Visual arts and crafts

Elcho Island Arts Centre – Part 2: Export Exemption to Benefit Indigenous Artists

By Delwyn Everard and Monique Hennessy on 1st October 2013

Indigenous Australian traditional weaving techniques have existed and evolved over thousands of years. Now, thanks to the efforts of Arts law and its pro bono partners, substantial obstacles previously hindering the international exhibition and sale of Indigenous art created from pandanus fibres has been removed.

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Art in Prisons - Prisoner’s have rights too!

By Anika Valenti on 24th June 2013

Arts Law is currently in the process of creating a positions paper that considers the law and policy relating to the creation of artistic works in Australian prisons. 

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Black Fashion

By Robyn Ayres on 24th June 2013

There is a lot of excitement around the variety of Indigenous fashion and textile projects that are blossoming around the country. The momentum has been building for a number of years and several of the creative outcomes are being showcased. It seems the time is ripe for Black Fashion in Australia.

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Arts Law 2013 Pro Bono Awards

By Arts Law Centre of Australia on 24th June 2013

On Wednesday 29th May 2013, Arts Law celebrated the pro bono work of lawyers around the country who give back through their pro bono work in the arts community. For the last 9 years, Arts Law has commissioned a print to award to 30 lawyers celebrating their significant pro bono contribution. 

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Not Made in Australia Campaign

By Robyn Ayres and Shannon Longhurst on 30th June 2012

The past few months have been a busy and exciting time for Solid Arts, a project funded by the Cultural Ministers Council, which is focused around creating a suite of resources on Indigenous Intellectual Property. The project has two main aims: firstly, to make arts-specific legal information more accessible to Indigenous artists and secondly, to increase awareness about Indigenous Intellectual Property amongst the general community, and consumers and commercial operators of Indigenous art.  Stage Two of the project has seen the development and dissemination of a range of new materials directed at meeting these objectives.

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Arts Law advocates for Greater Transparency in Fees charged by Copyright Collecting Societies

By Delwyn Everard and Marie-Christin Stenzel on 4th April 2012

Arts Law has successfully pursued changes to the information available on the websites of three major Australian collecting societies. We were concerned about the calculation of the commissions they deduct from the royalties collected on behalf of their members.

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

By Delwyn Everard and Marie-Christin Stenzel on 4th April 2012

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.

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Solid Arts Update

By Robyn Ayres on 21st December 2011

Solid Arts provides a toolkit of resources on respecting and protecting Indigenous intellectual property. The 3 year project was funded by the Cultural Ministers Council and will enter its final phase in 2012.

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Arts Law in the Kimberley: a facebook story

By Arts Law Centre of Australia on 21st December 2011

Arts Law's facebook page already has 466 fans and is a source of current news on legal and political  issues affecting the Australian and international arts industries as well as keeping you up-to-date on new resources available from Arts Law.

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Arts Law in the Northern Territory

By Arts Law Centre of Australia on 26th September 2011

In mid-September Arts Law senior solicitor Delwyn Everard and Aboriginal Liaison Officer Shian Se'l-Barker travelled through the Northern Territory on a trip advising Indigenous musicians and artists. Here Shian recounts the experience.

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From WIPO, Geneva: IGC 19 Report

By Trish Adejei and Louise Buckingham on 26th September 2011

The 19th session of WIPO’s Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC) was held in Geneva, WIPO Headquarters, 18-22 July 2011. We (Trish Adjei and Louise Buckingham) went along as observers for Arts Law. We were also privileged to participate in the Indigenous Caucus during the meeting.

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Elcho Island Artists and the Pandanus Problem

By Vanessa Walsh and Dwana Walsh on 25th September 2011

Indigenous artists off the coast of Arnhem Land were horrified to learn that a London exhibition of their works could be stopped because of a little known piece of law. The artists immediately contacted Arts Law who in turn sought assistance from law firm DLA Piper, and with the clock ticking down to get the art halfway across the world, the lawyers quickly got to work.

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Rock Art - Australia’s Threatened Heritage

By Stacy Adelman on 11th July 2011

Australia's rock art, which is one of the oldest known continuously practised art forms in the world, is at great risk of widespread destruction as a result of unconstrained industrial development.  These works, which consist of carved and painted depictions of Indigenous history and spirituality, have provided important clues regarding the development of art specifically and human evolution generally.  Because there is no single identifiable artist and the works date back thousands of years, far beyond the stipulated duration limits, rock art does not fit comfortably in the traditional frameworks of intellectual property law.

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Protecting the Sacred Wandjina: the Land and Environment Court goes to the Blue Mountains

By Delwyn Everard on 11th July 2011

In 2010, a gallery in the Blue Mountains in NSW erected a large sculpture featuring Wandjinas, the creation spirit sacred to the Worrora, Wunumbal and Ngarinyin Aboriginal tribes in Western Australia. Artists in the Black was contacted by both the people of the Katoomba area and Mowanjum Arts which represents artists from the three language groups who are the traditional custodians of the Wandjina law and sites of the Western Kimberley. The Dharug and Gundungurra Aboriginal people of the Blue Mountains area were mortified that this conduct was occurring on their traditional lands and felt embarrassed and responsible. All five groups were upset by the unauthorized and disrespectful appropriation of important cultural imagery. They contacted Artists in the Black.

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Solids Arts – Respecting and protecting Indigenous intellectual property

By Robyn Ayres on 31st March 2011

In 2010 the Arts Law Centre of Australia (Arts Law) was contracted through the Cultural Ministers Council to further develop the Indigenous intellectual property toolkit resource over three years (2010-2012). This project has been titled Solid Arts and will include a resources across a number of mediums.

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The artists’ resale royalty scheme: the first six months

By Libby Baulch on 24th December 2010

The artists' resale royalty scheme started on 9 June 2010. The scheme entitles artists to a royalty on certain resales of their works. The first artist to receive a payment by the scheme was Gabriella Possum Nungurrayi, the daughter of Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri.

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DLA Phillips Fox Joins Arts Law Centre in Remote Central Australia

By Joanna Mansfield on 24th December 2010

Arts Law wouldn't work without help from pro bono lawyers. In October 2010 two lawyers from DLA Phillips Fox were fortunate to be able to go to a very different work environment and join Arts Law on their trip to the Anangu, Pitjantjatjara & Yankunytjatjara.

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Working With The Arts Law Centre: A Lawyer’s Perspective

By Tim Golder on 30th September 2010

A look at some of the rewarding pro bono work provided by Allens Arthur Robinson for an Indigenous visual artist through Arts Law.

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The Wandjina case demonstrates the lack of protection for Indigenous culture

By Robyn Ayres on 30th September 2010

The Law Report on the ABC's Radio National recently ran a story about a gallery in the Blue Mountains which has erected a statue featuring creation spirits from Western Australia, a case which highlights the current gaps in protection for Indigenous cultural and intellectual property

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Fake ‘Aboriginal’ souvenirs

By Robyn Ayres on 30th September 2010

On 19 August 2010, the ABC's 7:30 Report examined the detrimental impact cheap Asian 'Aboriginal' souvenirs is having on the market for authentic Aboriginal souvenirs with Aboriginal craftspeople unable to compete with the mass-produced Asian products.

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A New Peak Body for WA Aboriginal Art Centres

By Delwyn Everard on 30th June 2010

A new peak body for Aboriginal art centres in Western Australia has been established by Country Arts WA. Arts Law was contracted to deliver a series of workshops to its members over May and June.

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Spotlight - a pro bono success story

By Robert Lempens on 30th June 2010

Earlier this year Arts Law arranged volunteer legal advice for an Indigenous artist from the Ceduna Arts & Cultural Centre. The artist had been forwarding artworks to a company for them to sell and was owed nearly $4,000, however the company seemed to have disappeared.

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‘Authentic’ Aboriginal Art - ACCC v Australian Dreamtime Creations

By Meher Gaven on 31st March 2010

On 21 December 2009 Justice Mansfield in the Federal Court found that Australian Dreamtime Creations Pty Ltd ('Dreamtime Creations') misled consumers by making misleading representations about artworks using Indigenous art styles. The Court held that Dreamtime Creations breached s.52 of the Trade Practices Act ('Act') which prohibits corporations from engaging in misleading or deceptive conduct.

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Sellers of Fake Indigenous Art Stopped

By Amity Jarvis on 31st March 2009

Amity discusses recent Federal Court orders in an ACCC action against Queensland art dealers who were selling works incorrectly labeled as ‘authentic' Aboriginal art and artefacts.

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Indigenous Artist and Arts Centre Agreement

By Serena Armstrong on 31st March 2009

Arts Law’s new free sample Indigenous Artist and Art Centre Agreement is a great resource for Indigenous artists creating artworks at Indigenous art centres. In this article, Serena Armstrong looks at who might use the agreement and how to use it.

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

By Anna-lea Russo on 30th June 2007

Anna-lea Russo provides an update on the situation in the Burrup Peninsula

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Indigenous Protocols

By Robyn Ayres on 30th September 2003

The Arts Law Centre receives a large number of enquiries from artists with concerns in dealing with Indigenous culture and art. As a result of the growing interest in, and the appropriation of, Indigenous art and culture, at least two sets of protocols have recently been developed in Australia.

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