International Trade in Indigenous Cultural Heritage
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International Trade in Indigenous Cultural Heritage

Legal and Policy Issues

Edited by Christoph Beat Graber, Karolina Kuprecht and Jessica Christine Lai

The book is unique in taking a multi-faceted approach to cultural heritage, incorporating discussion on tangible and intangible, moveable and immoveable elements of indigenous peoples’ culture. From the perspectives of several international legal fields, including trade law, intellectual property, cultural property, cultural heritage law and human rights, the book explores how indigenous peoples could be empowered to participate more actively in the trade of their cultural heritage without being compelled to renounce important traditional values. The national and local legal realities in four jurisdictions (New Zealand, Australia, United States and Canada) lay the scene for a wide-ranging analysis of various possibilities and proposals on how this might be achieved.
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Chapter 2: Indigenous self-government, cultural heritage and international trade: a sociological perspective

Duane Champagne


International agencies, such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), have given more attention in recent years to formulating international laws for regulating intellectual property rights in ways more agreeable to indigenous peoples. The newly focused attention, undoubtedly, is a product of indigenous peoples voicing their views against the non-consensual commodification of many aspects of indigenous culture. A primary goal of international laws regulating intellectual property is to increase and broaden the possibilities of international markets. While protecting rights to creative production and ownership, international bodies want to ensure that intellectual properties and cultural expressions are efficiently allocated within the global market. Appropriately rewarding cultural and intellectual creativity leads to greater productivity and increased value. International law and agencies want to encourage greater cultural expression, value, creativity and productivity. Can the market goals of international law on property rights be reconciled with indigenous views?

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