The challenges faced By Indigenous Peoples in achieving justice, are both complex and extensive. These issues stem from successive centuries of asserted colonial power, which consequently has resulted in the undermining of rights for many Indigenous communities, including the Australian Aboriginal Peoples and Maori Peoples of New Zealand. Systemic abuse of power has resulted in the gradual erosion of Indigenous culture, and as thus, rights of Indigenous communities, including Intellectual Property and Cultural Rights, have been neglected. As a result, a growing body of declarations, statements, and other developments both within governmental systems, as well as in the wider international justice arena have been received. However, many issues in regards to achieving justice still remain.
Existing Intellectual property rights, or lack thereof, pose significant challenges for Indigenous Peoples of Australia. This is attributed to the fact that Indigenous peoples' intellectual property rights extend to include a wide range of subject matter, beyond what is recognised within existing intellectual property laws. This notion is clearly evident from the ‘Wading into the Wandjina Controversy’ , Law Report of 2007 , in which host Damien Carrick outlines an Incident involving NSW Resident, Vanessa Tenodi, who erected a two metre high statue of Wandjina, a spiritual character sacred to the Indigenous Kimberly communities of Western Australia. Miss Tenodi commissioned this statue in a public business enterprise and did not request permission from the Indigenous community to use the spiritual figure for her project, as she claims that it wasn’t necessary because ‘it was not against the law regarding copyright’Fortnightly review of IP and Media Law, 2007).As can be deduced by this report, the current Australian legislation regarding copyright, (Copyright Act, 1968, Cwt), poses great challenges for the Indigenous Community, because of the requirements that ‘ the work must...
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