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Bulun Bulun v R & T Textiles, [1998] ALR 157

Facts:

Importation and sale of a printed clothing fabric that infringed upon copyright. Bulun Bulun held this copyright with permission of the senior Ganalbingu people. Now, Bulun Bulun and Milpurrurru claim that as the aboriginal owners of Ganalbingu country, they are the equitable owners of the copyright in the artistic work and have beneficial interest.

Issue(s):

Do the Ganalbingu people hold copyright to an artistic work by Bulun Bulun?
** Is he a trustee?
** Is there an equitable interest arising for the whole community from this work?

Ratio:

Equity will not automatically impose a constructive trust.
** Equity will only be invoked if there is a need for a just remedy -- might be imposed to prevent the fiduciary from retaining an unconscionable benefit.

Analysis:

Relationship makes Bulun Bulun a fiduciary and trustee for the artwork, has a responsibility to protect sacred tribal knowledge. But, this does not make the copyright extend to the Ganalbingu people.

Holding:

No remedy needed: haven’t established an equitable interest. No community copyright.


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