• AJ Williams-Tchen

Copyright of both the Aboriginal flag & Torres Strait Islander flags

Interesting fact

The Aboriginal flag and Torres Strait Islander flag are both copyrighted under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth).

The copyright of the Torres Strait Islander flag was administered by the Island Coordinating Council until 2008, when the body was superseded by the Torres Strait Island Regional Council - which is willing to permit reproductions of the flag that are accurate and acknowledge Namok as the designer.

In 1997 the Federal Court of Australia officially recognised Harold Thomas as the

author of the Aboriginal flag. This decision meant the flag is also protected under the Copyright Act 1963. It can only be reproduced in accordance with the legislation or with the permission of Harold Thomas.

This means that anyone making anything for sale with the image of the flag (Not if u make it for yourself - but if you make it and sell it) that does not have permission could be in breach of the copyright act.

It is also why we just can’t have emojis of the flags - despite many campaigns out there, as they need the permission to reproduce the flags.

Don’t support unofficial merchandise that has these copyrighted flags. Also warn family and friends that unintentionally make things for sale- thinking that by putting on either one or both the flags because it’s cultural, could actually be breaking the law and subject to copyright infringement.