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From the Editor | Institute, Material, Language, Past, Release, Involved, Stored, Aiatsis | FATSILC, Fed. Aboriginal Torres Strait Island Languages and Culture
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Faith Baisden
Something I've heard raised at nearly every language meeting, forum, or conference over the past few years is the matter of gaining easier access to the language material that's been stored at AIATSIS (Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies) in Canberra.

It was really interesting then to be involved in discussions with representatives from AIATSIS, about the legalities relating to the release of material placed in the Institute.

The understanding of copyright laws has made a huge difference to the way information/language is collected and stored these days, but the Institute is bound by contracts and agreements made before awareness of the rights of ownership became the issue it is today.

Where possible, Institute staff are making contact with people who've lodged research data in the past, or in some cases, their descendants, to make sure the material can be legally released.

It's a rewarding task for the FATSIL committee to help prioritise the release of material from the Institute, and its distribution to the relevant communities and family groups.

It should also be remembered that the demand for information held at the Institute has increased phenomenally over the past few years, and it's a credit to the spirit of cooperation between all the parties involved that the moves to return the language materials to the communities is now taking place.