The protection of aboriginal creations in Australia & New Zealand

Claudio Iglesias Darriba

In addition to the recognized «authenticity mark» or «origin mark», Australia and New Zealand strongly protect their aboriginal peoples’ intellectual property.This protection includes the «repatriación» of Aboriginal cultural heritage to the people to whom it belongs.

Western Intellectual Property Law  is ill-equipped to address the needs (and expectations) of indigenous communities everywhere, given its emphasis on limited duration, fixation and the action of individual authors rather than collectives.

International law defines «Indigenous Peoples» broadly as those peoples in independent countries who are regarded as indigenous on account of their descent from the populations which inhabited the country, or a geographical region to which the country belongs, at the time of conquest or colonization or the establishment of present state boundaries and who, irrespective of their legal status, retain some or all of their social, economic, cultural and political institutions.

In Australia, the authenticity labels or indigenous origin marks  establish the origin of art and craft products. Thus, for example, the «Toi Iho» mark for Maori arts and crafts and other marks of authenticity proposals to protect indigenous creations.


More info: United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

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