A case study on Bulun Bulun Case

by Nikhil Issar

  1. Introduction

The Bulun Bulun Case in the words of Justice Von Doussa represent another step by Aboriginal people to have communal title in their traditional ritual knowledge.[1]

The previous T -Shirts case[2]and the Ten Dollar Note case[3] had established that traditional Aboriginal artwork constituted ‘original’ works for under the Australian Copyright Actand therefore they deserved protection against a breach of copyright. The issue at hand in the Bulun Bulun case involved notions of communal ownership of the material embodied in the artistic work as the artistic work had been derived from the common heritage of the Ganalbingu clan.

  1. Facts

The bark painting Magpie Geese and Water Lilies at the Waterhole created by Mr. John Bulun Bulun was created in inspiration of and in accordance with the traditional customs of the Ganalbingu people and had been blessed with the necessary consent of Ganalbingu elders.

The painting had been reproduced in a fabric print and imported into Australia, thus necessitating a copyright infringement action. Continue reading A case study on Bulun Bulun Case