The legacy of David Unaipon

Rimmer, Matthew (2015) The legacy of David Unaipon. In Rimmer, Matthew (Ed.) Indigenous Intellectual Property: A Handbook of Contemporary Research. Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham (UK) and Northampton (Mass.), xxi-xxvii.

View at publisher


The historical case of David Unaipon is a good starting point for a wider discussion of Indigenous intellectual property law, practice and reform. His story is a microcosm of larger battles over the cultural appropriation of Indigenous culture, iconography and science. David Unaipon could be seen as a beneficiary of intellectual property law. He is a creator of copyright works; an inventor of patented inventions; and an iconic figure, worthy of personality rights. His creative and scientific work has been an inspiration for others. David Unaipon could also be seen as being disenfranchised by intellectual property law. He lost ownership of his economic rights in respect of literary works; and his moral rights have not been respected under copyright law. His case also highlights the deficiencies of copyright law in respect of its failure to provide comprehensive recognition of communal authorship and ownership of copyright works. While he was a patent applicant, David Unaipon never seemed to have benefitted from the patent system. His experience raises questions about access to justice. The government and commercial use of the persona of David Unaipon raises complex questions about trade mark law, passing off and personality rights. The story of David Unaipon highlights the need for the systematic and holistic reformation of intellectual property law, so that it better serves Indigenous communities and peoples.

Impact and interest:

Search Google Scholar™

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

ID Code: 85275
Item Type: Book Chapter
Keywords: Indigenous Intellectual Property, Copyright Law, Patent Law, Trademark Law, Personality Rights, Intellectual Property and Innovation Law Research Group
ISBN: 9781781955895
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100) > Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Law (180101)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100) > Intellectual Property Law (180115)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Schools > School of Law
Deposited On: 20 Jul 2015 03:48
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2016 05:51

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page