BITS Policy Center Workshop on Art, Copyright and Culture

SOCSARGEN Artists Tackle Indigenous Cultural Heritage in Their Works
(GENERAL SANTOS CITY – 10 March 2012) – General Santos City-based policy think tank Biodiversity, Innovation, Trade and Society (BITS) Policy Center, Inc. organizes its opening activity for 2012 entitled “The Issue of Copyright and Art, Cultural Infringement and Artist Careers: What’s At Stake” where it seeks to bring together SOCSARGEN artists to tackle how they will deal with their use of elements of indigenous cultural heritage in their works.
This issue is important considering the Philippines has around 110 indigenous cultural communities as identified by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, the body tasked to implement the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (Republic Act 8371) and also supported by the National Commission on Culture and the Arts which implements the Cultural Heritage Act (Republic Act 10066).
Artists need to continue with their ability to tap into the wealth of material from the Philippine’s rich cultural heritage, including that which is coming from the rich and diverse culture of the indigenous peoples of the Philippines, of which several communities are based in SOCSARGEN especially the B’laan, T’boli, among others. So that the artists may be aware of their rights as creators or originators of creative works under Philippine law, they will be listen to a presentation on Intellectual Property Right and Copyright in the Philippine context followed by a sharing session of their current concerns as regards their intellectual creations.
It is expected that artists get a sense of the scope of their rights and corresponding obligations towards indigenous peoples especially when they deal with elements of indigenous cultural heritage in their creative undertakings. To aid them in this endeavor, they will also look at a DRAFT GENERAL GUIDELINES ON FESTIVALS USING ELEMENTS OF TRADITIONAL CULTURAL EXPRESSIONS developed back in October 2010 by a workshop organized by Tebtebba Foundation and Third World Network with workshop participants composed of indigenous leaders and workers from Mindanao and Baguio City. Considering that SOCSARGEN artists have recently dealt with this matter with the recently-concluded Kalilangan Festival, it is hoped that they may decide either to adopt or modify the said GUIDELINES taking into account their particular context.
Later in the day, participants will hear a presentation on Arts, Culture and Copyright: What’s at Stake, where current global realities are taken up, coupled with illustrative cases on the clash between the assertion by indigenous communities of their rights and the various competing interests that involve elements of their culture. It is hoped the discussion will help clarify the concerns of the artists and indigenous peoples, including the various solutions to the creative interplay between these concerns. To this end, as we proceed to the second part of the Workshop in the coming weeks, participants will consider the formulation of an Artists’ Checklist on the Use of Indigenous Cultural Heritage and the Artists’ Template, a standard form-contract that ensures the consideration of the artists’ rights on these creations respectful of indigenous community concerns.

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