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Shared Meals and Food Fights

Geographical Indications, Rural Development, and the Environment

Fabio Parasecoli and Aya Tasaki

The article highlights relevant issues within the global debate on geographical indications, as they relate to food products. Geographical indications, a form of intellectual property designated by considering principally the place of origin of products, have become a hot topic among producers, activists, economists, and politicians worldwide. Commercial and legal issues related to them have generated complex negotiations in international organizations and national institutions, while their cultural aspects have stimulated theoretical debates about the impact of global trade on local identities. Geographical indications could become a valid tool to implement community-based, sustainable, and quality-oriented agriculture, depending on the sociopolitical environment and whether they are relevant for the producers involved, affordable in terms of administrative and management costs, and applicable on different scales of production. The article also explores the environmental impact of geographical indications and their potential in ensuring the livelihood of rural communities in emerging economies and promoting sustainable agricultural models.

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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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Crafting the Local

GIs, Jewelry, and Transformations in Valenza, Italy

Michele F. Fontefrancesco

This article examines the effects that GI (geographic indication) brands may have on the commodity producers who employ this marketing strategy. By analyzing the case of jewelry production in Valenza, Italy, and the creation of the DV brand, it demonstrates that GIs tend to impose new forms of production over the local milieu. Although based on a rhetoric about the maintenance of traditional practices, GIs enforce a techno-scientific approach over a techne-oriented understanding on the local level. Echoing Foucault's idea of disciplinary power, GIs and their regulation bodies thus become agents of a transformation of the local community and local production practice. This case suggests that these transformations of locale, which result in tension among market standards, brand regulation, and production due to the rhetoric of 'authenticity', should be reconsidered.