Pearl Narang is a final year law student of B.B.A.LL.B (Hons.) at Chandigarh University, Mohali and is currently interning as a Trainee in Business World Legal Community. She is also pursuing a diploma in Contract Drafting, Negotiation and Dispute Resolution. She is passionate about both law and writing.
Copyright licensing arrangements comes into limelight after Australian football league's refusal to sign agreement
Aboriginal flag's copyright issues have sparked debate about copyright licensing arrangements related to the flag. Harold Thomas, an indigenous artist who designed the flag in 1971 is the copyright holder while WAM Clothing, a non-Indigenous company owns the commercial licensing rights.
A senate inquiry was launched to tackle the issue of copyright licensing arrangements of the flag. The issue again came into the limelight when Australian Football League refused to sign an agreement with WAM citing concerns that the commercial terms used by the WAM would exclude smaller teams from using the flag.
In the inquiry, it was revealed that WAM Clothing sent a cease and desist letter to Aboriginal groups after using the flag. This raised concerns about licensing putting the design in a corner.
NIAA aware of the sensitivity of the issue for the Australian community
National Indigenous Australians Agency boss Ray Griggs described the issue as "delicate, sensitive and complex" and confirmed discussions have been underway with Mr Thomas and WAM Clothing since June last year.
A Yahoo report quoted him as saying, "The NIAA is acutely aware of the sensitivity and complexity surrounding this issue in both the Aboriginal and broader Australian community,"
The Australian government wants free usage of the aboriginal flag
"The importance of the flag as a unifying symbol for Aboriginal Australians, and more broadly in the community, is a position all parties seek to preserve."
"The government wants the flag to be used more freely while respecting Mr Thomas' wishes and the broader community."
Mr Griggs says the government wants to end divisiveness over the issue.
WAM Clothing Director, Ms Moore was unable to tell the inquiry how many companies have paid to use the flag design, or have been told to stop using it.
Australians can freely fly the flag but there are limitations to its use in other ways. The inquiry has also been told the copyright could be split so it can be used more widely.
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