Intellectual Property, Traditional Knowledge and Cultural Property Protection
Cultural Signifiers in the Carribbean and the Americas
To Be Published December 1st 2013 by Routledge – 256 pages
International developments since the mid-1990s have signalled an awareness of the importance and validity of traditional knowledge and cultural property. These include the adoption of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the establishing of the WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore. These measures illustrate an emerging trend towards the recognition of the rights of communities, and the influence of culture in shaping international law and policy.
This book examines how those developments to protect collectively held knowledge typically associated with Indigenous Peoples, transpose to the cultural and social circumstances within which selected cultural signifiers developed in communities which may not necessarily be characterised as "Indigenous" or even "traditional". The book considers case studies such as the steel pan of Trinidad and Tobago, punta rock music from Belize, Brazilian capoeira, and the cajón, a musical instrument, of Peru. The impact of past and recent international developments to protect traditional knowledge are explored and the book addresses a gap in the international discourse by proposing that there is a category of cultural signifiers which lies outside the scope of intellectual property protection, as well as the protection proposed for traditional knowledge and advocated for intangible cultural property. The book proposes a reinterpretation of Joseph Raz’s interest theory of group rights in order to accommodate the rights advocated for collectively derived cultural signifiers. In doing so Sharon B. Le Gall offers an original account of how contemporary intellectual property rights regimes could be adapted to suit traditional knowledge.
1. Introduction 2. Popular/Traditional Cultural Signifiers in the Caribbean and the Americas 3. Protecting Cultural Signifiers as Intellectual Property 4. Protecting Cultural Signifiers Within the Emerging Traditional Knowledge Regime 5. Protecting Cultural Signifiers as Intangible Cultural Heritage 6. Group Rights to Cultural Signifiers – A Theoretical Framework 7. Conclusion
Sharon B. Le Gall is a lecturer at the University of West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago.