Can Culture Be Copyrighted?1

  title={Can Culture Be Copyrighted?1},
  author={Michael F. Brown},
  journal={Current Anthropology},
  pages={193 - 222}
  • Michael F. Brown
  • Published 1 April 1998
  • Law, Political Science
  • Current Anthropology
The digital revolution has dramatically increased the ability of individuals and corporations to appropriate and profit from the cultural knowledge of indigenous peoples, which is largely unprotected by existing intellectual property law. In response, legal scholars, anthropologists, and native activists now propose new legal regimes designed to defend indigenous cultures by radically expanding the notion of copyright. Unfortunately, these proposals are often informed by romantic assumptions… 
Arts and owners: Intellectual property law and the politics of scale in Indonesian arts
International and national agendas are redesigning the terms of intellectual-property (IP) laws to create cultural property for developing nations. Debates over IP and cultural-property “rights” or
Works in Progress: Indigenous Knowledge, Biological Diversity and Intellectual Property in a Neoliberal ERA
In a rapidly changing era of globalization, ‘cultural rights’ have been garnered new attention in international law and policy making circles. Information becomes capital through processes of
The problems of owning culture: global intellectual property law and ‘traditional’ community arts in Indonesia
In our digital age when most movies viewed at home carry Interpol warnings that copyright piracy is a crime, yet patented medicines are unaffordable for millions, ethical debates about intellectual
Māori Intellectual Property Rights and the Formation of Ethnic Boundaries
  • T. Meijl
  • Sociology
    International Journal of Cultural Property
  • 2009
Abstract This article questions and contextualizes the emergence of a discourse of intellectual property rights in Māori society. It is argued that Māori claims regarding intellectual property
The hidden demography of new media ethics
The early years of the twenty-first century have been characterized by an explosion of new ‘configurable’ cultural forms and practices, such as mashups, remixes and machinima, enabled by rapidly
Commodity Culture, Private Censorship, Branded Environments, and Global Trade Politics: Intellectual Property as a Topic of Law and Society Research
Intellectual Property has become a rich topic of interdisciplinary inquiry in the past 15 years, attracting the interest of anthropologists, communications and cultural studies scholars, economists,
Re-visualising attachment: An anthropological perspective on persons and property forms
© Cambridge University Press, 2004 and 2009. Anthropology and law share certain understandings, the roots of which can be traced to early nineteenth century romantic philosophy. This shared heritage
Who Owns Native Nature? Discourses of Rights to Land, Culture, and Knowledge in New Zealand
Abstract Michael Brown famously asked ‘Who owns native culture?’ This paper revisits that question by analyzing what happens to culture when the culturally defined boundary between it and nature
Philosophical justification and the legal accommodation of Indigenous ritual objects; an Australian study
Indigenous cultural possessions constitute a diverse global issue. This issue includes some culturally important, intangible tribal objects. This is evident in the Australian copyright cases viewed
Copyrighting Culture for the Nation? Intangible Property Nationalism and the Regional Arts of Indonesia
Abstract This article analyzes how intangible cultural expressions are re-scripted as national intellectual and cultural property in postcolonial nations such as Indonesia. The mixing of intellectual


The Invented Indian : cultural fictions and government policies
This is an explosive collection of essays, written by leading scholars of North American Indians, most of them heavily involved in service and applied work, often on behalf of Indian clients,
Beyond “Culture”: Space, Identity, and the Politics of Difference
For a subject whose central rite of passage is fieldwork, whose romance has rested on its exploration of the remote ("the most other of others" [Hannerz 1986:363]), whose critical function is seen to
Shamanism from Ecuador to Chicago: A Case Study in New Age Ritual Appropriation
This article has three objectives: (1) to give ethnographic accounts of shamanism as practised by the Shuar of Ecuador and of one group of contemporary urban Americans who take the Shuar, as well as
Marking Difference in American Commerce: Trademarks and Alterity at Century's End
Intellectual property laws constitute a political economy of mimesis in capitalist societies, constructing authors, regulating the activities of reproduction, authorizing and licensing copying and
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