We are delighted to announce that the copyright in the Aboriginal Flag has been assigned to the Australian Government after they reached an A$20 million deal. The Aboriginal Flag is now free for public use in accordance with the same protocols as the Australian Flag, other than for commercial manufacturers of flags.
Furthermore, the deal comes after extensive lobbying, including a Senate Inquiry in September 2020, where our firm’s co-Founder and Partner, Mr Peter Francis, and Ms Laura Thompson as representative for our client, Spark Health Australia / Clothing The Gaps, made submissions on the social, ethical and legal reasons why the rights to the Aboriginal Flag should not be held by a private individual.
Moreover, despite being an official flag of Australia under the Flags Act 1953 (Cth), the Aboriginal Flag is also an “artistic work” under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth).
Under the deal, the original author of the “artistic work”, Mr Harold Thomas, will retain his moral rights to the artwork. As granted under the Copyright Act, which include:
- Author’s right of attribution of authorship;
- Right not to have authorship of a work falsely attributed; and
- Right of integrity of authorship of a work.
These moral rights will provide extra protection for the integrity of the Aboriginal Flag. They will remain in place for the life of the author.
Therefore, since the design of the Aboriginal Flag in the 1970s and its proclamation as an official flag of Australia in the 1990s, it has been a long journey to reach this point. We congratulate each and every individual and organisation which was instrumental in achieving this outcome for our Indigenous Australian community.
Finally, on behalf of the team at FAL Lawyers, it has been a pleasure to have advised and assisted Spark Health / Clothing The Gaps throughout the Free the Flag Campaign.