Indigenous art and the law

19 May 2010

The project provides a literature review and critically examines existing laws and investigates options for urgently-required developments in the area of arts law as it pertains to Indigenous people and culture.

This project is premised on the objective of promoting full recognition and protection for what has been variously defined as Australian Indigenous peoples' cultural knowledge, traditional cultural expression, traditional knowledge or Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP).

Attempts to seek holistic recognition and protection of ICIP through the existing structure of copyright law, whether by way of litigation or legislative amendment, appear to have made only minimal contribution to the achievement of this objective. Similar shortcomings in the protection of ICIP may be found in both cultural heritage and native title law. Further attempts to modify these laws to protect ICIP may in fact be detrimental by obfuscating the need for more fundamental change.

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