Edited by Christoph Beat Graber and Mira Burri-Nenova
Chapter 9: The Long Tail of the Rainbow Serpent: New Technologies and the Protection and Promotion of Traditional Cultural Expressions
9. The long tail of the rainbow serpent: new technologies and the protection and promotion of traditional cultural expressions Mira Burri-Nenova* Technologies have often been seen as a peril for traditional cultural expressions (TCE) and as an inhibitor of their protection. The first reason for this angst, whose legitimacy will be one of the issues discussed in this paper, is that new technologies are viewed as the very epitome of globalisation forces – both as driving and deepening the process of globalisation itself and as a means of spreading its effects. Frequently made statements in this regard (and widely supported ones too) are that, “[t]he distinct and diverse qualities of the world’s multiple cultural communities are threatened in the face of uniformity brought on by new technologies and the globalization of culture and commerce”.1 “Increasingly, traditional knowledge, folklore, genetic material and native medical knowledge flow out of their countries unprotected by intellectual property, while works from developed countries flow in, well protected by international intellectual property agreements, backed by the threat of trade sanctions”.2 The author thanks Christoph Beat Graber for inspiring the title of this contribution. The rainbow serpent is a major mythological being for Aboriginal people across Australia, although the creation stories associated with it are best known from northern Australia. The rainbow serpent is seen as the inhabitant of permanent waterholes and is in control of life’s most precious resource, water. It is known both as a benevolent protector of its people and as a...
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