Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP)

The Australian Music Centre and APRA AMCOS support the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) - the rights of Indigenous people from around the world in making self-determined decisions regarding the definition of what Indigenous Cultural & Intellectual Property is, how it is used, when it can be used, who uses it and why it is used.


What is Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP)?

Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP) refers to the rights that Indigenous people have and want to have, to protect their cultural heritage. ICIP is a living heritage comprising of all objects, sites, stories, images, knowledge, and other content which has been, or continues to be transmitted from generation to generation by a particular Indigenous group or its territory. ICIP can also be referred to as “Cultural Heritage”. 


How should I demonstrate support, permissions and evidence of consultation for ICIP used or referenced within my works?

When Indigenous Cultural Content is from outside of one’s own cultural heritage and background, it is required that appropriate support and permissions are confirmed, obtained, and demonstrated. Supporting documentation can include:

• written agreements – cultural clearances, licence agreements, memoranda of understanding (MOUs)
• other written documents – consent provided through a letter of support, provided via email correspondence
• other media – such as an audio or video recording of oral consent

Written confirmation should be from the appropriate individuals, communities or representatives demonstrating agreements surrounding the use of Indigenous content made between all the owners of the content, and music creators. Written confirmation should include names and contact details of the owners/custodians of the Indigenous Cultural Content being used.

For works where involved Indigenous Cultural Content is not specific to a particular community or, does not involve a real-life story or depictions of culturally specific material, a written statement should demonstrate:

  • What research has been done?
  • What action/s has been undertaken to date?
  • What consultation is proposed?

Supporting evidence should include a statement of commitment that any new works created by non-Indigenous artists featuring Indigenous Cultural Content will be registered with appropriate rights attributions prior to public performance or release.

For example, a music creator may wish to compose a new work which uses culturally significant melodies and words from a particular cultural group of which the composer does not belong to. The music creator may have a relationship with the Indigenous custodians/owners of cultural content they wish to incorporate into their new work. In this case, it is important that the music creator clearly demonstrates that they have acquired permissions to create a new work or arrangement that will include elements of, or references to the Indigenous Cultural Content from the correct Cultural custodians/owners. The music creator should also explain how the custodians/owners will be accredited for their knowledge/work, and how they work with the custodians/owners to protect the work.


For more information