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Australia Council for the Arts First Nations Protocols released today!

We are excited to announce that after much conversation and consultation with First Nations creative practitioners and hard work from the team at Terri Janke and Company and Australia Council for the Arts, the updated Australia Council First Nations Protocols, Protocols for Using First Nations Cultural and Intellectual Property in the Arts, have been released.

First published in 2002 and revised in 2007, this is the third edition. A special thank you to Maiko Sentina, previously a Solicitor at Terri Janke and Company, with writing and putting together this latest edition.

What are they?

Protocols are non-legal guidelines offering the correct procedures to be followed in particular situations. Protocols have been widely used in Australia to protect Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property rights (ICIP), that is, Indigenous culture and knowledge, in areas where the law falls short. They provide a mechanism for the protection and recognition of ICIP.

Solicitor Director Dr Terri Janke says, “While works by individual artists are protected by copyright, Australia does not yet have a law that prevents alteration, distortion or misuse of traditional symbols, songs, dances, performances and story that may be part of the heritage of particular Indigenous language groups. This is where the Australia Council for the Arts’ Protocols for using First Nations Intellectual and Cultural Property in the Arts comes in. The protocols provide a pathway for collaborations and creation of new Indigenous work.”

Who are the Protocols for?

These protocols are for creative practitioners working with Indigenous artists or Indigenous cultural heritage in their creative projects. Those being funded by the Australia Council grant assessment panels are required to comply with the protocols.

Beyond this, the protocols educate readers on Indigenous cultural heritage and importance of respecting and protecting this in arts projects, encouraging meaningful and respectful collaboration.

Where can I access the Protocols?

You can download the protocols here:

What can Terri Janke and Company help with?

  • Drafting art licence agreements

  • Assisting with the negotiation of rights and agreements

  • Drafting ICIP Protocol for your organisation or project

  • IP Management Plans

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