left corner left corner
China Daily Website  

Making it mine - copyright or copy wrong?

Updated: 2014-07-18 09:14
By Erik Nilsson ( China Daily)

Making it mine - copyright or copy wrong?
Iowa expat finds China connection
Making it mine - copyright or copy wrong?
Excuse me, while I check my phone
Exhibit B: India's government has gone to the mat to fight US patents of yoga moves.

It argues "yoga theft" defies the very soul of the spiritual practice. Not only does yoga belong to the cultural commons but by no stretch of the imagination are the patents based on innovation. Rather, they're based on the usurpation of something that belongs to traditional and modern Indian culture, and, arguably, to us all.

While the Happy Birthday case shows what could happen if China allows cultural heritage to be patented provincially or nationally, the yoga case reveals the dangers if it doesn't protect itself from overseas entities' patenting.

If Americans can patent yoga moves, what's to stop a foreign entity from claiming property rights over the peacock dance's hand gestures? The patterns of particular traditional Chinese opera masks? Shandong brocade? (Yuan points out the brocade genre has already led to intellectual property lawsuits among Chinese companies.)

There is room for debate about whether true innovations on intangible cultural heritage should be available for patenting - that is, provided they're really innovations upon, rather than confiscations of, heritage. Both copyright and "copy left" advocates make good points on this.

But there's less space for debate when it comes to the question of takers versus makers - those who appropriate rather than create our cultural commons.

Previous Page 1 2 3 Next Page