Posted to the Ethnos Project by on November 28th, 2012

From the Mukurtu website: Mukurtu CMS (mentioned before on this site) makes it possible for you to share your digital cultural heritage using a set of innovative traditional knowledge licenses and labels specifically designed for the unique needs of Indigenous cultural materials. Mukurtu CMS provides several TK license options for Indigenous creators, custodians and beneficiaries to manage their community-owned and generated cultural content with third-parties and external-community users. The TK labels recognize and have been designed for the large amounts of Indigenous materials that are in the public domain. The TK Labels provide additional or missing information and help users make an informed decision about the best and most appropriate way of using this material. Traditional knowledge licenses and labels ask all new users of this special material to respect Indigenous protocols and to gather, create, and share responsibly and respectfully. [source]

From the Mukurtu documentation wiki: Traditional Knowledge licenses and fair-use labels recognize that Indigenous communities have different access and use expectations in regards to their knowledge and cultural expressions. These different expectations of access and use depend heavily on the material itself and the local context from which it derives. These licenses and labels help identify this material and establish culturally appropriate forms of managing access. In particular they are designed to identify and clarify which material has community-specific, gendered and high-level restrictions. This is especially with regards to the circulation of sacred and/or ceremonial material. Additionally, these licenses and labels can be used to recognize that use of specific material might require special permission and appropriate acknowledgement of the source community. The licenses and labels are designed to help clarify local knowledge management systems and cultural protocols to external and/or non-community users. They are not designed for internal community use.

The licenses do not change already existing rights and responsibilities of copyright owners and copyright users. These licenses are additional agreements that acknowledge that with some material, special rules governing access and use of that material also exist. It asks all parties to be sensitive to the Indigenous customs and laws that govern this material, and that some material in the archive or digitally circulating is sensitive, has restrictions and is not free to be used by anyone at any time.

The Labels are designed for material that is already considered to be in the public domain and is no longer protected by copyright. The labels are suited for older material or when ownership is not clear. The labels are an option for conveying important information about the material. They can be used to include information that might be considered ‘missing’, for instance name of community from where it derives, what conditions of use are deemed appropriate, how to contact the relevant community to arrange appropriate permissions etc. The labels help users identify sensitive cultural material and therefore also help users in making informed decisions about how this material should be used and in what ways. The labels are designed to promote the fair and equitable use of expressions of traditional knowledge.

It is important to note that you cannot change already existing copyrights with these licenses and labels. But you can use them to add new conditions of use and/or to help educate people in how your material should be respectfully and ethically treated according to your local community expectations and obligations.

Before you decide on a license or a label for your materials you should:

  • Identify the nature of the material in the archive (text, photos, audiovisual, sound etc). This is because different copyright rules and considerations apply to each type of material;
  • Determine what rights exist in those specific materials? Once you have determined what rights exist you will be able to determine what system governs use and circulation. There are two main options: conventional IP rights (such as copyright) and rights under customary law;
  • Determine who owns those rights? This might include the author of the works. Conventional copyright rights may or may not vest in the communities themselves. They will often vest in the party who physically made the recordings that are in the archive, and these rights should be assigned to the communities so they can manage them. Rights under customary law belong to the communities but unfortunately they do not bind third parties. You will want to identify whether it is an individual or collective right.
  • The TK licenses below set guidelines for how people can and can’t use your materials outside your community. Choosing these helps people understand the different questions of access and use that your community might have and asks them to agree to use, remix, circulate and distribute the material according to your local cultural protocols.

The content of this post is used as is from the Mukurtu website (with thanks) under Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported.

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