Case Studies

Helping Aunty Lola Greeno protect her rights in her water-carriers

Aunty Lola Greeno. Photo by Rebecca Hardman.

Aunty Lola Greeno is a respected and decorated Tasmanian Aboriginal artist, curator and community leader. Recently, she contacted Arts Law for advice regarding an agreement with the Queensland Art Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA), Brisbane for the purchase of two water carriers she had created using traditional knowledge and skills. The water carriers are both artworks and expressions of Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP), including traditional techniques and knowledge developed by the Palawa peoples of Tasmania.

Aunty Lola provided us a copy of the proposed contract after she had provided her works to QAGOMA, keen to understand whether the contract adequately protected her rights. Arts Law contacted QAGOMA and was very pleased that QAGOMA was willing to work with Arts Law to make changes to the contract to better protect Aunty Lola’s rights, and balance her interests with the needs of the QAGOMA.

Regarding Aunty Lola’s copyright, Arts Law ensured the sale of Aunty Lola’s works did not also include her copyright. This is something we continually impress upon artists. When it came to the copyright licence Aunty Lola was granting to QAGOMA, Arts Law worked in changes to the contract so that the licence was not too broad, but appropriately limited in scope. Other changes Arts Law was able to successfully negotiate for Aunty Lola included ensuring her moral rights were respected, in particular that she would be properly attributed and importantly, Arts Law secured the insertion of a cultural notice protecting the ICIP in the works and stating that the ICIP may not be used without the consent of the traditional Palawa owners. Arts Law worked with QAGOMA to ensure Aunty Lola’s rights in her artworks were treated fairly in the contract. It was so rewarding to hear from Aunty Lola when she told us the improvements were implemented and the contract was signed.