Research Handbook on Contemporary Intangible Cultural Heritage
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Research Handbook on Contemporary Intangible Cultural Heritage

Law and Heritage

Edited by Charlotte Waelde, Catherine Cummings, Mathilde Pavis and Helena Enright

Bringing together key insights from expert legal and heritage academics and practitioners, this book explores the existence and safeguarding of contemporary forms of intangible cultural heritage (ICH). Providing a detailed analysis of the international legal frameworks relevant to ICH, the contributing authors then go on to challenge the pervasive view that heritage is about ‘old’ tangible objects by highlighting the existence, role and importance of contemporary forms of ICH to modern society.
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Chapter 13: ICH and safeguarding: uncovering the cultural heritage discourse of copyright

Mathilde Pavis


This chapter envisages the possibility of framing copyright as another regulatory tool alongside the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage. It turns to copyright as an alternative to the 2003 Convention which appears to be ill-suited to protect the most contemporary forms of performances for they may fail the requirement of generational transmission imposed by the international treaty. Copyright on the other hand does not and, as such, offers possibilities on this point. However, the analysis of various national copyright laws reveals that copyright may be prone to patterns of what heritage scholars call the 'authorised heritage discourse'. Nevertheless, the chapter concludes that the heritage discourse of copyright is not inherently 'authorised' and argues that its framework could be steered away from AHD through case law.

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