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Fiona Macmillan

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Fiona Macmillan

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Fiona Macmillan

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Fiona Macmillan

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Fiona Macmillan

Critical engagement with copyright law has exposed its uncertain and compromised relationship with a range of concepts that inform its justificatory discourse. This engagement addresses, in varying ways and degrees, the mismatch between concepts and conditions of creativity and cultural production, on the one hand, and their mutant second life according to copyright law, on the other. The emergence of a literature on the political economy of copyright, in particular, has exposed the way in which the romantic discourse of copyright has been corrupted by its engagement with the capitalist system. At the same time and running parallel to these debates, copyright as a legal construct has been appropriated into substantial engagements with other legal constructs and regimes. This engagement, precisely because it calls – in often contradictory ways – on particular aspects of the copyright legal regime, provides fertile empirical ground on which to reflect on the debates over the meaning of copyright’s life and work. In the light of the critical literature on the copyright concept, this contribution considers the relationship of the copyright regime with the regimes of international trade, cultural rights and cultural heritage.

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Fiona Macmillan

Until the twenty-first century, the distinction between tangible and intangible heritage appears to have given very little trouble to the ICOMOS-UNESCO heritage discourse. Its focus on the tangible, fixed or moveable, denominated as heritage by reference to a set of intangible values, provided a neat way of dealing with the tangible/intangible distinction, without losing the overwhelming occidental focus on the tangible heritage object. The 2003 UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage changed all this, but also created new uncertainties about the nature of intangible cultural heritage and the best way of protecting it. These uncertainties are particularly acute in relation to intangible cultural heritage as a contemporary phenomenon, which not only presents an intrinsic challenge to the ICOMOS-UNESCO heritage discourse but also seems particularly likely to have some overlap with the type of cultural creativity that is subject to the competing protection of the intellectual property regime.

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Fiona Macmillan

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Fiona Macmillan