Reports that Aboriginal-owned agencies and the AFL have received cease warnings over their use of the Aboriginal flag on clothing have left many Australians surprised and careworn.
A business enterprise referred to as WAM Clothing, not owned with the aid of Indigenous Australians, presently has extraordinary rights to apply the flag on apparel. It has issued stop and desist notices to corporations and the AFL (which uses the flag on membership jerseys for its Indigenous round) and Spark Health, an Indigenous social company. The latter has launched an online petition calling for the copyright preparations to be modified.
While there may be no need for anybody to get permission to use the Australian flag, as long as they abide by using the hints respecting its use, this isn’t the case for the Aboriginal flag.
The reason is that the Aboriginal flag is a copyrighted painting owned with the aid of the artist who created it over 40 years ago – Luritja man Harold Thomas. Thomas created the flag for a national Indigenous day in July 1971, and this isn’t the primary time his flag has been embroiled in a copyright controversy.
When it changed into followed because the flag of the Aboriginal human beings of Australia by proclamation of the Governor-General on July 14, 1995, numerous different claimants came ahead asserting that they had been the artist behind it. Thomas became a hit in establishing his claim to authorship earlier than the Federal Court in 1997.
As the writer of the flag, Thomas is its owner and can provide licenses to different events to make copies of the flag or certainly refuse its use altogether.
Under Australian law, his copyright will last for 70 years after his loss of life and may be claimed using his heirs or everybody else to whom he might pick to assign it. Thomas can assert his rights against everyone making any replica of the flag. However, they’re now not promoting it or the usage of it commercially – this will even encompass bringing a movement against a person with a tattoo of the flag.
Following the Federal Court selection in 1997, Thomas granted a license to a company known as Flags 2000, giving that company the proper to breed and manufacture the flag. In 2003, Flags 2000 and Thomas brought a hit action towards a man named Mr. Smith, who had made and offered copies of the flag without permission. Today, the license to use the flag on items of garb is held via WAM Clothing. This was granted with the aid of Thomas in October 2018.
One of the proprietors of WAM Clothing, Ben Wooster, is also the director of an agency known as Birubi Art. Last yr, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission introduced prison complaints towards Birubi for its production and income of boomerang and different souvenir products featuring visual images and symbols of Aboriginal artwork, all of which had been produced through artisans in Indonesia.
The Federal Court discovered that via representing these works as hand-painted or made through Aboriginal Australians, Birubi had engaged in deceptive and deceptive conduct. Listening to the consequences and orders in opposition to the organization can be held this Friday. However, it’s far already in liquidation, which could restrict the impact of any orders.