Sunday, June 4, 2017

IP and appropriation of crafts


This is the kind of cultural appropriation that gets my back up. The sheer impossibility of enforcing any semblance of an IP claim when traditional crafts - learned, produced, marketed and transmitted within communal frameworks - are appropriated by giant MNCs is far more of a substantial concern than any of the other gimmicks that provoke debates around cultural appropriation. These products are sold by craftsmen as merchandise in their own geographically delimited markets, so it's really a question of MNCs taking advantage of their lack of market access and capitalising on (or 'stealing') their designs. But the legal or even philosophical dilemma here is, how can one address issues of ownership, proper attribution, etc, when no proper framework exists for the recognition of 'IP' (which is invariably a nebulous concept when one is talking about traditional crafts)? At the very least I think MNCs should be compelled by existing IP laws to use the proper names of the products they're marketing. Correct attribution doesn't compensate for lack of compensation but at least it's something. 

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