First Nations Tourism

Indigenous Cultural Intellectual Property (ICIP)

It is best practice for all parties participating in and working with the First Nations tourism industry to have a good grasp of the general legal landscape to ensure that they are operating both lawfully, as well as appropriately. In addition to recognising cultural protocols, tourism businesses need to ensure that they are entitled to undertake their operations in their place of business, are selling objects that they own, or have a valid license for, and if interacting with the natural landscape they are not causing any unlawful or lasting harm to the land or flora and fauna.

Reference - QTIC Best Practice Guide for Working with First Nations Tourism in Queensland, page 14.

Protocols for using First Nations Cultural and Intellectual Property in the Arts
This protocol guide encourages self-determination and helps build a strong and diverse Indigenous arts sector. These are key goals and priority areas of the Australia Council for the Arts.

What is Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (‘ICIP’)?

ICIP refers to all the rights that Indigenous people have, and want to have, to protect their traditional arts and culture.

ICIP is a short way of saying Australian “Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property”. Sometimes the words “Cultural Heritage” are used to mean the same thing.

The idea of ICIP is based on the principle of self-determination. ICIP is said to include the following rights:

  • Right to protect traditional knowledge and sacred cultural material
  • Right to ensure that traditional laws and customary obligations are respected, particularly when money is made from ICIP
  • Eg when a T-shirt is manufactured with a print of a traditional motif on it, the design should be one that is allowed to be used for this purpose.
  • Right to be paid for use of ICIP, particularly if it has been used in a way which is inconsistent with traditional laws or without the community’s permission
  • Eg if someone copies traditional artwork onto fabric and sells it, then the community is compensated for the illegal use of that work.
  • Right to full and proper attribution or naming of the community connected with the ICIP
  • Right to prevent insulting, offensive and misleading uses of ICIP in all media
  • Eg an artwork containing traditional knowledge is printed on underwear.
  • Eg a large painting containing traditional knowledge is cut up by a gallery to make 10 small paintings.
  • Right to control the recording of cultural customs and expressions, and language which may be essential to cultural identity, knowledge, skill and teaching about Indigenous culture
  • Eg Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island communities can place conditions on an anthropologist who wants to write a book about their languages.

What does ICIP cover?

ICIP can cover many different forms of traditional culture and expression. Some of these are:

  • writing eg a book, poetry;
  • music eg a song;
  • performances eg dance, ceremonies;
  • artistic work eg painting;
  • languages;
  • tangible cultural property eg sacred sites, burial grounds;
  • intangible cultural property eg stories passed on orally;
  • documentation of Indigenous peoples’ heritage in all forms of media eg reports, films, sound recordings.

Referenced - Arts Law

Using First Nations Protocols for Cultural and Intellectual Property in the Arts

Join Lucy Byrne with Patricia Adjei, Dr Paula Abood, Travis De Vries and Jake Smithers as they discuss the Protocols for using First Nations Cultural and Intellectual Property in the Arts. The Protocols were written by Dr Terri Janke and Company.

Referenced - Australian Council for the Arts.

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