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  3. Protecting Australian Indigenous art
  4. Background information
  5. Protection: the issues
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Protection: the issues

Many of the issues related to the protection of Aboriginal art fit in with more general concerns over ‘cultural piracy’. In keeping with the dynamics of postmodern culture, many non- Aboriginal artists have been quick to make use of music, stories, dance, designs, tools, artefacts (and even personal identities!) that derive from Aboriginal communities.

Concerns about misappropriation are by no means restricted to the non-commercial realm. To Aboriginal artists and communities, the income that can be earned from the often painstaking production of artworks is just as important as it is to non-Aboriginal artists.

Two principles underlie the concerns of Aboriginal people about the use of their products and ideas for economic benefit:

  • The right to show, reproduce, publish or market these ideas and products must rest with the owners and creators. This means that any other party wishing to make use of the work of Aboriginal artists must always seek permission.
  • Any material benefits that arise from such activity should return in fair proportion to the owners and creators.
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