Legal and Policy Issues
Edited by Christoph Beat Graber, Karolina Kuprecht and Jessica Christine Lai
Chapter 2: Indigenous self-government, cultural heritage and international trade: a sociological perspective
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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