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Copyrighting Tradition, and the Flight of the Condor: Lecture and Film on I...

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Coventry University London Campus Room 1.04

University House

109 -117 Middlesex Street

London

E1 7JF

United Kingdom

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A talk and preview of a film by Valdimar Tr. Hafstein to celebrate the formal launch of the Enredados network.

Valdimar Tr. Hafstein is Professor in the Department of Folklore, Ethnology, and Museum Studies, University of Iceland. He is the author of a number of articles and books on intangible heritage, cultural property, international heritage politics, folklore, and copyright in traditional knowledge. He is the former president of the International Society for Ethnology and Folklore (SIEF) and former chair of the Icelandic Commission for UNESCO.

Enredados is an online network of policymakers, academics and practitioners in the fields of IP and ICH established to encourage debate on the following issues:

• the intersections between IP and ICH-related policy;

• the relationship between IP and ICH safeguarding; and

• how IP protection might be used as a tool for safeguarding ICH


Programme

Note: there are two events this evening: a talk and panel that runs from 5pm to 6.15pm (Copyrighting Tradition), and a film from 6.30 to 7.15pm (Flight of the Condor). Feel free to attend one or both.

We look forward to seeing you there.

5pm-5:05pm.

Introduction to Enredados network

5.05pm - 5:45pm

Valdimar Hafstein: Copyrighting Tradition

Should we copyright culture? How can one compose a one-hundred-year-old traditional lullaby? Who owns Cinderella? And what would the Brothers Grimm say? What is the historical provenance of such Catch-22s? While we may not resolve them in this talk, the lessons we learn from picking them apart can inform our thinking about creativity and agency in contemporary culture.

In 1844, Hans Christian Andersen accused the Brothers Grimm of stealing his tale 'The Princess and the Pea'. That Andersen elsewhere attributes this tale to oral tradition (he heard it as a child) seems not to preclude it from becoming something that others could steal from him. Bizarre?

Actually, it's not such an unusual story and the United Nations even has a special committee negotiating a new international convention that addresses such appropriations of traditional culture and traditional knowledge, in music, in medicine, and in visual and verbal art.

Beginning with the paradoxical case of a traditional lullaby that acquired a composer late in its life and 'fell into' copyright, this talk grapples with representations of creative agency - such as authorship and tradition- that are endowed with the force of law through the copyright regime. My motivation is to understand the dichotomies that shape understandings of creativity so that we will be better placed to undermine them, to liberate our imagination from their powerful hold, and to imagine creativity in alternative terms.

In a digital age, such acts of liberation and imagination are badly needed; creativity is still enclosed in categories from another era and bogged down by the weight of nineteenth-century romantic ideals about the author.

5.45 - 6.15pm

Panel discussion

6:30pm – 7:15pm

Preview Screening: The Flight of the Condor: A Letter, a Song, and a Couple of Lessons on Intangible Heritage

The film traces the global circulation of the melody “El Condor Pasa”:

from the Andes mountains to global metropoles; from Lima to Paris to New York, and back; from panpipes to piano and from symphony orchestras to the disco; from indigenous to popular music; and from world music back to national heritage. Some of the protagonists are: Paul Simon, Art Garfunkel, Daniel Alomía Robles, Alan Lomax, Los Incas, the Cerro de Pasco Copper Company, the Victor Talking Machine Corporation, the Falangist Socialist Party of Bolivia, Chuck Berry, NASA, WIPO and UNESCO.

The story that the film tells shows how individual personalities and states can shape texts that become the foundation of global narratives; and how propositions made for a particular local reason become global instruments with entirely different effects in other corners of the world.

Unpacking the global/local dialectic, the film is a case study in paradox; it analyzes the prehistory of international heritage/copyright norms, the way that prehistory travels in oral and written circulation, and the enduring problems it points to in the implementation of these norms.

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Date and Time

Location

Coventry University London Campus Room 1.04

University House

109 -117 Middlesex Street

London

E1 7JF

United Kingdom

View Map

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