The Arts Law Centre of Australia (Arts Law) commends Labor and the Greens for pledging their support to the Australian arts sector but calls for stronger investment in the Australian literature and visual arts sectors, and legislative protection of Indigenous Cultural Intellectual Property rights. The Coalition is sadly silent by comparison, although it has made similar commitments in the music sector to those made by Labor.
Arts Law welcomes Labor’s commitment to measures that will counter the detrimental trade in inauthentic indigenous art works. However, we call for a solution that is based on legislation to bring into Australian law Indigenous Cultural Intellectual Property rights. This will ensure that our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander creators are able to protect the integrity of the stories of their traditional communities and to benefit from their economic exploitation.
These are the founding stories of our nation, and our First People deserve to be the custodians of their telling. The starting point should be a ban on the importation of fake First Nations arts and crafts.
We welcome Labor’s unequivocal recognition of the importance of copyright to creators. Copyright is the bedrock of economic rights for the arts sector and the reinforcement of these rights reaffirms the vital contributions this sector makes to the Australia’s cultural wealth.
While Arts Law is very pleased that Labor has made direct financial commitments to music, Indigenous theatre, screen content and interactive games areas, we would like to also see specific economic support for the Australian literature and visual artists sectors.
Australia Council for the Arts and Arts Law
Arts Law, as an organisation supported by the Australia Council for the Arts, is particularly heartened by the commitment to the Australia Council contained in both the Greens and Labor’s arts policies. Whilst support for the Major Performing Arts Organisations is important, we would like our future government to support the many other smaller organisations that contribute to the vibrant Australian arts community.
We whole-heartedly support any measures that will put more dollars in the pockets of Australia’s storytellers, whatever art form they work in. At the same time, we maintain a strong belief in the value of artists understanding the rights they enjoy under Australian law and maintain our belief in the value of the legal advice we provide.
At Arts Law we can never meet the demand for our services and there are always more artists we would like to support. We hope any increase in the support of the Australia Council will see Arts Law, as a peak industry-support organisation, given increased funding to support our unique story-tellers to be in a better position to understand and protect their rights in the agreements and business arrangements they negotiate in their professional creative lives. This is particularly so for our Artists in the Black service for First Nations artists.
Arts Law plays a critical role in the arts community in Australia. While we enjoy the substantial and very welcome support of pro bono lawyers across Australia, there is no substitute for the fundamental support provided by the Australian government through the Australia Council and the Federal Arts Department.
As a charity, we are also very pleased at the bi-partisan commitment to amendment and simplification of the fundraising laws – to make it simpler and clearer for donors to donate, while removing red-tape for us as we go about fundraising.