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Copyright of the Aboriginal flag

4 February 2022

In January 2022 the Australian government paid more than $20 million for the Aboriginal flag’s copyright in a bid to free the symbol from disagreements over who can use it. Indigenous artist Harold Thomas created the flag in 1970 as a protest image but it is now the dominant Aboriginal emblem and an official national flag. Despite this, many Aboriginal people say the flag has been held hostage by copyright deals that limit its display. It’s a yes from us – several times over the years we have wanted to use the flag’s image for client work representing and supporting Aboriginal people, and the process for getting permission to do so was not clear, or easy – or especially fair seeming, for that matter. Now the flag truly belongs to the people and can now be reproduced by anyone without fear of legal threats.

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