In this way you can use indigenous designs without incurring cultural appropriation
At least 23 national and international clothing brands illegally used the designs of indigenous communities in Oaxaca, Chiapas and Hidalgo between 2012 and 2019, accumulating 39 cases of cultural appropriation, according to an analysis carried out by the Impact organization.
In his report, he highlighted that if a company wishes to use handcrafted designs in its products it is necessary to have the authorization —in writing— of the owner, towns or communities, as specified in the Law Federal Copyright.
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Otherwise, posting and communicating or using in any way a work made by popular cultures without mentioning the community is considered a trade violation, which can be monitored through on-site investigations or class action lawsuits .
The study notes the importance of protecting indigenous designs in a timely manner, since the artisan population lives entirely from the sale of their products, which amounts to 1.1 million people, of whom 610,857 They represent the target audience of the National Fund for the Promotion of Handicrafts, according to data from the Ministry of Welfare.
In an interview, Mariza de la Mora, Legal Services consultant at ClarkeModet Mexico, comments that the law is opportune to safeguard the rights of independent artisans, since they are protected from the moment their work is embodied in a material support.
De la Mora suggests that companies have a registry of works, regardless of the automatic protection carried out in their capacity as an individual individual, a consequence of the lack of clear regulation. In this way, those works generated by artisans in their capacity as author, with which they can market their work individually, would be shielded.
He assured that with these measures a risk can be avoided in the face of any intangible asset involved, for example, an unauthorized use that could affect the reputation of the company, or its brand, in front of its consumers.
Prevention has the objective of ensuring that the investment made has positive and beneficial results, for which it is recommended to have a previous study or expert consultancy by professionals in copyright, as well as the shielding of the creative process and its promotion through a prior analysis of the specific case to determine that no affectation to third parties is incurred in advance.
Likewise, it is important to consider the need for legislation that addresses the fair balance of the identity of communities or indigenous peoples with an intercultural perspective, in which the exploitation of works can be seen clearer, while respecting the Intangible Cultural Heritage they represent.