Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Guidelines

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Careful attention and respect should be paid to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures when creating content that embody such indigenous heritage. There are a variety of ethical, moral and customary considerations that need to be well-thought-out when creating vectors and capturing content that may involve these cultures. Every community is unique and may have their own protocols to observe. These indigenous communities are the interpreters of their cultures and act as the primary guardians to regulate how their stories and culture are presented.


The following guidelines are in place to promote activities based on good faith and facilitate ethical conduct:

  • Elders may authorize or refuse use of cultural intellectual property depending on their customary rules. Consultation with the relevant cultural authorities may be required.
  • As with traditional moral rights, these communities should be provided full and proper attribution for sharing their heritage.
  • These communities reserve the right to control cultural expression and customs in how they are portrayed. Secret and sacred material is to be protected.
  • Only authentic artwork created by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artist will be accepted, and only if it meets the above requirements and is fully property released by the artist. Any illustrations and vectors that include reference to these cultures (for example, ceremonies, dance, rock art) must be original and created by you directly – not based off or in the style of any photographs, artworks or observations of these cultures. Any works that appropriate these cultures should not be submitted to Getty Images, unless all relevant approvals and permissions have been sought. Indigenous works may be collectively and traditionally owned, so further consideration should be paid to the appropriate individual to represent a clan based on genealogical descent. 
  • Misidentifying may be seen to cause great offence. Refrain from using cultural or clan references in keywording and labelling.
  • Stereotyping in a negative light is strictly prohibited.
  • Gender-specific works and those that include deceased persons may require further consultation from the relevant community.
  • When entering Aboriginal lands to capture content, a permit may be required from the relevant Land Council.
  • If any images include Indigenous Australians, the term ‘Aboriginal Person or peoples’ or ‘Torres Strait Islander Person or peoples’ is the preferred terminology.
  • Never abbreviate Aboriginal and Torres Straight Island references
  • Aboriginal and Elder should always begin with a capital letter in any keywords


These principles serve as a guide to paying careful attention and respect to these indigenous communities. Given the constantly evolving nature in this area, individual research may be needed.


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