The Brag Media
News October 27, 2015

Australia’s unofficial anthem ‘I Am Australian’ goes to court

The Copyright Tribunal will today hear a case involving Australia’s “unofficial” anthem, I Am Australian.

The case is between The Seekers member Bruce Woodley, the main writer of the 1987 song, and The Department of Immigration.

The Department produced a series of DVDs including the song, which it sent out to 565 local councils for use in Citizenship ceremonies.

Under provisions governing “Crown use” Commonwealth departments can use intellectual property rights without the authorisation of the rights owner. This is as long as the use is for the services of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory.

However, the rights owner has the right to negotiate with the Government and agree with the terms for the use and the remuneration payable to them.

In this case TMN understands that Woodley and the Department could not agree on what should have been paid for the song’s use.

Woodley penned the music and co-wrote the lyrics of I Am Australian with Dobe Newton of The Bushwackers.

The song is used at sporting, cultural and citizenship events. It has been licensed by Telstra for various ad campaigns and sponsorships. A version by Sydney pop rock band Lo-Tel was used during the telecommunication giant’s sponsorship of the 2003 Rugby World Cup. Telstra also released the version on CD and raised $100,000 for the Farmhand Foundation’s Drought Relief Appeal.

In 2008, Telstra used a rendition featuring Sydney hip hop and roots trio Botanics during the Beijing Olympics to promote its mobile coverage.

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