Information on Copyright & Derivative for the Artist

SFAS supports the rights of artists and requires that all submitted artwork be the original creation of the submitting artist. It is incumbent on all artists to familiarize themselves with copyright laws and the concepts of derivative and transformative art to ensure that they are not infringing on another artist’s rights.

Copyright Laws

Copyright law gives artists certain exclusive rights to their own original work, and the reproduction or resale of that work. Copyright arises automatically when an artistic work is fixed in a material form.

It is advised that all artists ensure that their work does not breach any copyright. See the links below for further reading.

Derivative Art

“Derivative” refers to work that is based upon one or more preexisting works by another artist, and can include the use of source material as a creative base. Derivative work is not permissible (unless it can be considered “transformative” – see next section & links below). The nature of derivative work is very subjective, and eligibility is up to the discretion of the jurors and the SFAS adjudication committee.

Using Photographs

It is important to note that there have been recent policy changes within the Federation of Canadian Artists with regards to using photographs as reference. SFAS supports the following statement:

“While using photos as reference for painting is a long held accepted practice, making substantive use of stock imagery or photos taken by professional photographers is not permissible, even with their permission. Photographs by professional photographers are considered artworks in and of themselves. Reference photos must be taken by the artist themselves or provided to them by an amateur photographer with their express consent. Stock images may only be referred to for anatomical study and must be incidental to the completed artwork to be permissible.”

– FCA Policy, section 7.1.5

Transformative Art

There are some cases in which art that has been derived from another’s work can be considered “transformative” – demonstrating a significant creative departure from the original (i.e: new expression, meaning or message), and creating an altogether new work of art. The nature of transformative work is very subjective, and eligibility is up to the discretion of the jurors and the SFAS adjudication committee.

Useful Links:

SFAS Policy

The Sooke Fine Arts Society retains the right to remove any artwork from adjudication that may contravene copyright laws or show standards. 

If you are still unsure whether or not your work would be eligible, you can email the SFAS office at, however we ask that you please do so well in advance of the submission deadline (midnight, June 1, 2020).