Copyright in future language materials PDF Print E-mail

The model agreement developed by the Arts Law Centre of Australia helps to overcome some of the difficulties faced to date by communities and their consultants. Where a community works with a consultant, use of this kind of agreement helps to protect communities’ intellectual and cultural property, and determine what happens to the developed materials.

The model agreement recognises the contributions made by all parties to any language publication. It includes the possibility of joint copyright ownership, where the different contributors can each have rights over the materials - the right to publish, distribute and copy them.

Government departments have a long history of presuming that funding the development of resources about Indigenous languages and cultures entitles them to free use of those materials. There are also special provisions in Australian copyright law that favour federal and state government copyright ownership.

One of the aims of the Arts Law-FATSILC protocols and model agreement is to begin to challenge the assumptions that underpin these legal frameworks and practices, and to increase the awareness of, and support for, the cultural and intellectual property rights of Indigenous communities.