Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP)

ICIP is a short way of saying “Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property”. Sometimes the words “Indigenous Cultural Heritage” are used to mean the same thing.

ICIP refers to all of the rights that Indigenous people want to have so that they can protect and control the use of their arts and culture. The idea of ICIP is based on the principle of self-determination. ICIP is said to include the following rights:

  • Right to ensure that traditional laws and customary obligations are respected, particularly where money is made from ICIP;
     
  • Right to prior informed consent for all uses of ICIP. For example, artworks that illustrate the cultural and spiritual beliefs, and values of a community, such as paintings of Wandjinas from the West Kimberley, should not be used by people outside the relevant communities without the prior informed consent of those communities, even iwhen the painting itself is not protected by copyright. See the case study about Mandy Davis and her “Emu” painting for an illustration of an illegal use of an artwork which was also considered hurtful to the artist as her designs and artworks illustrate her cultural beliefs and values and her connection to her ancestors;
     
  • Right to be paid for use of ICIP, particularly if it has been used without permission;
     
  • Right to full and proper attribution or naming of the community connected with the work;
     
  • Right to protect traditional knowledge;
     
  • Right to prevent insulting, offensive and misleading uses of ICIP in all media; and
     
  • Right to control the recording of cultural customs and expressions, and language that may be essential to cultural identity, knowledge, skill and teaching about Indigenous culture.
     

Those rights are not recognised independently by law in Australia. However, work is currently undertaken in Australia as well as on an international level for the protection of ICIP, including the work of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). See the Hot topics section for more information.

That work indicates a consensus about the need for specific legislation to protect ICIP. However, in the absence of agreed definitions in this area, progress is difficult.

Provenance and Authenticity Issues

A frequent issue which arises in relation to Indigenous visual arts is the provenance and the authenticity of artworks. A problem faced by Indigenous artists and communities is how to protect authentic artworks from rip-offs made by non-Indigenous people. Consumers and commercial operators are also concerned that they are dealing with authentic Indigenous artworks.

  • Provenance: provenance deals with the source of the artwork.

In order not to buy fake Indigenous artworks, consumers must check the provenance of the artwork. For example, whether an artwork really comes from the Indigenous art centre, or from the community or region the vendor claims it comes from is an issue of provenance.

  • Authenticity: authenticity deals with the truthfulness of origins.

In the case of Indigenous artworks, authenticity means artworks that have been made by an Indigenous person. Authenticity can also relate to the circumstances in which the artwork is created. Therefore, a painting made in the dotted style of some Aboriginal art cannot be sold as an authentic Indigenous art if the artist is not an Indigenous person. Likewise, it is questionable whether artifacts created on a large scale solely for the tourist market (such as didgeridoos) can be considered as authentic – even in circumstances where the person creating the object is an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.
 

The provenance and the authenticity of Indigenous artworks is important not only for ethical and legal reasons but because Indigenous artworks have significant value in the art market.

As there is no longer a label of authenticity managed by a functional administrative body, many art centres, galleries, retailers and individual artists provide purchasers of Indigenous artworks with certificates of authenticity. Those certificates include the artist’s name, date of birth, artwork name, and photographs of the artist painting the artwork. However, these certificates of authenticity do not guarantee that work is authentic. In fact, in most instances artworks have not been through an independent assessment process.

In July 2010 the Indigenous Art Code (the Code) was opened to members. While the principal focus of the Code is on ensuring that dealers working with Indigenous artists do not engage in unconscionable conduct towards those artists, it will have an impact in ensuring authenticity through the issuing of a Code Certificate for artworks sold. This Certificate will incorporate many of the features of authenticity schemes currently being used by Indigenous art centres.

Several other propositions have been made in order to guarantee the provenance and the authenticity of Indigenous artworks in the future, including:

  • a trade mark that recognises and protects Indigenous culture and intellectual property.

International Issues

  1. World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO)'s work on protecting Indigenous intellectual property
  2. UN's Permanent Forum on Indigenous issues
  3. UNESCO
  4. Pacific Islands Forum
  5. Other work being done overseas

World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO)'s work on protecting Indigenous intellectual property

The Intergovernmental Committee on Traditional Knowledge, Genetic Resources and Traditional Cultural Expressions/Folklore

The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) is a specialised agency of the United Nations which is dedicated to developing a balanced and accessible international intellectual property system.

The need to protect Indigenous cultural heritage does not stop at Australia’s borders; it is relevant to Indigenous communities all around the world. Accordingly, WIPO has created an Intergovernmental Committee on Traditional Knowledge, Genetic Resources and Traditional Cultural Expressions/Folklore (the IGC) which has been deliberating on this issue for 10 years. Australia has been actively involved in the IGC's work from the start of discussions.

The IGC has developed draft documents covering the core principles and objectives, as well as other substantive provisions in relation to traditional cultural expressions (TCEs).The work in relation to traditional knowledge and genetic resources has progressed in different directions. With the document relating to TCEs, whilst there is still quite a bit of disagreement about many of the issues amongst participating nations, progress has accelerated with WIPO having set a deadline for September 2011 to present the text of any international legal instrument for the consideration of its General Assembly.

The aim of the instruments is to ensure the effective protection of traditional cultural expressions (TCEs)/folklore both at domestic levels and across international borders. 

Some aspects of the draft instrument might be difficult to apply inthe Australian context. For example, a requirement for registration of TCEs in order to get the highest level of protection might be difficult to satisfy given the remoteness of some Indigenous communities, their level of literacy in English and the lack of means of communication.

WIPO is also involved in capacity building work with some member States, and will provide legal-technical assistance to States, regional organisations and communities, with respect to:

  • developing and strengthening national and regional systems for the protection of TCEs
  • through the Creative Heritage Project, the strategic management of IP rights and interests in specific practical contexts such as:
    • IP and the Documentation and Digitization of Intangible Cultural Heritage
      • IP Management by Museums, Libraries and Archives
      • Community Cultural Documentation
    • IP and Handicrafts
    • IP Management related to Arts Festivals

Further information

WIPO traditional knowledge section
IP Australia discussion

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UN's Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

Report of the secretariat on Indigenous traditional knowledge by Michael Dodson, Special Rapporteur, 2007. This report was commissioned by the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues which appointed Michael Dodson to prepare a concept paper on the extent to which  customary laws should be reflected in international and national standards addressing traditional knowledge.

For further information go to Permanent Forum's website

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UNESCO

UNESCO has developed the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. The convention includes principles and articles which deal with promoting and protecting Indigenous cultural expressions.

Article 2 – Guiding principles

1, 2 …

3. Principle of equal dignity of and respect for all cultures

The protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions presuppose the recognition of equal dignity of and respect for all cultures, including the cultures of persons belonging to minorities and indigenous peoples.

Article 7 – Measures to promote cultural expressions

1. Parties shall endeavour to create in their territory an environment which encourages individuals and social groups:

(a) to create, produce, disseminate, distribute and have access to their own cultural expressions, paying due attention to the special circumstances and needs of women as well as various social groups, including persons belonging to minorities and indigenous peoples;

2, 3 …

For further information about UNESCO's work on the convention and cultural diversity go to their website.

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Pacific Islands Forum

The Pacific Islands Forum is a political grouping of 16 independent and self-governing states.

In 2002, the Pacific Islands Forum adopted a Regional Framework for the Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Expressions of Culture which contained a Model Law for the Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Expressions of Culture (Model Law).

The Model Law is a draft document establishing a new range of statutory rights for traditional owners of traditional knowledge and expressions of culture. The model law provides a basis for Pacific Island countries wishing to enact legislation for the protection of traditional knowledge and expressions of culture.

In order to further the protection of traditional knowledge, the Pacific Islands Forum launched in 2009 the Traditional Knowledge Action Plan. The aim of this Action Plan is to support the effective implementation of domestic efforts for protection along with developing regional efforts for the protection of ownership rights and the effective commercialisation and economic use of traditional knowledge.

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Other work being done overseas

The following nations have introduced legislation to provide better protection of Indigenous intellectual property:

New Zealand:

Panama:

Philippines:

Peru

Republic of Azerbaijan:

Links to these laws can be found on the WIPO website.

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Negotiation

  1. Information for Indigenous artists
  2. Information for commercial operators
  3. Resources

Information for Indigenous artists

Negotiation is a discussion intended to produce an agreement or to resolve disputes in order to satisfy various interests.

Artists must keep in mind that, during negotiations, they are one of the parties. As one of the parties, they need to ensure that they express any disagreements or ask for modifications of any unsatisfactory terms. In an arts context, the parties are likely to have a relationship after the negotiation phase so it is important to keep this in mind.

Most of the time, commercial operators will provide artists with a pre-written document. In this case, you are still able to negotiate. Don’t rush to sign the document.

Below are some helpful tips for negotiation:

  • Be professional
    Separate the person from the problem or the issue you are discussing. Leave your emotions out of it.
  • Be focused
    Focus on what it is you want to achieve and what your interests are. Try to focus on the positives rather than the problems. Be specific about what you want. Try to see the other point of view (without necessarily agreeing to it).
  • Be creative
    Think of the possibilities and try to come up with alternatives that may be a good outcome for everyone. Look for mutual gain and the benefits for everyone involved.
  • Be aware of you rights.

  • What are the rights I am giving away and what are the rights I keep?
  • What is the duration of the agreement?
  • Who am I giving my rights?
  • What area can these rights be used in?
     
  • Find out about the person you are negotiating with.
    It is useful to know as much as possible about the person you are dealing with and for them to find out about you. If you can establish a relationship based upon respect and understanding this will help your dealings with each other in the future.
  • Read any documents carefully and make sure that you understand everything.
    In a legal document, you will find legal vocabulary which you may not understand. In law, each legal word has a specific meaning and implied consequences. So ask for explanations.
  • Have a look to see if there is any Indigenous heritage or ICIP clause in the document.
    Due to the absence of Australian legislation protecting all aspects of ICIP, it is important to include clauses in agreements which specifically protect Indigenous heritage.
  • If you want to be paid, check that the amount of the fees or the royalties are fair.
    You are entitled to a reward for your work and should ensure that the fees or the royalties agreed are fair. Inform yourself of the current industry rates.
  • Get legal advice on agreements.
    The Arts Law Centre of Australia may assist you to understand the proposed agreement.

Negotiation is also used in the process of mediation. Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution which aims is to resolve disputes between two or more parties by negotiating a solution which is acceptable for the parties. Arts Law has a mediation service.

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Information for commercial operators

Commercial operators should ensure they do not take advantage of their position in their dealings with Indigenous artists. Commercial operators should endeavour to make sure they use effective communication with Indigenous artists, especially where English is their second language. It is important to ensure that both parties contribute to the negotiation. This means the commercial operator follows a process that allows the artist to have a say. As a commercial operator, make sure that Indigenous artists understand how their intellectual property rights are being used. It is important that commercial operators use translators when required. Commercial operators should adhere to the standards which are set out in the Indigenous Australian Art Commercial Code of Conduct. If you are operating outside the visual arts and crafts area this may still provide a useful guide. Otherwise you should be mindful of the various Indigenous protocols available to provide assistance in your dealings with Indigenous arts sectors.

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Resources

Arts Law Centre of Australia:

Artist-gallery checklist

This checklist covers many of the issues which need to be considered and decided on by artists and galleries when negotiating their exhibition arrangements.

Music management checklist

This checklist outlines issues which musicians and bands need to consider before entering into a management agreement. It is recommended for use in negotiations, before artist and manager sign a written agreement.

Music publishing checklist

This checklist outlines the basic concepts of music publishing agreements. Music publishing is one of the most complex areas of the music industry. Music publishers are an integral part of the contemporary music industry as they act as an interface between songwriters or composers and the rest of the music industry.

Music recording agreement guide

This guide outlines the basic concepts of a recording agreement. It explains the different types of recording contracts and briefly states the formalities of forming and negotiating a deal with a record company. The checklist also has a glossary of common terms which will help you understand what is being offered in a recording deal.

Mediation service

This information sheet explains what mediation is and its strengths as well as describing the Arts Law's mediation service.

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Income and Pricing

  1. Pricing
  2. Ongoing benefits: royalties and collecting societies
  3. Employment: useful guides to minimum hourly rates

Pricing

Pricing of Indigenous artworks can be difficult. Some art centres have developed pricing models based on factors such as the seniority or status of the artist (e.g. established having had successful solo exhibitions, mid-level, new or emerging) coupled with the size of the canvas. There are limited resources available to assist art centres or dealers with the pricing of artists' works. The following resources may provide some assistance. It may also be useful to speak to the peak Indigenous art organisations (Desart, ANKAAA, Umi Arts, Ananguku Arts, AACHWA) for further assistance with pricing models. The Indigenous Visual Art and Craft Resource Directory 2006 provides state by state contact details to art centres.

Aboriginal Art Online

This website provides useful information about pricing Indigenous artworks, with links to data about the current art market and current prices of Indigenous artworks.

Art Centre Way

This web-based resource provides skill based training for people working in Indigenous art centres. It has useful sections dealing with most aspects of running an art centre including the business issues.  

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Ongoing benefits: royalties and collecting societies

Artists can receive ongoing benefits from their artworks through royalty payments. One major way in which these royalties are obtained is through the use of copyright collecting societies, which collect royalties on your behalf and distribute them to you. Australian copyright collecting societies include:

  • Copyright Agency Limited (CAL)
  • Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA)
  • Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners' Society Ltd (AMCOS)
  • Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA)
  • Screenrights—The Audio-Visual Copyright Society Ltd
  • Viscopy (Visual Arts Copyright Collecting Agency)

For more information on which collecting societies are relevant to you, and how royalties work, visit the information on licensing.

Resale royalty

The Australian visual artists’ resale royalty scheme commenced on the 9th June 2010. The Australian visual artists’ resale royalty scheme entitles visual artists to receive payment of a 5% royalty on certain resales of their works. To participate in the scheme, you need to register. You can register online.

The Australian Government has appointed Copyright Agency Ltd (CAL) to manage the scheme. For more information about the scheme and what it means for artists, visit their website.

If you have any enquiries about the scheme please email resale@copyright.com.au or phone 1800 066 844.

Further resources

Beyond Guarding Ground

In “Beyond Guarding Ground”, Terri Janke suggests, on the basis of specific examples, the limitations of Australian law to protect Indigenous arts and cultural expressions. She proposes the creation of a National Indigenous Cultural Authority to implement the rights of Indigenous people under Article 31 of the Declaration on the rights of Indigenous people to maintain, control, protect and develop cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions. Terri Janke suggests that the National Indigenous Cultural Authority could also administer rights either directly or by establishing a rights clearance framework (similar to a collecting society) for Indigenous cultural and intellectual property rights.

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Employment: useful guides to minimum hourly rates

Australian Society of Authors

The Australian Society of Authors is the professional association for Australia’s literary creators. The ASA sets minimum rates for pay and conditions for authors and illustrators, and publishes books, papers and lists for emerging and established writers. The most recently updated ASA guidelines on rates and conditions can be viewed on their website.

Australian Writer’s Guild

The Australian Writer’s Guild (AWG) is the professional association for Australian performance writers including film, television, theatre, film and radio. The AWG provides members who work in these areas with information on minimum hourly rates.

Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA)

The Alliance is the union and professional organisation which covers everyone in the media, entertainment, sports and arts industries. There are over 36,000 members which include people working in TV, radio, theatre & film, entertainment venues, recreation grounds, journalists, actors, dancers, sportspeople, cartoonists, photographers, orchestral & opera performers as well as people working in public relations, advertising, book publishing & website production. MEAA can provide information to members about minimum standard hourly rates.

National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA)

NAVA is the national peak body for the visual arts, craft and design sector working through advocacy and service provision, to achieve a flourishing Australian visual arts sector and a more vibrant, distinctive and ethical cultural environment. NAVA undertakes advocacy and lobbying, research, policy and project development, data collection and analysis.  It also provides a direct service to its members and the sector generally by offering expert advice, referrals, resources, professional representation and development and a range of other services.

NAVA provides a useful fee schedule for artists in its publication The Code of Practice for the Australian Visual Arts and Craft Sector. The schedule sets out approximate rates of pay for trainees, a standard rate of pay, and rates for senior practitioners in the three main categories of artist’s employment – studio artist, public artist and new media artists.

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Enforcement Issues

“To obtain the best use of legally enforceable rights it is important to understand their strengths and their limits. This can encourage informed choices about the way in which Indigenous art and culture is managed. This can help reduce the instances of the use of Indigenous people’s art, cultural expression and cultural knowledge without permission, or for purposes which are inappropriate”
- Robynne Quiggin, 2008

It can be difficult for Indigenous artists, their organisations and communities to appreciate that in most instances no one is going to monitor and enforce their copyright and Indigenous intellectual property interests on their behalf. If an artist or organisation becomes aware of any of the following:

  • copyright infringement
  • moral rights infringement
  • breaches of the trade practices laws (e.g. fake Aboriginal art)
  • misuse of Indigenous intellectual property

then it is up to the artist or the organisation to do something about it, at least initially. There are no "Copyright police" who will do this for them.

If the artist is a member of a collecting society, the collecting society may in some cases take action to collect the fees the artist should be paid. For further information see section dealing with collecting societies.

Some agencies may be able to help once they become aware of a problem, e.g. the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has power to bring an action against someone involved in misleading and deceptive conduct.

Copyright is an important asset for artists, who should know and assert their rights. Therefore, any artist who becomes aware of a copyright infringement of his or her work should get legal advice and find out what to do to resolve the problem. Arts Law may be able to assist through Artists in the Black program may be able to assist. The Australian Copyright Council can also advise on copyright matters.

See case studies about Indigenous artists who took steps to address infringements of their copyright and moral rights:

Collaborative Projects

Artistic projects often involve collaboration between a number of individuals and organisations. This can raise numerous issues for Indigenous artists, as well as other creators and organisations involved in collaborative projects. Issues that arise include ownership, copyright, moral rights, acknowledgement and respect of Indigenous intellectual property and the processes for working together (protocols). Collaborative projects can be either projects whereby a number of Indigenous artists are involved in the one project, intercultural partnerships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous individuals and organisations, as well as group projects being worked on by non-Indigenous artists which have Indigenous content.

  1. Joint creators
  1. Indigenous protocols
  2. Resources

Joint creators

Ownership of the work

When numerous people contribute to the creation of a new work (e.g. a sculpture), it needs to be made clear who owns the physical item and who is responsible for its maintenance. It is best if this is set out in writing. It may be that an organisation provides all the materials and makes payment for the work, owning the final work that is created, however the creators will still own the copyright unless this is otherwise agreed, in writing and signed by the artists.

Copyright

When an artwork is created jointly by a number of individuals, i.e. in a manner such that the work of one creator is inseparable from the work of the others, the creators of the work have joint ownership of copyright. This means that no creator can deal with the work as if he/she were the sole creator of the work. The creator needs permission from the other copyright owners to do the things covered by copyright. This position may be altered by contract so it is important that the ownership of copyright is discussed in collaborative projects so everyone is informed about their rights.
More information about copyright.

Moral rights

When an artistic work is created collaboratively moral rights belong to each of the joint creators.  These moral rights are personal to each individual artist. This means that if one creator consents to an act which affects his/her moral rights, this does not necessarily affect the moral rights of the other creators. For example, if one artist in a collaborative artwork consents not to being attributed, this does not mean that the other artists have also given this consent.
More information about moral rights.

Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP)

Not all ICIP is automatically recognised and protected under Australia's copyright and other laws. In order to ensure that ICIP which is incorporated into collaborative creative projects is properly respected and protected, it is important for participants to address this issue. There are a range of Indigenous protocols which help people involved in collaborative projects to work through the ICIP issues.
More information about ICIP.

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Indigenous protocols

When collaborative projects involve either non-Indigenous and Indigenous individuals or organisations working together on a project, or non-Indigenous artists or organisations working on a project with Indigenous content, it is important to be respectful of any Indigenous cultural and intellectual property involved. Indigenous protocols provide useful guidelines and principles to follow when undertaking collaborative works. Protocols can help everyone to identify the Indigenous cultural material and the processes which need to be put in place to ensure that the materials and its custodians are treated properly.
More information about Indigenous protocols.

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Resources

Code of Practice for Creative Collaboration

A Code of Practice for Creative Collaboration is currently being developed by an advisory group led by Kevin Murray to help manage craft and design collaborations.

Designers Meet Artisans - a practical guide

UNESCO’s "Designers Meet Artisans – a practical guide" provides useful information about managing design and craft collaborations.

Arts Law Centre of Australia sample agreements

The Arts Law Centre of Australia has a number of sample agreements which may be useful in managing some aspects of your collaborative projects.

Beyond Guarding Ground

In “Beyond Guarding Ground”, Terri Janke suggests, on the basis of specific examples, the limitations of Australian law to protect Indigenous arts and cultural expressions. She proposes the creation of a National Indigenous Cultural Authority to implement the rights of Indigenous people under Article 31 of the Declaration on the rights of Indigenous people to maintain, control, protect and develop cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions. Terri Janke suggests that the National Indigenous Cultural Authority could also act as a clearing house, with the task of negotiating and holding collectively rights to culture.

Indigenous Collaboration Agreement – Fashion and Furnishings

This sample INDIGENOUS COLLABORATION AGREEMENT should be used when a designer in the fashion, textile or home furnishing industry, or a business that is involved in the production of articles for the fashion and furnishing industries  (the Designer) wishes to work together with an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island visual artist/ or group of visual artists (the Artist) to create and produce clothing, textiles and/or furnishing items based on or incorporating or inspired by the artworks of that artist or artists.

Look out for a new Arts Law template contract to manage collaborative works, coming soon!

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Buying Indigenous Art

Buying Indigenous art

In general, Indigenous art centres tend to pay a substantial percentage of the sale price of a work by an Indigenous artist to the artist, so buying Indigenous art directly from Indigenous art centres can help to maximise the return to artists.

Useful guides for being an ethical consumer:

ANKAAA - Purchasing Aboriginal Art: a consumer guide

The Consumer Guide is a joint initiative between ANKAAA & the Arts NT Indigenous Arts Development Unit with other key stake holders including Desart, ArtsMARK, Arts Law and Copyright Council of Australia. The guide is aimed at informing consumers about the ethical purchase of Indigenous art and is available in four languages including English, German, French and Japanese.

Aboriginal Art Online - Buying Aboriginal Art Ethically

This information available on the Aboriginal Art Online website contains a useful summary of information on buying Aboriginal art ethically.

Indigenous Art Code

The Indigenous Art Code (the Code) aims to ensure fair trade with Indigenous artists. The Code establishes a set of standards for commercial dealing with Indigenous visual artists, provides a benchmark for ethical behaviour and builds greater certainty for consumers that the artworks they buy come through ethical processes.

Indigenous Arts Trade Association: Questions to Ask when Buying Australian Aboriginal Art

This information has been produced by the Indigenous Art Trade Association and contains highlights some of the things to consider when purchasing Indigenous art, including authenticity, integrity and value.

Indigenous art centre peak bodies:

Association of Central Australian Aboriginal Art and Craft Centres (Desart)

Desart is the Association of Central Australian Aboriginal Art and Craft Centres. Its mission is to support Central Australian Aboriginal artists and art centres working together in a vigorous, ethical Aboriginal arts industry.

UMI Arts

UMI Arts is the peak Indigenous arts and cultural organisation for Far North Queensland. Its mission is to operate an Indigenous organisation that assists Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to participate in the maintenance, preservation and protection of cultural identity.

Association of Northern Kimberley and Arnhem Aboriginal Artists (ANKAAA)

ANKAAA is the peak advocacy and support agency for aboriginal artists and art centres located in the regions of Arnhem Land, Darwin/Katherine, the Kimberley and Tiwi Islands.

Aboriginal Art Centre Hub WA (AACHWA)

AACHWA (Aboriginal Art Centre Hub WA) is a peak body for Aboriginal art centres in WA established in late 2009. AACHWA's role is to support the development and growth of art centres, provide professional development opportunities and coordinate services and resources. The Hub's services respond to the challenges facing art centres as they build the artistic and economic potential of their respective communities.

Ananguku Arts and Culture

Ku Arts is an Aboriginal owned peak body for artists of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands in the far northwest of South Australia.

Go Hunting – Indigenous Art Centre Operations Resource

This online resource contains up to date best practice information for all arts centres which are a member of one of the above four leading peak bodies: UMI Arts, Desart, ANKAAA and Ananguku Arts.

Working Ethically

Indigenous Australians’ culture and artistic practice is a highly regarded and much publicised feature of Australian society. This section contains useful information to equip you with the skills to support and respect Indigenous culture by engaging in ethical working relationships with Indigenous artists.

This includes information about:

Customised workshops your education needs

Knowledge is power: about our education program

Arts Law runs tailored seminars or workshops for tertiary education institutions, councils and arts organisations to help their artists understand more about their rights. We have been doing this for over 30 years and last year delivered 100 sessions nationally to 2381 artists or arts organisation workers. We believe that knowledge is power and the more artists know about their rights, the closer they get to protecting themselves in business and creating a sustainable arts practice.

How do we do it?

Arts Law can come to you and deliver the education face to face as a series of workshops, an intensive day covering a number of topics or a single session. We can also deliver a session online. It all depends on the needs of your local artists, how many topics you’d like covered and your budget.

Some session ideas:

We’re open to working with you to create education that meets the needs of your artists. Here are some ideas:

  • A session series running over a few weeks on all the essentials plus sector specific talks;
  • A two day series on copyright, contracts, and setting up and running an arts organisation; or
  • An introductory copyright law workshop for artists with some practical tips on dealing with copyright

What they say:

“I was attending the event to gain specific knowledge on areas of copyright law and moral right law. I was very happy to leave the session with a basic understanding of such law, and my specific queries were answered! A+++” – participant at Cassowary Council seminars in September 2014

“It was a great overview of contracts and I learned about so many issues which I hadn't been exposed to before which will help me prepare for future projects. I loved it. Thank you so much” – participant at Marrickville Council Artists’ Rights 6 week series March 2014

“I liked the clear presentation format. The presenter was approachable and answered questions clearly.” - participant at Gorman Art Centre workshops, ACT, June 2014

”Building Stronger Organisations” seminar, Melbourne, October 2014

”Building Stronger Organisations” seminar, Melbourne, October 2014

“Artists’ Rights” seminar, Deniliquin, NSW, March 2014

“Wills workshop”, Hermansburg Potters, September 2014

Education

Volunteer & Pro Bono

Board Member Profiles

Adopt a Lawyer Program

Arts Law’s Artists in the Black program invites art centres to “Adopt a Lawyer”. This novel pro bono program partners Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community arts centres with an experienced law firm for a three year partnership.

The “Adopt a Lawyer” program is designed to build on the existing Artists in the Black support of community art centres by creating one-on-one relationships  between individual art centres and a single law firm. Art centres can contact their designated law firm directly for advice on specific legal issues with support and backup available to both the art centre and the law firm from Arts Law as needed. Both the art centre and the law firm will benefit from a closer understanding of each other’s operations enabling greater and more timely access to relevant commercial legal advice. The law firms will enjoy a closer relationship and understanding of Australia’s ancient Indigenous culture as expressed through contemporary art and assist in building sustainable creative practices in some of the most remote areas of Australia.


Current partnerships include:

- Mowanjum Aboriginal Art & Culture Centre representing artists of the Worrora, Ngarinyin and Wunumbal language groups and  international law firm Ashurst.

- Warakurna Artists representing artists from the Ngaanyatjarra Lands of the Gibson Desert in Western Australia and international law firm Allens><Linklaters.

- Warmun Art Centre and law firm Lander & Rogers

- Ngalmun Lagau Minaral Arts and law firm Clayton Utz

- Yamaji Arts and law firm Minter Ellison

- Hermannsburg Potters and law firm Colin Biggers and Paisley

- Papulankutja Artists and law firm Jackson McDonald

If your art centre or law firm is interested in participating in this exciting program, please contact the Arts Law Centre of Australia at artslaw@artslaw.com.au or 1800 221 457.      

 

          

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                       

 

 

                 

 

 

 

Art Centre PPSA Registration

Wills & estates

About Wills & estates

For many artists, their intellectual property in their artistic and creative output is one of the most valuable and enduring assets in their estate. If they pass away intestate, this asset is often neglected or not understand, which can lead not only to a failure to protect the artist’s artistic  legacy, but to unchecked copyright infringements and a loss of value to the artist’s family. This is particularly true for Australia’s Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander artists living in remote and regional areas. Arts Law has delivered educational wills workshops throughout Indigenous communities in all states helping artists to make wills and, through its casework service, assisted many Indigenous families to manage intestate estates. It has campaigned tirelessly for amendment to the discriminatory Western Australian legislation which takes the right to manage the estate of a deceased Aboriginal person away from family and vests it in the Public Trustee. Arts Law also advocates for improved education about the importance of wills and how to draft a will, especially among Indigenous artists and artists from minority or disadvantaged backgrounds.

Mabel King exhibition to take place after agreement is reached with the Public Trustee

The long-awaited Mabel King exhibition will be held at the Japingka Gallery, Fremantle from 4 May until 6 June 2012. King was a respected Ngarinyin Elder who painted at the Mowanjum Art and Culture Centre. Sadly, in 2006 she passed away intestate. Following negotiations between the Arts Law Centre of Australia and the WA Public Trustee, the remaining paintings have now been released for sale. We are excited to see these beautiful works, which offer a bold expression of her cultural story. This work was undertaken as part of the Artists in the Black pro-bono casework service.

West Australian Aborigines challenge ‘racist’ law on wills

Executive director Robyn Ayres is quoted today in the Australian newspaper's article calling for the Western Australian government to repeal laws discriminating against Aboriginal people who die without making a will. Read the full article here.

WA Governments administration of Aboriginal wills and estates

The board of the Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Cultural Centre (KALACC) passed a resolution last week urging the Government of Western Australia to act to repeal those provisions of the Aboriginal Affairs Planning Authority Act of 1972 which discriminate against Aboriginal people. When an Aboriginal person passes away without a will in Western Australia, their estate can only be administered by the Public Trustee in contrast to the estates of non-Aboriginal people. The Board’s resolution stated: “We regard this provision to be discriminatory and anachronistic and to have no place in modern society in the year 2012.” This issue was first highlighted in the September 2006 Report of the Law Reform Commission of Western Australia. Wes Morris of KALACC observed that “the issue of course impacts particularly on Aboriginal visual arts centres and affects the families of those artists who do not have wills.”

Wills Project

ABC Radio National's Law Report program recently produced a story discussing the importance of drafting wills for Indigenous Artists. Arts Law's executive director Robyn Ayres was a guest on the program.

Freehills Advises on The Aboriginal Planning Authority

In February 2009 the Arts Law Centre of Australia approached Freehills to provide legal advice, on a pro bono basis, concerning the application of certain provisions of Aboriginal Affairs Planning Authority Act 1972 (WA) (Act) to Indigenous persons. Read more here.

Arts Law seeks improved intestacy laws for Indigenous West Australians

Arts Law is lobbying the West Australian Government for changes to the laws concerning the administration of the estate of intestate Indigenous people. Delwyn Everard explains why these changes are required. Read more here.

Arts Law seeks improved intestacy laws for Indigenous West Australians

Arts Law is lobbying the West Australian Government for changes to the laws concerning the administration of the estate of intestate Indigenous people. Delwyn Everard explains why these changes are required. Read more here

Cultural Protocols

A number of protocols for working with Indigenous communities and Indigenous culture and heritage have been developed. The protocols provide a best practice model for artists.

It is important to be aware that Indigenous protocols cannot answer all the questions you may be faced with, as every Indigenous community, organisation and individual is different. However, Indigenous protocols are an excellent resource as they provide:

  • a starting point for solving problems,
  • a set of guidelines and principles to help you think about a project or the nature of collaboration,
  • questions to ask the Indigenous participants, and
  • legal and non-legal issues to be considered.

There are a number of different types of Indigenous protocols:

  1. Protocols for artists and those working with them
  2. Protocols for arts dealers
  3. Protocols and information for consumers
  4. Protocols for cultural institutions
  5. Protocols for the media
  6. Protocols for language projects

Protocols for artists and those working with them

Australia Council for the Arts - Indigenous protocol guides

The Australia Council for the Arts  published a set of Indigenous protocol guides in 2002, written by Indigenous lawyers Robynne Quiggin and Terri Janke. Those protocols provide information and advice on respecting Indigenous culture and heritage.

There are five sets of protocols specific to the following Indigenous art forms:

Arts Tasmania - Respecting Cultures, Working with the Tasmanian Aboriginal Community and Aboriginal Artists

This publication provides a specific Tasmanian perspective as a companion text for the Australia Council's protocols. Respecting Cultures promotes greater awareness of the protocols needed to ensure that Aboriginal artists are acknowledged and their intellectual property and culture is respected and protected.

National Association for the Visual Arts – Valuing Art, Respecting Culture: Protocols for Working With the Australian Indigenous Visual Arts and Craft Sector

This document sets out protocols both to guide non-Indigenous people in their relationships with Indigenous artists and communities, and assist Indigenous artists to define their rights.

Protocols for arts dealers

Indigenous Australian Art Commercial Code of Conduct (IAACCC)  

The IAACCC is a voluntary code to regulate the conduct of participants in the Indigenous art industry. Its main aims are to ensure fair and ethical trade with artists, transparency with the promotion and sale of artwork as well as a fair and equitable dispute resolution system for disputes arising under the code. The Indigenous Art Code Limited, a public company, was founded to administer the IAACCC.

City of Melbourne - Code of Practice for Galleries and Retailers of Indigenous Art

The City of Melbourne has developed a code of practice for galleries and retailers of Indigenous art. The code is a guide outlining ethical and appropriate ways to display and sell authentic Indigenous art and work with Indigenous artists.

Protocols and information for consumers

National Indigenous Consumer Strategy - Taking Action, Gaining Trust: National Indigenous Consumer Strategy – Action Plan 2010-2013

The National Indigenous Consumer Strategy (NICS) was developed by the Standing Committee of Officials of Consumer Affairs (SCOCA), who represents all the Commonwealth, State and Territory government consumer protection agencies. The NCIS aims at improving the consumer outcomes of Indigenous Australians by encouraging consumer protection agencies to share information and education materials, collaborating in the enforcement of consumer rights and laws, and co-ordinating research, policy development and consumer education initiatives. The NCIS was originally created in 2005 as a three year strategy. However an updated action plan for 2010-2013 has recently been developed.

Australian Government, Department of Environment and Heritage – Welcome to Country: Respecting Indigenous Culture for Travellers in Australia

This information brochure is aimed at providing travellers in Australia with some key protocols to follow in order to ensure respect for Indigenous culture. It is framed around three main principles:

  • Relationship – Recognise Indigenous people’s relationship and connection to the land.
  • Responsibility – Acknowledge the ongoing responsibility Indigenous people have to their country, and recognise your own responsibility to travel thoughtfully.
  • Respect – Respect Aboriginal beliefs associated with country and culture. As a visitor, respect the wishes of your hosts and and restrictions that you have been asked to observe.

Protocols for cultural institutions

Museums Australia Inc (Qld) – Taking the Time

These resource guidelines are aimed at assisting cultural institutions in developing links with the broader community.  They are intended to be used to support non-Indigenous cultural heritage workers in small museums throughout Australia who wish to work with culturally diverse communities, including Indigenous communities.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Library and Information Resources Network (ATSILIRN) – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Protocols for Libraries, Archives and Information Services

The ATSILIRN Protocols are intended to guide libraries, archives and information services in appropriate ways to interact with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the communities which the organisations serve, and to handle materials with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander content.

They are a guide to good practice which will need to be interpreted and applied in the context of each organisation’s mission, collections and client community.

Intellectual Property Research Institute of Australia (IPRIA) - Cultural Institutions, Law and Indigenous Knowledge: A Legal Primer on the Management of Australian Indigenous Collections

This document examines some of the legal issues which arise for cultural institutions and other bodies in the acquisition, use and reproduction of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural material. The term ‘cultural material’ is used broadly to refer to collection items that reproduce, record or depict Indigenous people, cultures, knowledge and experiences; in some cases, this is highly sensitive of restricted information. It includes artistic outputs and archival research material.

Australian Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) - Guide for Ethical Research in Indigenous Studies

The AIATSIS guidelines provide recommendations and suggestions for achieving the best standards of ethical research in Indigenous studies. The document is laid out with a series of principles, which are accompanied by a brief definition and some practical applications.

Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM) - Connections: Indigenous Cultures and the Australian National Maritime Museum

The ANMM’s Indigenous protocols provide guidance on Indigenous issues that can impact on museum programs and procedures.  It aims to help the ANMM and other institutions interpret Indigenous cultures authentically and respectfully.

Museums Australia – Continuing Cultures, Ongoing Responsibilities: principles and guidelines for Australian Museums working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural heritage.

The Continuing Cultures, Ongoing Responsibilities document is intended to guide museums and galleries in framing their own procedures for dealing with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the management of their cultural heritage.

Collections Australia – Ask First: a guide to respecting Indigenous heritage places and values

The Collections Australia guide provides a practical tool for land developers, land users and managers, cultural heritage professionals and many others who may have an impact on Indigenous heritage. This title – ‘Ask First’ is intended to highlight the guides focus on consultation and negotiation with Indigenous stakeholders as being key to addressing heritage issues.

Protocols for the media

Screen Australia (Terri Janke) – Pathways and Protocols: A filmmaker’s guide to working with Indigenous people, culture and concepts

Screen Australia’s guide provides comprehensive information for all filmmakers working with Indigenous content and communities, providing advice about the ethical and legal issues involved when transferring Indigenous cultural material to the screen. The guide includes information on documentary and drama productions, including short dramas, feature films and television drama. Drawing upon real case studies as practical examples, the guide assists and encourages recognition and respect for the images, knowledge and stories of Indigenous people.

Protocols for language projects

Federation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Languages and Culture (FATSILC)

This protocol is for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and their consultants working together to produce language materials, for example linguists, schools and ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) specialists. The FATSIL guide covers protocols for producing language materials at a local level, rather than through one of the major publishing houses.

The aim of this protocol is to encourage positive working relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and their consultants. Any language materials produced should recognise the cultural and intellectual property rights of the language community. The FATSIL protocol accompanies, and should be read in conjunction with, the model language agreement prepared by the Arts Law Centre of Australia

Reports

Artists in the Black Reports

Download the Artists in the Black Education Program Evaluation 2009 HERE

Other useful organisations

These organisations may also have useful arts related information to assist you in your queries.

Other useful organisations

Other useful organisations

These organisations may also have useful arts related information to assist you in your queries.

Other useful organisations

Artists’ images

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Subscriber terms & conditions

The following terms and conditions apply to you (the Subscriber) when you purchase a subscription to the Arts Law Centre of Australia (Arts Law):

  1. The Subscriber acknowledges that Arts Law does not:
    1. represent clients in litigation, arbitration or mediation proceedings;
    2. negotiate contracts or other deals on behalf of clients; or
    3. draft contracts or other documents except in exceptional circumstances.
  2. Subject to paragraph 3, Arts Law agrees that legal advice will be given only by lawyers who are qualified solicitors or barristers.
  3. The Subscriber understands that work may be done on a file by law students or paralegals but only under the supervision of a qualified lawyer.
  4. Arts Law agrees not to charge fees (including professional costs and office expenses) for any legal advice which it provides apart from the fees set out in paragraph 10, and any fee payable by the Subscriber for the purchase of Arts Law publications.
  5. The Subscriber understands that:
    1. Arts Law must avoid a conflict of interest. In order to do so, Arts Law may decline to advise the Subscriber in certain circumstances including where the Subscriber is in a dispute in which the other party to that dispute has made prior contact with Arts Law for legal advice. Where a conflict prevents Arts Law from advising a Subscriber, Arts Law may, in its absolute discretion, endeavor to source a pro bono consultation for the Subscriber with an external  law firm;
    2. Arts Law has an ‘artists first’ policy. Where a commercial or government organisation seeks legal advice from Arts Law concerning a matter affecting the rights of an artist or artists, Arts Law may decline to advise the Subscriber organisation. In limited circumstances, and its absolute discretion, Arts Law may agree to provide the Subscriber organisation with best practice advice on a contract affecting the rights of artists.
  6. If Arts Law provides a referral to a lawyer on Arts Law's panel of referral lawyers, the  Subscriber understands that the referral lawyer is completely independent of Arts Law. Any arrangement or advice or representation that the Subscriber makes with a referral lawyer will be in the nature of a commercial relationship between that referral lawyer and the Subscriber in a solicitor/client relationship. The Subscriber is solely responsible for the fees or charges of the referral lawyer and Arts Law is not liable to contribute or pay any amount whatsoever towards those fees and charges.
  7. The Subscriber is responsible for providing Arts Law with all documents and information relevant to the advice sought. Unless clearly stated in writing at the time of seeking advice, Arts Law will assume that all documents and other materials provided by the Subscriber are copies and that the Subscriber does not require their return. Arts Law will be entitled to dispose of such documents without notice to the Subscriber and will not be responsible for loss, theft or damage to such document if a request for its return has not been made within six months of Arts Law completing its advice or review.
  8. Arts Law will archive and keep closed files for seven years. It is entitled to destroy a file after that period without notice to the Subscriber.
  9. A Document Review Service is a single advice session with a lawyer which relates to the construction or interpretation of one or more related documents. If Arts Law determines that the documents provided by the Subscriber deal with separate legal issues, or the quantum of material provided exceeds the scope of a single advice session, Arts Law may notify the Subscriber that two or more Document Review Services are required.
  10. Upon payment of the annual subscription fee, each Subscriber is entitled to two (2) Document Review sessions (DRS) and five (5) Telephone Legal Advice (TLA) sessions in the twelve month subscription period. During the subscription period, additional Document Review Service advice sessions are available for a fee of $80 each. There is no limit on the number of additional Document Review Services available during that subscription period.

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Why subscribe?

By subscribing through Artists in the Black you become a subscriber of Arts Law which gives you further access to advice and information on law and the arts and keeps you informed about legal issues affecting the arts in Australia.

The benefits of subscription are:

and, where appropriate:

  • ongoing legal advice, assistance and information;
  • access to mediation services;
  • referral to Arts Law's national referral panel of arts and entertainment lawyers;
  • invitations to "subscriber only" events.

Patrons

Deborah Cheetham

David Gulpilil AM

Roger Knox

Professor Sallly Morgan

David Page

Rachel Perkins

Acknowledgements

The Australian Government through the Ministry for Arts

 

Copyright Agency Limited

 


Goverment of Western Australia, Department of Indigenous Affairs


 

Queensland Government through Arts Queensland and Arts Queensland's
Backing Indigenous Arts program

 


 


 

Where there is no will

If a person passes away without ever making a will, that person is said to have passed away 'intestate' and there are laws which specify exactly which members of that person's family are entitled to anything owned by that person (including any copyright or resale royalty). If you don’t have a will then after you pass away, the government refers to those laws to decide how to share any money from your art (or music or books or films) between your family members. It probably won’t be the way you would want that money to be shared and there can be a lot of bureaucracy for families trying to access the money of an artist who has passed away. 

The rules of intestacy are different in each State of Australia. Arts Law is developing a guide for families of deceased artists explaining the steps involved in managing the estate of a deceased artist who passed away without a will. In most cases, you should choose the kit for the State or Territory in which the artist usually lived before he or she passed away. If you are not sure, contact Arts Law for advice as to which kit is the right kit for your situation.

 

The development of this resource is made possible though the support of Copyright Agency Ltd (CAL) and The Commonwealth Government through the Office for the Arts, Department of Regional Australia, Local Government,
Arts and Sport (DRALGAS).

   

Where there is a will

If a person passes away after making a will, it is much easier for the family to manage any money and other assets owned by that person.  The process of reading the will and carrying out the person's instructions as to how any money and other assets (such as copyright and resale royalty) are to be shared among the person's family is called 'probate'.

Arts Law is developing a guide for families of deceased artists explaining the steps involved where there is a will. The rules are different in each state of Australia. In most cases, you should choose the kit for the State or Territory in which the artist usually lived before he or she passed away. If you are not sure, contact Arts Law for advice as to which kit is the right kit for your situation.

  • Queensland
  • Western Australia (not yet available)
  • Northern Territory
  • New South Wales (not yet available)
  • Victoria
  • South Australia (not yet available)
  • Australian Capital Territory (not yet available)
  • Tasmania (not yet available)

Making a will

Artists (such as visual artists, musicians, writers and film makers) can earn money during their lifetime from their creative work – from paintings and weaving sold through galleries and art centres, sales of books they have written or albums of their music, or from the release of a film at a cinema. Some of that money comes from copyright – such as the reproduction of artworks on fabric or in books, music played on radio or in a film, or a book that is turned into a film. Visual artists also earn money from the new resale royalty which is paid when their artwork is resold at auction or through a commercial gallery.

Artists use that money to look after themselves and their families. When that artist passes away, there might still be money available from that the artist's work. There may be unsold paintings or a bank account. Music might continue to be being played on radio or covered by other bands. Copyright and Resale Royalties continue for seventy years after the artist or musician passes away. 

You can make a legal document called a will in which you say which people are entitled to your money or royalties or other things after you pass away. A will does NOT affect your traditional cultural practices for sorry business. A will makes sure that any money that is left is shared the way you want it to be shared. Arts Law has helped hundreds of artists make wills. Since 2007, we have visited over 40 Indigenous art centres to talk about wills and help Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander visual artists make their own wills. See ART+law article.

The Artists in the Black sample will for visual artists can be used by any visual artist wishing to make a will. We are currently working on a sample will for musicians.

Resale royalty scheme

About Resale rights

Arts Law lobbied hard for the introduction of resale royalty rights in Australia and was delighted with the enactment of the Resale Royalty Right for Visual Artists Act 2009 which created the right of visual artists to a percentage of the sales proceeds in certain commercial resales of their artwork. Arts Law now advocates for better education and entrenchment of these rights among both artists and art dealers and sellers. It remains concerned that vulnerable artists may be pressured to waive these rights and campaigns towards better and more widespread understanding of these rights. Arts Law is particularly concerned to protect the resale rights of Indigenous artist and artists who are from minority or disadvantaged backgrounds.

View Arts Law's Resale royalty rights for visual artists Information Sheet here

Senate inquiry into the Indigenous Visual Arts and Crafts Sector

Arts Law made a submission to the inquiry of the Senate Environment, Communications, Information Technology and the Arts Committee into Australia’s Indigenous Visual Arts and Crafts Sector. Read more here.

Comics, Casework and Communication: An Update on Artists in the Black

Arts Law’s Artists in the Black service recently launched a series of comics covering legal issues to top off what has been a very successful initial phase. Sam Joseph and Blanch Lake provide an overview of the services highlights. Read more here

Resale rights for artists

Arts Law made a submission to the Federal Government review on the issue of a resale royalty for visual artists.

This followed on from the previous joint submissions made by Arts Law with advocacy partners Viscopy, Australian Copyright Council and NAVA in October 2003.

International issues

About International issues

Arts Law supports Australia’s accession to treaties which strengthen the protection of artists’ rights. Arts Law advocates for domestic reform to bring artists’ economic, social and cultural rights into alignment with Australia’s international human rights obligations, including in particular, Australia’s treaty obligations in respect of Indigenous cultural and intellectual property rights. Arts Law has advocated for a federal Charter of Human Rights protecting freedom of expression and giving greater legal recognition to the cultural interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people.

Arts Law goes to Geneva!

Arts Law’s Indigenous solicitor Patricia Adjei and Executive Director Robyn Ayres attended the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) 11th session Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore held in Geneva, Switzerland on 3-12 July 2007. Read more here

Indigenous Cultural & Intellectual Property

Indigenous Culture and Festivals

The latest issue of the World Intellectual Property Organization’s magazine considers the challenges faced by arts festivals seeking to provide effective protection for traditional art forms and cultural performances. It emphasizes the importance of IP management policies and protocols. See “Celebrating Culture: IP & Arts Festivals” by Brigitte Vézina

http://www.wipo.int/wipo_magazine/en/2012/01/article_0008.html

Elcho Island Arts Centre – when is an export permit required to exhibit artwork overseas?

For over 18 years, the Elcho Island Arts Centre has been supporting and representing indigenous artists from the local Yolngu communities on Elcho Island, Northern Territory.  Traditionally, the Yolngu artists of Elcho Island have always incorporated different fauna and flora species, such as plant fibers and feathers, into their artwork. The women of the Yolngu community are renowned for their weaving skillsand create works of art woven from the fibres of the pandanus plant (pandanus spiralus), which is a species of shrubs that grows on Elcho Island.

To read more about this case study please click here

Safeguarding Cultural Heritage - The Case of the Sacred Wandjina

Delwyn Everard, Senior Solicitor at the Arts Law Centre of Australia discusses the challenges Aboriginal communities face in protecting their cultural heritage in an article published in World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) magazine.

Click here to read the article.

Arts Law submission on the National Cultural Policy (NCP) discussion paper

The Australian Government is developing a National Cultural Policy. Arts Law is pleased to provide its submission on the National Cultural Policy (NCP) discussion paper. The final policy will be released in 2012.

Arts Law submission on the National Cultural Policy (NCP) discussion paper.

Wandjina Sculpture

The controversial Katoomba stone sculpture depicting Wanjina has been vandalised.

To read more about this case study please click here

Submission on the proposed Tasmanian Human Rights Charter

Arts Law submission to the Tasmanian Government regarding the proposed model for a Human Rights Charter.

Fake Aboriginal souvenirs

ABC's 7.30 Report recently reported on the impact that fake-Aboriginal craft imports are having on the Aboriginal arts industry.

Wandjina controversy

ABC Radio National's Law Report recently produced a story about a controversy unfolding around a sculpture in the Blue Mountains.

National Cultural Policy

Arts Law submission to The Hon Peter Garrett AM MP, Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts about the National Cultural Policy.

Indigenous Cultural Heritage

Arts Law submission in response to the Indigenous Heritage Law Reform Discussion Paper.

National Consultation on Human Rights

Arts Law made a submission to the National Consultation on Human Rights asking that the Government puts legislation in place to protect the human rights affecting artists. Read more here

Arts Law goes to Geneva!

Arts Law’s Indigenous solicitor Patricia Adjei and Executive Director Robyn Ayres attended the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) 11th session Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore held in Geneva, Switzerland on 3-12 July 2007. Read more here

Indigenous Rock Art - What are the Federal and Western Australian Governments doing to protect it?

Anna-lea Russo provides an update on the situation in the Burrup Peninsula. Read more here

Trade mark protection and ICIP: How does Australia fare?

Ros Stein explains and compares how trade mark laws in Canada, New Zealand and Australia can be used to protect and uphold the rights of Indigenous artists in relation to Indigenous Culture and Intellectual Property (ICIP). Read more here

Senate inquiry into the Indigenous Visual Arts and Crafts Sector

Arts Law made a submission to the inquiry of the Senate Environment, Communications, Information Technology and the Arts Committee into Australia’s Indigenous Visual Arts and Crafts Sector. Read more here

Moral Rights and Indigenous Communities

The Commonwealth Government has recently said it will introduce a Copyright Amendment (Indigenous Communal Moral Rights) Bill (ICMR Bill). Currently, there is no legal protection afforded to Indigenous communities to prevent unauthorised and derogatory treatment of works and films that draw on traditional customs or beliefs. Samantha Joseph and Erin Mackay explain the proposed amendments and Arts Law's response. Read more here

Indigenous communal moral rights (ICMR) II

Arts Law has continued its advocacy on the Copyright Amendment (Indigenous Communal Moral Rights) Bill. Read more here

Comics, Casework and Communication: An Update on Artists in the Black

Arts Law’s Artists in the Black service recently launched a series of comics covering legal issues to top off what has been a very successful initial phase. Sam Joseph and Blanch Lake provide an overview of the services highlights. Read more here

Indigenous Communal Moral Rights (ICMR)

Arts Law made a submission to the Federal Government in January 2004 after the Federal Government indicated in 2003 that it intended to introduce ICMR legislation amending the Copyright Act and circulated a draft bill.

Advocacy and law reform

Arts Law aims to provide targeted, quality advocacy on law and policy reform for the benefit of the creative sector.  This is done through:

  1. identification and prioritisation of issues affecting the arts community;
  2. research and making of submissions; 
  3. development of relationships with the government, media, arts sector and other relevant bodies; and
  4. lobbying to influence the decision making of government and other bodies

Arts Law has been actively involved in Indigenous-specific advocacy work on the following issues:

Other organisations

Audio & video

Articles

ART+law is Arts Law’s flagship quarterly publication. It provides up-to-date* information on the legal world as it relates to the arts.

Each issue includes an Artists in the Black section with articles on Indigenous arts issues. All Indigenous articles are FREE to access. Please use the browse functions on this page to search for Indigenous-specific articles.
 

ART+law also has a range of general (non Indigenous-specific) articles that are relevant to all artists. To go to the general ART+law page please click here.

Arts Law has also developed a resource about respecting and protecting Indigenous intellectual property called Solid Arts. You can find these resources by searching for Solid Arts below or find them in under the Legal Topics and Arts Form of the Info Hub.

*The information in archived ART+law articles was correct at the time of first publication. Contact us to find out if the law has changed since then.

Sample agreements & templates

The Arts Law website has a number of sample agreements available for purchase, which are designed to cover a variety of common relationships in different arts sectors. To find out more about what agreements are available, please click here.

Artists in the Black has also developed a number of sample agreements which specifically relate to Indigenous artists. Some are available for FREE download, while some are LOW COST with a further discount rate if you are an Arts Law subscriber.

Please refer to Arts Laws'  terms and conditions before using any of the sample agreements.

Information sheets

Arts Law publishes a number of information sheets to help inform you about your rights as an artist. The Artists in the Black program has produced a series of information sheets to address legal issues that relate to Indigenous artists and communities, and are available for FREE download.

You may print a copy for a non-profit purpose, provided you print the whole information sheet and do not alter it in any way. Contact Arts law to reproduce any information sheet for any other purpose (including for educational purposes).

For a more extensive list of information sheets available from the Arts Law website please click here.

Disclaimer

Please refer to Arts Laws’ disclaimer before using any of the information contained on this page or in the information sheets.

Frequently asked questions

Coming soon: a series of answers to common questions asked by Artists in the Black clients.

Information comics

The Artists in the Black (AITB) program at the Arts Law Centre of Australia has created a series of comics to address legal issues that relate to Indigenous artists and communities. You can view the comics online or download a PDF to print.

The comics help educate you about your rights to moral, intellectual property and copyright ownership of your artwork and contracts you might have with other parties.

Note: Please be patient when downloading the PDFs for print as they are quite large in size.

Musicians in the Black

The Musicians in the Black program is specifically developed and geared toward Indigenous musicians. It is designed around a workshop program, and also includes online information sheets and resources. The program is generously funded by the Sidney Myer Fund, APRA and PPCA.
 

Information sheets

Copyright in music and lyrics

Performers Rights - Music

Music and Indigenous Cultural & Intellectual Property (ICIP)

Moral Rights in Music

Referral service

In the following situations Arts Law may not be able to advise:

  • you are not eligible to access Arts Law's services
  • the matter is outside the scope of our services
  • the matter requires a solicitor to act on your behalf
  • Arts Law must decline to advise you because of a conflict of interest or a policy conflict.

Arts Law will assist you by recommending an appropriate organisation or professional from our national referral panel. We may refer you to:

  • a suitably qualified lawyer
  • arts organisations
  • insurers
  • tax and accounting advisers
  • another Community Legal Centre (CLC).

We can arrange access to both limited free and reduced fee advice.

If you act upon Arts Law's referral, any arrangement, in particular in relation to fees, is a matter between the lawyer and yourself, and has nothing to do with Arts Law. We recommend you clarify the terms of any arrangement with the lawyer when you contact him/her.

For more information and to seek a referral please contact us.

Best practice advice

Artists in the Black and Arts Law have an 'artist-first' policy. Sometime organisations (councils, festival organisers etc.) call Arts Law for advice when working with Artists, such as the terms and conditions of competitions. However Arts Law cannot advise on these matters, as providing legal advice on these issues would mean that we would be unable to provide legal advice to an artist related to the same agreement. This is because this would be a potential conflict of interest.

Despite this, in seeking to enhance the rights of artists, Arts Law can sometimes offer best practice advice to organisations, instead of legal advice. For example, helping an organisation improve the standard of their contracts and ensure fair conditions for artists.  For more information on best practice please click here.

Mediation service

Mediation is a process of dispute resolution which encourages the parties in a dispute to isolate the issues, develop possible settlement options, and negotiate a resolution which is acceptable to them with the assistance of an impartial person – the mediator – to facilitate the process.

When you receive advice from Arts Law in relation to a legal dispute, the lawyer will assess whether it might be suitable for mediation. If you are interested in using mediation to solve your legal dispute, Arts Law can set up the process and try to organise a mediator from its panel of mediators.

For more information on what mediation is, and how Arts Law can refer you to a mediator, please click here.

Common questions

  1. What is AITB?
  2. Who does AITB help?
  3. How is AITB funded?
  4. How can AITB help me?
  5. How do I request advice?
  6. How long does it take to receive advice?
  7. Is my information confidential?
  8. What educational services does AITB offer?
  9. What else does AITB do to protect artists’ rights?
  10. How can I support AITB?

1. What is AITB?

The Arts Law Centre of Australia (Arts law) established the Artists in the Black (AITB) service in 2004, in response to the needs of the Indigenous arts community. AITB aims to increase access to advice and information about the legal rights of Indigenous artists, communities and artists organisations. Arts Law provides these services to Indigenous artists in a culturally appropriate way.

2. Who does AITB help?

The AITB service provides legal help to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and their organisations.

If you are a non-Indigenous artist requiring legal help, please visit the Arts Law website to find out about our other services.

3. How is AITB funded?

The Arts Law Centre of Australia (Arts Law) is a not-for-profit organisation. Arts Law receives funding for its services, including the AITB program, from a range of sources. This includes grants from government and non-government organisations.

Click here to see our funding supporters.

4. How can AITB help me?

Arts Law provides Indigenous artists access to our full range of services, including:

  1. Free telephone legal advice
  2. Publications
  3. Review of contracts
  4. Access to culturally sensitive resources and information
  5. Referrals to other qualified solicitors across Australia where Arts Law is unable to assist.
  6. Lobbying for law reform where necessary
  7. Educational workshops and seminars on your rights as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

5. How do I request advice?

You can request advice in two ways:

OR

  • Call: 1800 221 451 (TOLL FREE)

We do not accept requests for legal advice by post or direct email.

To find out more information about what types of legal advice we can provide, and the legal advice process, please click here.

6. How long does it normally take to receive advice?

We will endeavour to return any telephone message or email within 3 working days, although in periods of high demand it may take up to 10 days. You will speak to an Arts Law administrative officer or volunteer who will record the relevant information in relation to your query.

If you are requesting legal advice which does not involve a document, your request will be placed in a queue. You should receive telephone legal advice from an Arts Law lawyer within 5-10 working days. If your legal query requires a document to be reviewed this will usually be organised within 2-3 weeks of your request.

7. Is my information confidential?

Yes, Arts Law respects your rights to privacy and confidentiality. All information you provide to Arts Law will be kept confidential unless you give us permission to disclose information about you to a third party or we have a legal obligation to do so.

8. What educational services does AITB offer?

Through the AITB program Arts Law prepares and presents educational workshops and seminars on your rights as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander artist. Arts Law’s solicitors are also available to assist in curricula development and review for tertiary and vocational training purposes.

To enquire about this service, please email artslaw@artslaw.com.au

9. What else does AITB do to protect Artists’ rights?

Arts Law aims to provide targeted, quality advocacy on law and policy reform, for the benefit of the creative sector.  Because of the lack of other services dealing with Arts Law issues for Indigenous artists, Arts Law  plays an important advocacy role, particularly in relation to Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP).

This advocacy work is done through:

  1. Identification and prioritization of issues that affect the arts community generally and Indigenous artists specifically;
  2. Research and making of submissions;
  3. Developing relationships with the Government, media, arts sector and other relevant bodies; and
  4. Lobbying to influence the decision making of Government and other bodies.

To find out more information about our current advocacy work, please click here.

10. How can I support AITB?

The AITB service would not be possible without the support of many generous individuals and organisations.  There are many ways you can assist us in continuing to provide this service:

  • You can make a tax free donation to Arts Law to assist us continue to provide Indigenous artists and arts organisations with legal assistance. To make a donation, please click here.
     
  • Volunteer your skills and time as a volunteer lawyer on our Document Review Service Panel, as a volunteer note-taker at a document review consultation or as a daytime volunteer administration/research assistant.

Seminars & workshops

Through the AITB program Arts Law prepares and presents educational workshops and seminars about your rights as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Artist.  Arts Law’s solicitors are also available to assist in curricula development and review for tertiary and vocational training purposes.

Fee for service

For a fee Arts Law can also tailor-make presentations and workshops to meet your specific needs.

To enquire about these services please email artslaw@artslaw.com.au.

Recent seminars

In 2010 and 2011 Artists in the Black provided seminars and workshops to Indigenous artists involved with the following:

  • Tandanya SA
  • Tranby NSW
  • Kidogo WA
  • ANKAAA NT
  • Desart NT
  • Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre Qld
  • Yarrabah community Qld
  • The Dreaming Qld
  • Corrections Victoria
  • Koori Business Network Vic

The Artists in the Black educational program has a national focus and delivers in metropolitan, regional and remote communities. In 2010 we visited Fremantle, Wiluna, Albany, Geraldton, Roebourne and the Western Desert in WA; Tweed Heads, Lismore, Grafton and Redfern in NSW; Bairnsdale, Mildura and Melbourne  in Victoria; Cairns, Woodford, Brisbane, Cardwell, Yarrabah, Lockhart River in Queensland; Adelaide and the APY Lands in South Australia; Darwin, Daly River, and Alice Springs in the Northern Territory.

Legal query form

To request legal advice from Arts Law please submit the form below. For more information about our legal advice services please click here.

Before completing the form please note the following:

  1. We can only advise artists and arts organisations on arts-related matters.
     
  2. Arts Law is an independent, non-profit organisation with limited resources. Due to the huge demand for our services it may take up to 10 days to respond to your query.
     
  3. Many questions can be answered by reading our free online legal resources. Please browse through our information sheets and frequently asked questions before submitting a request for advice.

     4.  If you have any questions please phone us toll free on 1800 221 457

Legal advice

If you are an Indigenous artist, we can give you legal advice about legal and business matters related to your art practice. Some of the things you might need to talk to us about include:

  • written contracts (agreements),
  • copyright
  • moral rights
  • trade marks
  • business names and structures
  • defamation
  • insurance and employment

We also provide advice to Indigenous arts organisations.

You can request advice using our online legal query form. Once we have processed your query we will call you back. If you would prefer, please phone 1800 221 457 and leave a message, and we will call you back.

We have an Indigenous Liaison Officer who you will speak with you about your matter. If they are not available one of Arts Law's administration staff can take your request, or we can get the Indigenous Liaison Officer to call you back.
 

Types of legal advice

Arts Law will deal with your enquiry by providing either telephone legal advice or a document review depending on whether giving you legal advice involves reviewing any documentation.
 

i. Telephone legal advice

If your enquiry does not involve a document we will take down all the details of your query. After lodging this request an Arts Law lawyer will contact you by telephone and give you legal advice about your query.

The telephone legal advice service is subject to Arts Law’s legal advice guidelines as well as other policies which will be explained to you upon contacting Arts Law.
 

ii. Document review

If your enquiry involves the review of any document related to your matter, for example a formal contract or an exchange of correspondence, Arts Law recommends the use of its document review service.

Under this service, you send any document which you want explained to you to Arts Law. An Arts Law lawyer (in-house or external volunteer lawyer or law firm acting on behalf of Arts Law) then reviews the document and holds a review consultation with you to explain the document and provide you legal advice in relation to that document.

The document review service is subject to Arts Law’s legal advice guidelines as well as other policies which will be explained to you upon contacting us.
 

Limits to Arts Law’s legal advice services

In some circumstances, Arts Law is unable to provide assistance even if you are generally eligible for our services. For example, we will not advise you if another party in your dispute or transaction has already contacted us for advice; or if we consider it more appropriate for your matter to be referred elsewhere. Further, Arts Law can only advise on arts-related matters.

In accordance with its mission, Arts Law operates under an "artist first" policy. As a result, we cannot unconditionally provide legal advice to organisations if doing so would later preclude us from advising the artist. In such situations we may, at our discretion, provide best practice advice under our best practice guidelines.

Staff

Contact us

As part of the Artists in the Black service, Arts Law has an Aboriginal Liaison officer who is able to take your query and give you information about our service, just ask to speak to them when you call. If they are not in the office, all of our general administration staff will listen and help find the best way to assist you. Call us to request:

  • Free telephone legal advice
  • Our Document Review service (DRS)
  • Information about workshops and seminars
  • Free information packs
     

Phone

(02) 9356 2566
1800 221 457
(toll-free)
+61 2 9356 2566 (mobile/international)

Please note: Arts Law is an independent, non-profit organisation with limited resources. Due to the huge demand for our services it is often not possible to directly answer your call. Please leave a message and we will call you back as soon as possible.

If you are seeking legal advice it is preferable that you use our online legal query form. Requests for legal advice are answered in the order that they are first received, priority is not given to telephone messages.
 

Email

artslaw@artslaw.com.au

NOTE: we do not accept requests for legal advice by direct email
Please telephone us with your query or use our online legal query form.
 

Twitter

Follow us on Twitter to receive updates about Arts Law workshops, seminars and publications.

NOTE: we do not accept requests for legal advice by Twitter
Please telephone us with your query or use our online legal query form.

Facebook

Follow us on Facebook to receive updates about Arts Law workshops, seminars and publications.

NOTE: we do not accept requests for legal advice by Facebook
Please telephone us with your query or use our online legal query form.

Fax

(02) 9358 6475
 

Post

Arts Law Centre of Australia
The Gunnery, 43-51 Cowper Wharf Road
Woolloomooloo NSW 2011

NOTE: we do not operate a walk-in legal advice service
Please telephone us with your query or use our online legal query form.
 

National Relay Service

Clients who are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment can call through the National Relay Service.

  • TTY or computer with modem users phone 133 677 then ask for (02) 9356 2566.
  • Speak and Listen (speech to speech relay) users phone 1300 555 727 then ask for (02) 9356 2566.

Toll-free

  • TTY or computer with modem users phone 1800 555 677 then ask for 1800 221 457.
  • Speak and listen (speech to speech relay) users phone 1800 555 727 then ask for 1800 221 457.
     

National Relay Service

Reference group

Arts Laws Commitment to Culturally Appropriate Services and Programs

Displaying Images and Voices of those who have passed away

The Arts Law Centre of Australia conducts all its programs and services with the knowledge, sensitivity and understanding of cultural protocols to the best of our ability.
The Arts Law Centre of Australia endeavours to consult with communities and staff associated with our programs and services so that we are aware of the particular Sorry Business protocols that may arise. We are aware that in some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities it is offensive to mourning practices to reproduce the names or images of deceased people. Sometimes these restrictions may last many years. 

The Arts Law Centre of Australia will not use a deceased person’s name or image unless the centre has obtained permission either from the individual at the time of meeting the individual or subsequently from relevant family members or elders.
If the Arts Law Centre of Australia becomes aware of an individual’s death and is not able to obtain permission to use their materials, we will not publish any new images and will take reasonable steps to remove any images from the website. No materials will be used without a consent form that specifically provides consent in the case of death. This may involve seeking permission from relatives, community or Elders.

Permission to use a deceased person’s name and image will be delivered in writing and outline whether the permission is ongoing, restricted to a particular person/company or for viewing in a particular area. Written permission will outline these particulars and clarify whether the individual wishes to use a mourning name.

Please contact the Arts Law Centre of Australia immediately if you do not see these protocols embodied throughout our website and/or publications.

Written in alignment with the Australian Human Rights Commission Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Engagement Toolkit 2012.

Contact our AITB Coordinator:

Since the commencement of our Artists in the Black program, we have engaged Indigenous staff to assist our Indigenous clients. To speak with our AITB Coordinator Jacqueline Cornforth please call (02) 9356 2566 or 1800 221 457 or email artslaw@artslaw.com.au

Our RAP:

We are currently in the process of developing a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). We endeavour to complete this project in 2015. Watch this space!

Our education:

Artists in the Black delivers current, targeted education about Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property, copyright, contracts and governance amongst many other issues to Indigenous colleges, art groups, and through councils. If you are interested in arranging for us to come out and do a workshop for you, please contact us on artslaw@artslaw.com.au

Our advocacy:

Arts Law is a strong advocate of the protection of Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property. To learn more about our law reform work, click here.

Case studies

Success stories from the AITB program provide an insight into the nature of our work and illustrate some of the legal issues we deal with.

Find

To find resources relevant to you search by Legal Topic or Art Form.

Click on one of the topics in the panel to the left to start!

Wills

Looking after Family - Wills and Estates

This section contains information and resources for Indigenous artists to manage how their property will be distributed after passing away:

Legal topics

Support

As the national legal centre for the arts and cultural sector, Arts Law is at the forefront of providing legal advice to Australia’s artists and arts organisations and advocating on law reform issues for the arts community.

With limited Federal and State funding, Arts Law cannot carry out its work without your support, either in kind or financial.

The Artists in the Black service would not be possible without the generous support of various individuals.  The funds, input, and assistance that these individuals provide us with is what enables us to continue to provide a great service for Indigenous artists and arts organisations.

There are three main ways you can assist us:
 

1. Donate

You can play an important role in helping Australian artists by becoming a Guardian Angel.

Alternatively, please consider making a general donation.
 

2. Volunteer

Assist us by volunteering as a panel lawyer, note-taker or daytime volunteer.

 

3. Adopt a Lawyer

The Adopt a Lawyer pro bono program partners Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community arts centres with an experienced law firm for period of three years, fostering partnerships that enable art centres to secure greater access to legal advice as well as building a closer relationship between law firms and Australia’s ancient Indigenous culture.

Learn more here: http://www.aitb.com.au/index.php/our-services/adopt-a-lawyer-program-/

 

 

The Adopt a Lawyer pro bono program partners Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community arts centres with an experienced law firm for period of three years, fostering partnerships that enable art centres to secure greater access to legal advice as well as building a closer relationship between law firms and Australia’s ancient Indigenous culture.

Learn more here: http://www.aitb.com.au/index.php/our-services/adopt-a-lawyer-program-/

- See more at: http://www.artslaw.com.au/support/#sthash.Dl39oi0W.dpuf

Resources

The Artists in the Black service produces a number of FREE and low cost resources to help Indigenous artists protect their rights:

  • Information sheets on legal issues specific to Indigenous artists
  • A series of comics to address legal issues that relate to Indigenous artists and communities
  • Free and low cost sample agreements
  • A number of resources assisting Indigenous artists to create and manage their will
  • art+LAW is Arts Law’s quarterly publication many articles with helpful legal information, including a dedicated section about Indigenous issues.

You may print a copy of these resources for a non-profit purpose, provided you copy all of it and do not alter it in any way. To reproduce for any other purpose (including for course materials) please contact Arts Law.

Arts Law has also developed a hub of information and resources about Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP) called Solid Arts. Visit the Solid Arts website to learn more.

For more general (non-Indigenous specific) legal resources for artist please go to Arts Law’s legal resources page.

Advocacy & Hot Topics

The AITB service aims to provide informed advocacy work on Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP) issues and other arts law issues which affect the Indigenous community. We lobby Government for legal reform which would improve the protection of, and respect for, the Indigenous Arts.

This is done through:

  1. Identification and prioritisation of issues which affect the Indigenous arts community;
  2. Research and making of submissions
  3. Developing relationships with the Government, media, arts sector and other relevant bodies; and
  4. Lobbying to influence the decision making of Government and other bodies,

Here you can find information about Arts Law’s advocacy work, the resale royalty scheme, international issues and information on Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP).

Legal Services

Help us help you

Arts Law’s AITB program endeavours to provide Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander artists, communities and arts organisations with access to our full range of services.
 

How does Arts Law assist you?

When you contact Arts Law for assistance, we will deal with your enquiry in any of the following ways:
 

1. Legal resources

We can help you find legal resources relevant to you. For example we may direct you to the free Indigenous information sheets or sample agreements available on this website, or to the general information sheets or sample agreements on the Arts Law website.

Arts Law also publishes a range of checklists and guides, seminar papers and a quarterly publication ART+Law.

We may also direct you to information from other organisations, such as the fact sheets on the Australian Copyright Council website.
 

2. Telephone legal advice

Arts Law lawyers can give free telephone legal advice where your enquiry does not involve the review of any document. You can request an advice session using our online legal query form.
 

3. Document review consultation

Arts Law lawyers carry out a document review of any document, for example a contract or agreement that is related to your art practice. We will then provide you with legal advice in relation to that document. You can request a document review using our online legal query form.
 

4. Mediation

Where appropriate we can provide access to our mediation service.
 

5. Referral

If a request is outside the scope of our services, we can refer you to Arts Law’s panel of lawyers or accountants. See our referral service for more details. We may also refer you to:

  1. an appropriate arts industry body (such as NAVA), another advisory body (such as the Australian Copyright Council) or one of the collecting societies (such as APRA, AMCOS, CAL, Screenrights);
  2. another community legal centre, Legal Aid or an entity with expertise in the relevant area (e.g. an insurer).
     

6. Seminars

On request, Arts Law prepares and delivers lectures, workshops and seminars on topical issues concerning law and the arts. Those presentations are specially tailored to meet the needs of any audience. Arts Law's lawyers are also available to assist in curricula development and review for tertiary and vocational training purposes.

For more information go to seminars and workshops.

Contact us to arrange a seminar.
 

7. Advocacy

Arts Law plays a crucial role in responding to Government on the impact of laws and government policy on Indigenous arts practice and in advocating for reform. For more details go to advocacy and law reform.

 

8. Solid Arts

Solid Arts is a hub of information about Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP) aiming to:

promote greater links between business and Indigenous communities in relation to IIP matters;
raise greater awareness among Indigenous communities, consumers and commercial operators of the need to protect ICIP; and
enhance coordination of existing networks of Indigenous and non-Indigenous organisations working in the area of ICIP

About us

Artists in the Black (AITB) is a legal service for Indigenous artists, communities and arts organisations. It is operated by the Arts Law Centre of Australia (Arts Law), the national community legal centre for the arts.

The name “Artists in the Black” is a play on the expression to be “in the black”, meaning to be financially profitable and not in debt, rather than being “in the red”. This name encapsulates the nature of this service, which helps Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists to be “in the black” through access to culturally appropriate legal advice, information and education about their rights so that they may gain financially from their artworks.

AITB provides access to legal advice and information in a culturally appropriate way. We are here to help you.
AITB aims to:

  • Increase access by Indigenous artists, art organisations and Indigenous communities to legal advice on arts law issues, including Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP).
  • Increase access to legal information about arts law issues and develop appropriate publications.  Increase understanding and awareness of Indigenous artists and communities of arts law issues through an education programme.
  • Provide informed advocacy work on ICIP issues and other arts law issues affecting the Indigenous community.
  • Develop arts-specific law expertise within the Indigenous community.

We look to forward to working in partnership with you to achieve a greater level of understanding and recognition of the rights of Indigenous artists.
 

History

Arts Law has been providing legal services to the arts community since 1983. However, when we looked at the rip-offs and exploitation of Indigenous artists still occurring, the case for a specialised service for Indigenous artists was overwhelming. Since the introduction of the AITB program in 2004, the legal service provision to the Indigenous community now comprises between 15-20% of Arts Law’s legal work. Arts Law will continue to develop the AITB program through consultation with the Indigenous community.

News & events

Recent news from Arts Law:

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