Background to the Arts Law – FATSILC project PDF Print E-mail

Our Culture: Our Future is a report researched and written by Terri Janke, an Indigenous lawyer, specialising in Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP). The report (1998, p11) provides a  holistic definition of Indigenous heritage, including: literary, performing and artistic works, languages, scientific, agricultural, technical and ecological knowledge, spiritual knowledge, all items of movable cultural property, including burial artefacts, Indigenous ancestral remains, Indigenous human genetic material, cultural environment resources. The report recommends:

Indigenous people should assert their rights to their cultural and intellectual property and have such rights recognised under contracts. (Recommendation 26.1.2, p271).

Similarly, the Australian Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS, 2000, p4) Guidelines for Ethical research in Indigenous Studies recommend:

negotiation should result in a formal agreement for the conduct of a research project, based on good faith and free and informed consent. … The aim of the negotiation process is to come to a clear understanding, which results in a formal agreement (preferably written), about research intentions, methods and potential results.

In line with these recommendations, and in response to community requests for support, the Arts Law Centre of Australia, in collaboration with FATSILC, has developed a model agreement. This agreement is available for use by Indigenous communities and individuals and organisations who are working with them to publish materials for language revitalisation. The model agreement is supported by the FATSILC protocols guide. Together, these two documents provide support for ICIP.

The FATSILC protocols guide aims to give a general guide to the types of issues involved in publishing language materials and to give examples of good practice and the valuable contributions which communities, schools, linguists, ICT specialists and others have made, and are currently making, to language revitalisation.