Protecting The Wandjina

‘Wandjina’ (also called ‘wanjina’ or ounjina’) are the sacred creation spirits and source of cultural law for the Worrora, Wunumbal and Ngarinyin Aboriginal peoples of the Kimberley. The Wandjina established the laws of life, marriage, kinship and obligation to country. They have been artistically depicted in a unique and distinctive form by those language groups for thousands of years, first in rock paintings and now on canvases as a contemporary art form. 

Copyright, Pirates and VPNs

Australia has one of the highest online piracy rates in the world. One only needs to consider the popular television series Game of Thrones, the Season 5 premiere of which was downloaded illegally via torrent websites over 150,000 times by Australians alone.

Crowdfunding Across the Arts

Crowdfunding is now an important way for artists and creators to seek funding for their projects. In 2013, Arts Law published an information sheet, Cross platform creativity – online and digital media, which covered the role of crowdfunding in financing computer games and mobile apps.  Arts Law’s NEW Crowdfunding information sheet expands the topic to recognise that seeking donations or pledges of support is actually relevant to most art forms.

Accounting for donations and in-kind support

I’ve had quite a few enquiries about how Charities or Not-for-Profit organisations can leverage their Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status to maximise the tax advantages for people who want to help them e.g. by providing in-kind support or making a donation.

The “Blurred Lines” case – Sometimes it really is just the vibe

After a long legal battle in the US between Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams and the estate of Marvin Gaye over the song “Blurred Lines” and it's similarities to “Got to Give it Up”, a jury found there was copyright infringement and ordered the pair to pay US$7.3million. Read more about how the decision was made and whether this could happen in Australia. 

Personal Properties Securities Act (PPSA)

“Why would I care?” you will ask. The simple answer is that you need to know whether you have a security interest of not, so you know whether you should register that interest. Read relevant news articles and view videos here.

Computer Games: Issues for Creators and Developers

In June 2014, Arts Law was asked to present a seminar to Sydney and Melbourne members of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) about the legal issues creators and developers need to consider when embarking on a games project. In this recording, Arts Law Deputy Director, Delwyn Everard, and Solicitor, Anika Valenti, discuss copyright and moral rights in relation to games, the importance of contracts in securing chain of title and the different ways to structure the business of creating a game.

Click here to view the video.

Collage as child pornography and the limits to the right to freedom of expression – Case note

Collage as child pornography and the limits to the right to freedom of expression- Case Note on Johnson v Yore

by Rowena Orr SC and Georgie Coleman of the Victorian Bar


Contemporary artist Paul Yore was charged with (and ultimately acquitted of) a charge of producing child pornography and a charge of possessing child pornography, as a result of his installation at the Linden Centre for Contemporary Art in 2013, entitled Everything Is Fucked 2013.  He is one of a small number of Australian artists to have been charged with a criminal offence as a result of their art, a group that includes Mike Brown, the artist to which Paul Yore was paying homage by the work in question.

This case note discusses the criminal trial of Paul Yore and the Magistrate’s decision:  Johnson v Yore.[2]  It focuses in particular on the issues the decision raises regarding the role of the right to freedom of expression in criminal prosecutions arising from artistic endeavours; the extent to which artificial images (such as collage) can constitute child pornography; and the authority of the police to excise images from an artistic work pursuant to a search warrant.

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