Will Winton re-build the (name trademark) Centre?

Published: August 12, 2015

A Victorian company that sparked national outrage when it made moves to trademark the ‘Waltzing Matilda’ name appears to be toning down its plans.

WM Productions, the production company that has held the trademark rights to the song for use in entertainment and film since 1998, was reportedly seeking to expand its rights to prevent the name being used in merchandise and promotions.

However, it led to fears that the move would scupper plans to re-build Winton’s iconic Waltzing Matilda Centre, which burnt down earlier this year.

The mayor of the Queensland town, Butch Lenton, immediately appealed for common sense to prevail and for no trademark to be applied.

“We would like not to see it happen, because Winton is the home of Waltzing Matilda and also, Winton is the town that has promoted the song and Banjo Paterson since the ‘50s, and we’d be sad to see someone is doing this,” he said. “We’d like to be able to do what we wish with Waltzing Matilda. It is an important part of Queensland and Australia’s history.”

As concern grew, media outlets speculated about how future readings of Banjo’s most famous work might sound.

For example. “And he sang as he watched and waited till his billy boiled; “who’ll come a-[trademark protected], with me?”

In the face of all this, WB Promotions has now said it supports the town’s efforts to “promote the fame and status of the song” and would not seek to block the rebuilding of the museum.

“WM Productions fully understands and deeply respects the iconic nature of the song Waltzing Matilda,” said Gina Boon, from WM Productions, in a statement. “It has no intention of, or desire to, prevent the fair and reasonable use of the name by Winton Shire Council, The Waltzing Matilda Centre or any party outside the scope of its trademark rights.”

The company said it was working on a Waltzing Matilda-titled film and it was “in the context of those discussions only that WM has made a further application for the trademark”.

Winton has welcomed the statement but says it is awaiting further details about the company’s trademark rights before proceeding with plan to re-build the museum.

Meanwhile, Banjo Paterson’s great-grandson, Alistair Caird-Campbell, has said he found the case ‘distressing.

“He wrote his poems for the people and general enjoyment,” Mr Caird-Campbell told the Courier-Mail newspaper.

  • Do you think it is right that a company can trademark the ‘Waltzing Matilda’ name? Will you visit a re-built Waltzing Matilda Centre? Comment below.


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7 years ago

The town of Winton should own the trade mark

7 years ago

(name trademark) should not be expanded. Have been to the (name trademark) Centre in Winton before the fire and was impressed with what was presented. Will go back again no matter what it is called, hopefully there will not be a name change.

7 years ago

Good News …. maybe WM Productions could make a donation to the rebuild as a show of good faith, after all they stand to make $,000’s from the Trademark

John Elliott
6 years ago

I still fail to see where this company has any rights to own anything associated with Waltzing Matilda. Not sure about the movie they planned to make ten years ago.

Jim Norman
6 years ago

I think the whole Trade Marked and Intellectual Property thing has got out of hand. I can see how important it is for the author or artist or musician, but so long as their rights are protected while they are alive and for a reasonable number of years after death, most items, especially widely adopted items – “Waltzing Matilda”, ugg boots, should be freely available. If they ever make their movie “Waltzing Matilda” should be limited to supplementary information after they have given it a unique name that they CAN trade mark if they want to.

6 years ago

The Waltzing Matilda centre in Winton is unique I have visited the centre and spent much much more time there than I thought I would, it must be rebuilt for future generations to enjoy and maintain the name of the Waltzing Matilda museum, it is an Australian icon and an iconic poem written for the people by an Australian not some corporate entity.

6 years ago

Waltzing Matilda has been a song for the people for so long, we all grew up with it, it is a part of us. Nobody can take it away from us.

Faye Hunt
6 years ago

I have just spent 2 weeks assisting this small community to clean the items that were saved from the fire at Waltzing Matilda Centre. This small band of people that are dedicated to the care of the museum and the rebuild of the Centre, is committed to opening the museum in September for a few weeks to inject interest that they are up and running again. As for the rebuild, it will take time and will need a lot of thought on how to display items and keep them safe for the future. This is not done ad hoc. A lot of thought has gone into where the items have come from, what they are and what should happen in the future. I applaud the people wanting to make a go of their district and its interest in the Centre being a big tourist attraction for their town. What I do not understand, how other people who are not related to the meaning of Waltzing Matilda written by Banjo Patterson and his descendants? Where do they fit in? Why is not some else, who think they have a right to make a trade mark and not find out who is Banjo’s relatives and ask them prior to the trade mark issue. I back Winton’s efforts to accomplish this heart breaking episode in their town and hope to see the Centre up and running as it has been under the banner of Waltzing Matilda Centre regardless of who thinks they own what!


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