The Australian government has secured the copyright in the Aboriginal flag in an attempt to resolve a legal dispute over its use.
The red, black and yellow flag was designed by Harold Thomas, an indigenous artist back in 1971 as a protest symbol. The flag has since been used as a marker of identity for Indigenous Australians. Since 1995 the flag has been considered an official flag of Australia, hanging from government buildings and embraced by sports clubs, but copyright still vested in Mr Thomas.
The Australian government is said to have paid $20 million Australian dollars, that being more than £11 million, to acquire the copyright. This comes after pressure from Aboriginal groups as the artist and licence holder Mr Thomas was charging a fee to health organisations and sporting clubs for using the flag. This limited use of the flag for fear of legal penalties.
The news has been welcomed by Aboriginal Australians as the flag now belongs to the commonwealth and can be used freely just in time for the national public holiday on 26 January known as Australia Day.
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