Intellectual Property and the Safeguarding of Traditional Cultures: Legal Issues and Practical Options for Museums, Libraries and Archives

15 December 2010, Switzerland

Museums, libraries and archives carry collections of photographs, sound-recordings, films and manuscripts that document indigenous peoples’ and traditional communities’ lives, cultural expressions and knowledge systems. A new awareness has emerged of indigenous peoples’ and traditional communities’ interests in owning, controlling and accessing this documentation.

Importantly, this has led to recognition that the management of access and use of collections raises a number of challenges for museums, libraries and archives. Often these challenges arise from the complex social, historical, cultural, legal and political conditions informing the collections of such institutions.