look forward to hearing from you. founded the Artists' Bill of Rights in 2007

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