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

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

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.

Top of page

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.

Top of page

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.

Top of page

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.

Top of page

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.

Top of page

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

Top of page

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

Sign in

Subscriber terms & conditions

Subscribe

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.

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.

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

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. The Solid Arts website also contains links to many useful resources and information including articles dealing with Indigenous intellectual property.

*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 Aboriginal 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 Aboriginal 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

Reference group

The Indigenous Reference Group is currently not active.

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

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

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).

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.

Our 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. 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

Visit the Solid Arts website to learn more.
 

3. 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.
 

4. 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.
 

5. Mediation

Where appropriate we can provide access to our mediation service.
 

6. 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).
     

7. 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.
 

8. 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.

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:

Search by keyword

Show all articles A-Z

Yearly archives

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

Warning: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are warned that this web site may contain images of deceased people.