In this episode of Done by Law, Ingrid and Marissa talk about Indigenous stories, and who owns them. They are joined by Tony Briggs, a Yorta Yorta/Wurundjeri (Woiwurrung) theatre & film practitioner, who is the creator and writer of feature film ‘The Sapphires’, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2012. ‘The Sapphires’ is Tony’s family’s story, and in this episode, he shares his experience of telling his story on screen and stage. Tony speaks passionately about the importance of Indigenous stories being told by the owners of those stories, not only as a matter of authentic story-telling, but also as a matter of human rights. As Tony says, regardless of the questions that are raised around the law, ‘Aboriginal people own Aboriginal stories’.
Marissa and Ingrid are also joined by Robyn Ayres, Chief Executive Officer of the Arts Law Centre of Australia. Arts Law founded Artists in the Black under Robyn’s leadership, a service of Arts Law that is dedicated to providing legal assistance and advice to Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and communities. Robyn gives an interesting and engaging overview of Intellectual Property laws – ‘property of the mind’ – and the ways which mainstream intellectual property laws can be a poor form of protection for Indigenous stories and other art forms. Robyn talks about the concept of Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property, communal ownership, and the ways Indigenous people may seek to characterise ownership of art and stories outside of mainstream IP laws.