Ministry of Education and Culture, publications (11.12.2018): Needs of the Sámi people for intellectual property protection from the viewpoint of copyright and trademarks – especially with regard to duodji-handicrafts and the Sámi dresses.
The right of indigenous peoples to their own culture has been a topic of international discourse for numerous years. The issue applies to the actual possibility to maintain and develop their cultural heritage as well as to the exclusive right to determine how and who can use traditional cultural expressions.
A legal conflict concerning cultural rights can emerge, for example, when a third party uses traditional cultural expressions in a manner that offends the community’s internal rules or experience. Unpermitted use can dilute the semantic content of cultural expressions as well as their appeal and authenticity, i.e. intellectual capital, and can, thus, also prevent the implementation of human and fundamental rights related to culture.
This study aims, for its part, to map out the middle ground that falls between these collective needs and existing legal instruments. In particular, an effort has been made to examine to which extent intellectual property systems, in particular copyrights and trademarks are already used or could be used to protect the Sámi traditional culture, and, on the other hand, the extent to which the current system does not recognise the needs and special characteristics that the protection of the cultural heritage of indigenous peoples requires.
The study aims to provide information both to IP specialists on the issue of traditional cultural expressions and to indigenous peoples and local communities on intellectual property matters.