Today at art school we had a lecture on the Treaty of Waitangi, which included material about Maori symbols and their appropriation by commercial entities for advertising purposes. (Some of it was amusing - like the story of the American gaming company whose super-macho male hero was modelled on Maori but had female tattoos.)
During the discussion on copyright law and I couldn't help thinking that the issues are the same for the Maori as for the OSS community. Maori have a community ownership model and they are now thinking up ways to protect their inherited symbols while avoiding being squeezed into an inappropriate legal framework ie the European/American copyright/patent/legal system.
Most New Zealand symbols (apart from sheep!) are Maori symbols and this puts pakeha (non-Maori) New Zealanders like me in the odd position of identifying with symbols that are not inherited from my own ancestors but assimilated from the Maori culture around me. I find I identify quite strongly with these symbols while not really knowing enough about their significance. Coming back here to live here has given me an opportunity to address this identity issue and going to art school had provided the means, as there is a Maori liaison unit here that deals with these issues. Today I decided to integrate these copyright/identity issues into my term project. I am not sure how yet, but knowing that I want to do this makes me feel as if I have made progress.