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First Languages Australia and partner organisation are developing a range of legal tools and resources to support language work. 

First Languages, Law & Governance Guide

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups and communities hold significant collections of a variety of language resources and are using digital technology in innovative and culturally sensitive ways to maintain these collections. Communities are also working to create new language resources to teach their languages to their community. This guide is written for Indigenous languages cntres and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people working in the language sector to assist them in managing the legal and governance challenges of working on Indigenous language projects. It’s is intended to provide language workers and language centre managers with an overview of the legal issues they need to consider, and the resources available, to assist them in the development of language projects and to continue learning, teaching and speaking their languages with strength and pride.

Legal issues for Language Centres Info Sheet

Arts Law has developed an information sheet to advise Indigenous language centres and programs on the following topics:

  1. Joint Authorship
  2. Dictionaries
  3. Storyteller’s Rights and ICIP
  4. What happens when a language centre closes down?
  5. Orphan Works
  6. Libraries and archives
  7. Education

Arts Law has worked with First Languages Australia to develop best practice template agreements for language centres to use in contracting with contributors, communities and purchasers to ensure they are relevant to language programs nationally.  The following three template contracts have been publish. If your langauge centre has not yet downloaded the below templates, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. at Arts Law for your access code.

Template Copyright Licence Contract – Language Resource

The template Copyright Licence – Language Resource (Licence) is to be used when an Indigenous language centre wishes to licence the use of a language resource to a third party as part of an Indigenous language program run by the language centre.

Template Commission Agreement – Language Resource

The template Commission Agreement – Language Resource (Agreement) is to be used when a person or organisation (Commissioner) wishes to commission an Indigenous language centre to develop a language resource. The Resource may be used ‘as is’ or may be used in the production of new material, produced by or for the Commissioner.

Template Copyright Licence between Language Centre and Creator

The template Copyright Licence Between Language Centre and Creator– Language Resource (Licence) is to be used when an Indigenous language centre and an author, artist or other creator agree to the development of a resource as part of an Indigenous language program  run by the language centre. The artist/author/creator will contribute to the Program by creating drawings or writing stories or other materials  to be included in Program Resources.

Additional resources

Arts Law YouTube Channel
Arts Law Podcast series
Terri Janke resources and workshops