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AMC First Nations Cultural Policy for Represented Artists

Australian Music Centre First Nations Cultural Policy for Represented Artists

The Australian Music Centre First Nations Cultural Policy for Represented Artists aims to provide safeguards for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' cultural intellectual property rights in Australian music.

The Policy acts as a guide for music creators to appropriately acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people's cultural intellectual property (ICIP) rights, languages, and knowledges used in all works. The document serves to protect cultural intellectual property where many such rights exist outside the scope of Australian and international copyright laws.

The policy will guide how musical works incorporating First Nations cultural intellectual property will be documented and archived within the AMC collection. Requisites for documentation of such works in the AMC collection will include: permissions from the representative authorities where possible; written acknowledgement of sources; cultural sensitivity statements; and appropriate use of terminology. The policy will be activated from 1 June 2023 for all musical works catalogued with the AMC, with specialist support offered to music creators and composers whose existing works may include First Nations cultural intellectual property.

Read more about the development of the Policy

Download the AMC First Nations Cultural Policy for Represented Artists


What are the next steps for this work?

This policy will come into effect on 1 June 2023. We will be reviewing affected works in our collection in retrospect, and all new works submitted by AMC represented artists will need to adhere to the policy.

What will happen about the archival material of musicologists and deceased composers?

We will be looking at works on a case by case basis. We will be considering everything with consultation from industry experts, and we do not aim to censor works. Some may be given new cultural sensitivity notices acknowledging that they were composed during a period of Australian history that did not value our First Nations culture; some works may potentially be removed.

We will keep abreast of ongoing research and international industry discussions to best inform our decisions.

In the case of a well-known story or motif that has made it into the wider cultural landscape (such as the bunyip) do composers simply acknowledge all of the sources that they have researched and include a cultural acknowledgement or do we need to show a good faith effort that goes further?

Although some ideas have entered the public domain, the Dreamtime is still composed of Aboriginal creation stories, a spiritual reality and tradition. We suggest to treat all First Nations cultural intellectual property with respect and proceed with seeking permission from a representative authority where possible.

How does the AMC determine what is appropriate?

We will look for program notes, indications of source authors, royalty splits - anything the represented artist may have indicated to us of using ICIP and their attempts at acknowledging their sources.