This paper envisages the possibility of framing copyright as another regulatory tool alongside the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage. The author turns to copyright as an alternative to the 2003 Convention which appears to be ill-suited to protect the most contemporary forms of performances for they may fail the requirement of generational transmission imposed by the international treaty (Article 2(1)). Copyright on the other hand does not and, as such, offers possibilities on this point. However, the analysis of various national copyright laws (UK, US, Australia and France) reveals that copyright may be prone to patterns of what heritage scholars call the ‘authorized heritage discourse which tend to prevent diversity and non-western views on heritage or cultural value. This finding corroborates the reluctance or scepticism of heritage specialists, practitioners or scholars, to engage with the discipline of law. Nevertheless, the paper concludes that the heritage discourse of copyright is not inherently ‘authorized’ and argue that judges and practitioners can, with adequate critical support, steer the framework of copyright away from AHD so that copyright can achieve its potential as complement to the 2003 Convention.
A light lunch will be provided. All are welcome.