In 1971, the Australian indigenous artist Harold Thomas created the iconic Australian Aboriginal Flag which has since been named one of the “official flags of Australia,” which resulted in Thomas successfully suing to assert copyright over the design.
Thomas subsequently sold the “exclusive, worldwide copyright license” to a business called WAM Clothing. WAM is using its copyright to target the aboriginal-owned social enterprise Spark Health whose registered social purpose is “health promotion and Aboriginal Community engagement” and who manufacture promotional clothing bearing Thomas’s flag.
Spark has taken issue with Thomas’s licensing choices and has started an online petition, calling for the creation of “viable channels for new licensing agreements, especially those for Aboriginal organisations and businesses.”
[Editor’s note: Whenever governments review their copyright, one of two things happens: either they only listen to industry reps and then come to the “conclusion” that more copyright is always better; or they listen to stakeholders and experts and conclude that a little goes a long way. Normally, when the latter happens, the government that […]
A year ago, Benjamin “Mako” Hill gave a groundbreaking lecture explaining how Big Tech companies had managed to monopolize all the benefits of free software licenses, using a combination of dirty tricks to ensure that the tools that were nominally owned by no one and licensed under free and open terms nevertheless remained under their […]
The Electronic Frontier Foundation is hiring a new staff copyright/trademark litigator, and “experience with or strong interest in patent, unfair competition, administrative law, privacy and/or First Amendment litigation is preferred but not required.”
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