Australia Buys Rights to Aboriginal Flag

The Australian government has acquired copyright to the Aboriginal flag, making it freely available for Aboriginal communities to use.

“We’ve freed the Aboriginal flag for Australians,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in an announcement on Monday.

“The Aboriginal Flag will now be managed in a similar manner to the Australian National Flag, where its use is free, but must be presented in a respectful and dignified way.”

The Australian government paid the flag’s creator, indigenous artist Harold Thomas, $14 million for the image’s rights and to remove licenses held by a few companies that had stirred controversy by demanding payment from organizations that used the image.

A 2020 parliamentary inquiry had described the licensing companies’ actions as “heavy-handed” but “entirely legal.”

“In reaching this agreement to resolve the copyright issues, all Australians can freely display and use the flag to celebrate Indigenous culture,” Morrison’s statement read.

The Aboriginal flag has been recognized as an official flag of Australia since 1995.

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