For those who don’t know, the Australian Aboriginal flag (https://i.imgur.com/sGsnLkv.png) is actually copy-righted by an individual although it is recognized as a national flag.
It was created in 1971 by an artist named Harold Thomas and went onto to become culturally accepted as the flag of the Aboriginal people. And then as above, went onto being proclaimed a national flag by the government.
Unfortunately, since then, Harold Thomas has licensed the flag to various private agencies. One of the licenses was exclusive to a clothing label, which now means that no other Aboriginal business can print clothes with the flag on it without paying royalties. (Sitting around 20%) A lot of Aboriginals feel dismay at the current situation of the licensing.
I am rather free market orientated and do respect the artists desires.
But, the situation is rather unique, I can’t seem to find any other examples in the world of a nations/cultures flag being owned by an individual.
The creator has no intention to relinquish the copyright, so movements have already sprung up.
Here is further discussion, via Andrew Burchill. Imagine in the United States if private individuals had copyrights over the flag (in general, not just particular images), the American bald eagle, the U.S. dollar, and so on.