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The Mobilization of Appropriation

Comment on the Special Section on Cultural Appropriation

Carsten Schinko

“Appropriation“ is a complex term used in many different realms, and an almost ubiquitous phenomenon. Conceptually linked to questions of mobility, appropriation has both a social and physical dimension. This essay delineates the term's employment in key political and academic discourses, and interrogates its inherent logic with regard to possession, the attribution of purpose and value, and the social reciprocity of the parties involved in the act. Starting off with questions of just distribution in modern nation-states, the argument then traces appropriation in contemporary debates on copyright in a digital age, and provides a sketch of the larger political imaginary informing acts of appropriation.

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Objects as Archives of a Disrupted Past

The Lengnangulong Sacred Stone from Vanuatu in France, Revisited

Hugo DeBlock

its ownership and kopiraet (Indigenous copyright). In previous work ( DeBlock 2017a ), I have elaborated on the request for repatriation by the Tubuvi family of Magam in North Ambrym, which is supported by the Vanuatu Cultural Center and National

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Silke von Lewinski

The possible protection of indigenous cultural expressions has reemerged as a topic in international debates in recent years. This article provides a legal perspective on the topic. Existing copyright and neighboring right laws do not apply to such cultural expressions per se, since they do not fulfill the relevant criteria of protection. However, indirect protection is granted to those who record indigenous expressions onto phonograms, films, and photographs, and for those who collect or perform indigenous cultural expressions. Protection concerning authenticity is possible by way of trademarks (in particular collective marks and certification marks) and geographical indications. Particular rules about unfair competition may protect against the disclosure of confidential information. Works based on traditional cultural expressions are regularly protected by copyright. Following early (unsuccessful) attempts for international protection of traditional cultural expressions per se, new ways are currently being developed including sui generis protection regimes which integrate customary laws and practices. Any successful solution will have to be based on better mutual interest and understanding between indigenous peoples and Western users.

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The Self of the Scientist, Material for the Artist

Emergent Distinctionsin an Interdisciplinary Collaboration

James Leach

This article analyzes ethnographic material from several art and science research collaborations that were funded under a single funding scheme in the UK between 2003 and 2006. The material illustrates the way that distinctions between aesthetic value and utility value emerged during the interactions of the participants. It outlines how conceptual positions about the contrasting value of art and of science shaped their collaborative practice. I relate key distinctions that emerged in their statements to the parallel division in intellectual property law between copyright and patent. The intention is to show how seemingly natural and given differences that inform both law and disciplinary practice are generated and regenerated in a manner that divides persons, things, and disciplines in the very practices that these categories reciprocally inform and shape.

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Keeping the recipe

Norwegian folk costumes and cultural capital

Thomas Hylland Eriksen

Enlisting culture in the service of commercial or political interests inevitably leads to a simplification and standardization of form. This article addresses the tensions between these standardizing processes and discourses of cultural authenticity, raising questions concerning copyright to cultural products and, more widely, the economics of cultural tradition. Empirically, the article is a study of the Norwegian bunad, a folk dress which exists in numerous regional varieties and carries a profound symbolic significance as a marker of regional and national identity. However, the authenticity of particular bunads or other folk costumes is often hotly contested. At the same time, entrepreneurs have begun to produce bunads in low-cost countries, thereby violating a principle considered by many as sacred, that bunads should be sewn by local women. The article reveals what is at stake for the various actors involved, and suggests some comparisons.

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Donald M. Nonini

Marilyn Strathern, in her collection of essays, Commons and Borderlands (2004: 39–40), reflects on interdisciplinary research collaboration and its products in the contemporary British university setting. She points to two opposed pressures on such research. One, seeking “undivided outcomes,” comes from those engaged in interdisciplinary research who see “an object held in common, the joint product, multi-authored, of diverse efforts.” The other comes from those determined to attribute “ownership” as a matter of “undivided origins” to an individual “owner” of the object—its presumed creator—who can be uniquely identified and appropriately awarded, often with legal intellectual property rights in the form of patents or copyrights. While the perspective of researchers connected to the former impetus is one in which several researchers see themselves as bringing their complementary knowledges to bear in an “orientation to a joint project (‘problem solving’, etc.) [which] takes precedence” (ibid.: 48n4), that of the latter requires that they parse out origins to specify how “collaboration can be unpicked to identify the individual person, or the individual team, with whom the origin rests undivided” (ibid.: 40). Both pressures are, in the case of the British academy, very recent. Calls for interdisciplinary research have been articulated over the same period of the past two decades during which new property claims have been made—by universities, by ‘society’, and by for-profit corporations—on intellectual creations in the university milieu.

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The Tortured Signifier

Satire, Censorship, and the Textual History of Troilus and Cressida

Roger Stritmatter

Why does the 1609 quarto of Troilus and Cressida exist in two states, each with a distinct title page (S1 and S2, Figure One)? Surely this textual doubling is the most conspicuous illustration of W.W. Greg’s admonition that Troilus is a ‘play of puzzles, in respect of its textual history no less than its interpretation’. Despite more than a century of speculation, contemporary criticism seems no closer to a satisfying solution. Traditionally, answers have focused on hypothetical market-driven preferences of the publishers, Richard Bonian and Henry Whalley: S1’s reference to performance at the Globe theatre is false because it was ‘unlikely that this play was ever performed to an audience at the Globe’ and the preface to S2 constitutes ‘an assurance that the play was designed for some private occasion or company’. Or the publishers supposed that having two different states of the title page would incite publicity and ‘stimulate sales’, or one publisher, for some unidentified reason, preferred one title page, and the other, another. Or ‘they decided to avoid a copyright dispute with His Majesty’s Servants by leaving them unnamed either in the title or the epistle’, or ‘they discovered after printing was under way that the play had held the stage only briefly but had attracted a sophisticated following’. No wonder that William Godshalk has recently chastised Troilus critics for substituting unverifiable speculation for sober interpretation of factual evidence, encouraging a disciplined return to a ‘facts first, then interpretation’ inquiry model.

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Stefan Nygård, Matti La Mela, and Frank Nullmeier

of Change in Copyright History Stina Teilmann-Lock, The Object of Copyright: A Conceptual History of Originals and Copies in Literature, Art and Design (London: Routledge, 2015), 152 pp. MATTI LA MELA European University Institute In The Object of

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Sheila K. Hoffman

‘Bridgeman’: Copyright, Museums, and Public Domain Works of Art .” University of Pennsylvania Law Review 155 ( 4 ): 961 – 989 . doi: 10.2307/40041330 . Anderson , Maxwell L. 1996 . “ The Byte-Sized Collections of Art Museums .” Leonardo 29 ( 3

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Mobilities and the Multinatural

A Test Case in India

Thomas Birtchnell

enlisted another type of monkey, langur monkeys to fix the problem. The langurs Figure 1 Sacred cows block the road near Lonavala (image copyright Thomas Birtchnell) Figure 2 Monkeys on a Mumbai temple site (image copyright Thomas Birtchnell