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Australia buys copyright to Aboriginal flag

Reuters Videos
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4 個月前

The Australian government has acquired copyright to freely use the Aboriginal flag.

It comes after commercial disputes had restricted sporting teams and Aboriginal communities from reproducing the image.

The Black, yellow and red flag was created by indigenous artist Harold Thomas in 1971 to lead a demonstration.

It has since become a symbol of indigenous unity and pride.

The government has paid $20 million to Thomas and to extinguish licences held by a small number of companies which have stirred controversy since 2018 by demanding payment for the flag's reproduction.

A parliamentary inquiry in 2020 said the licence holder had demanded payment from health organizations and sporting clubs,

which could lead to communities stopping using the flag to avoid legal action.

Ken Wyatt is the minister for Indigenous Australians:

"It now means that it's free to use. If they want to have the flag on the Oval (sports stadium), then it's fine. If it's on apparel or jumpers et cetera, it's there to use. It's always been used until a particular set of licences were handed into and there was a fee charged on the bottom line of an invoice and that hurt struggling pop-up Aboriginal businesses and it was becoming divisive.”

Prominent Aboriginal Australians including former Olympian Nova Peris led a "Free the Flag" campaign.

The government announced the acquisition of the flag on the eve of the Australia Day national holiday.

The celebrations, on January 26, are controversial. And seen by indigenous Australians as marking the invasion of their land by Britain.

It is the date a British fleet sailed into Sydney Harbour in 1788 to start a penal colony, viewing the land as unoccupied despite encountering settlements.

There has been debate over whether to move the national holiday to another date.

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