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Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art - Essay Example

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Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art

This is particularly in the many cases where parts of their cultural heritage have been used or misused for profit without the authorization or knowledge of the original owners. It is important that the rights of the indigenous people to control their intellectual property as well as be principally involved in the determination of the latitude and nature of access and reproduction are recognized. Ironically, while in the recent past many foreigners have been benefiting from selling reproducing and marketing other products through indigenous art, the first westerners in Australia did not even acknowledge the indigenous people had art. They assumed they were too backwards and primitive to conceptualize or appreciate such ostentation and all the art in Australia was treated as artifacts with only historical but not artistic or aesthetic value. From the days of initial occupation, there has been a long history of misuse and illegal exploitation of arts designs and a multiplicity of cultural expression such as oral traditions, music dances and crafts. In 1968, the government in an effort to safeguard the cultural heritage from exploitation came up with the copyright act of 1968. This law was a trendsetter for other legal frameworks that would later come to be implemented in regard to protecting the diversity of indigenous heritage is posterity.3 According to the act; copyright did not need to be registered, all one needed to have a copyright was to produce original work, as such any existing artistic expression such as music was by default the property of the community or individuals who had produced it. This law took cognizance of the fact that majority of those who owned the cultural expression being safeguarded at the time were not educated and they could not have followed convectional registration protocols. It therefore prevented unscrupulous individuals who may have desired to register such works as their own and take advantage of the ignorance of the indigenous community. The law also provided that the copyright would only expire 50 years after the death of the creator of the works in question. Successive legislation was built on this law and one of the hallmarks was the 1983 decision in favor of the aboriginal artist agency which set the precedent for modern protection of intellectual property by proving indigenous works, just like any other creative works could be legally recognized as authentic. In addition, the 1983 act implemented UNESCOs convection for protection of world cultural heritage sites which Australia had ratified 11 years previously. 4 An examination of the history of copyright law in austral would be incomplete without a mention of the 1994 carpet case. This was a landmark in the legal protection of Aboriginal art, it pitted 3 aboriginal artists as well as the relatives of five deceased ones against Beechrow; a firm based in Perth which bought carpets in Vietnam and imported them in Australia for prices as high as $4000 .5 The company reproduced the works of several Australian artists living and dead on the carpets to make them seem authentic and thus justify their high cost as well as a attract thousands of local and international clients ...Show more
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Summary

Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Name: Course: Lecturer: Date: The connection between the intellectual and cultural properties of ingenuous people of Australia and other parts of their cultural heritage and self-identity is varied and complex.1 The social economic contribution of the Torres islanders and Aboriginal people to Australia’s heritage has substantially benefited the country, in retrospect these indigenous communities and custodians of the culture have not been equitably recognized of compensated…
Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art
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