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Copyright and the protection of Indigenous art

Copyright Aboriginal Australians Creative workforce Cultural industries Arts Australia

Erin Mackay outlines the impact of two recent domestic developments in Indigenous art; those developments being significant changes to both the permit system in the NT and to the Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) Program. These developments provide a further reminder that meaningful legal protection and recognition of Indigenous art will not be found within Anglo-Australian laws such as copyright law; the law that appears best placed to provide legal protection for the ICIP contained in Indigenous art. More broadly, the events of 2007 indicate that it is time to move beyond existing laws to a more meaningful system of protection and recognition of ICIP – a sui generis rights instrument.

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