Copyright in existing language materials PDF Print E-mail

Unless communities are the copyright owner, or have permission from the copyright owner, they do not have the right to use, and control the use of, many existing language materials. Furthermore, in the case of unpublished printed and audio-visual materials (eg the unpublished recordings stored at AIATSIS) copyright potentially lasts forever. Even if the material is published so that the copyright only lasts for a limited time, it then falls into the public domain and becomes available for anyone to use. In either case, there can be serious consequences for communities’ relationship to, and custodianship of, their languages and ICIP.

For these reasons, linguists and other researchers and consultants must give serious consideration to transferring copyright in their existing works to the local or regional language centre (if established) or alternatively, the most relevant local community organisation or AIATSIS.