FRANKIE DeGROOT | Local News | Contact

In an unusual move, WAM Clothing, the non-indigenous business that owns the rights to the aboriginal flag, has sent a Cease and Desist letter to the Sun for breach of exclusive licence. 

Designed in 1971 by Harold Thomas, an Aboriginal artist, the Sun is represented by the yellow circle in the centre of the flag, whilst the red represents the red earth of central Australia and the black the Aboriginal people themselves.

Embraced by indigenous Australians, the flag was recognised as a ‘Flag of Australia’ in 1995.

In 1997 the Federal Court agreed that the flag has protection under Australian copyright law, allowing Thomas to licence the design. In 2018, the flag was licensed to WAM Clothing for use on articles of clothing, a right which has seen it issue Cease and Desist orders to several businesses, many of which were owned by Aboriginals. 

This year the AFL declined to enter into an agreement with WAM Clothing to feature the Aboriginal Flag on it’s jerseys during the Sir Doug Nicholls Indigenous Round.

Instead, spectators were encouraged to celebrate indigenous Australians by bringing their own Aboriginal flags.

A spokesperson from Gouge & Vamoose, the legal team representing WAM Clothing, said the Sun’s behaviour was outrageous and totally inexcusable.

“The Sun is flagrantly using a component of a licenced design for it’s own purposes without seeking permission or paying any form of licencing fees whatsoever” said attorney Bradley Cufflink.

“Our client has purchased exclusive use of the Aboriginal Flag design for use on clothing; however at any point any person in any clothing can walk outside and immediately have the Sun on their own clothing without paying a licencing fee to the rightful copyright owners. We are calling on the Sun to immediately cease this disgraceful behaviour and respect Australian copyright law.”

“We are also seeking justice for our client in the form of damages for the years 2018, 2019 and 2020. Furthermore, we are also applying for the Court to retroactively apply the damages for the previous 4.6 billion years since the Sun was formed.” 

Although a date in 2021 has been set for the hearing, it is hoped the Sun will not attend, due to the repercussions for life on Earth.

So far the Sun has been served 3 times, but it is unclear how successful the services were as the Process Servers were not able to be located afterwards.  

The Sun was unavailable for comment. 


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