HUGE: Aboriginal Flag Made Free For Public Use As Govt Inks Historic Copyright Deal Worth $20m

aboriginal flag free for use copyright deal

The Aboriginal flag will be free for all to use after a historic $20 million copyright deal between the Federal Government and the flag’s creator Luritija artist Harold Thomas, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

Thomas first designed the flag in 1971 and agreed to transfer copyright to the Commonwealth.

It was difficult for First Nations Aussies to legally use the flag up until Monday night’s decision. According to the ABC, a non-Indigenous clothing brand was given the right to put the flag on clothing and later threatened the NRL and AFL for doing the same with players’ uniforms.

But the deal now means that First Nations peoples can use the flag without having to pay Thomas a fee or get his permission. It can be used by sporting clubs on jerseys and included in works of art (both digitally and physically).

Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed the news on Monday night and said it was the result of over two years of negotiations between the Federal Government and Thomas. I’m resisting the urge to trash him right now but this is very good news.

“Throughout the negotiations, we have sought to protect the integrity of the Aboriginal Flag, in line with Harold Thomas’ wishes,” Morrison said.

“I thank everyone involved for reaching this outcome, putting the flag in public hands.”

Thomas hopes that the deal “provides comfort to all Aboriginal people and Australians to use the Flag, unaltered, proudly and without restriction.”

“I am grateful that my art is appreciated by so many, and that it has come to represent something so powerful to so many,” he said.

“The Flag represents the timeless history of our land and our people’s time on it. It is an introspection and appreciation of who we are. It draws from the history of our ancestors, our land, and our identity and will honour these well into the future.”

“One day we will see the end of this division and the flag will remain not as a symbol of struggle but as a symbol of pride and unity,” he added.

Thomas said he plans to spend $2 million of his earnings from the deal to set up an Australian Aboriginal Flag Legacy not-for-profit. The government will also establish an annual scholarship worth $100,000 for First Nations students based on Thomas’ legacy.

“Over the last 50 years we made Harold Thomas’ artwork our own – we marched under the Aboriginal Flag, stood behind it, and flew it high as a point of pride,” Federal Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt said.

“Now that the Commonwealth holds the copyright, it belongs to everyone, and no one can take it away.”