Copyright Being Used To Stifle Attempts To Preserve A Dying Language


from the locking-up-language dept

One of deep-seated challenges with copyright is that its supporters believe that every thing produced should really be “owned” by someone and shielded from currently being “stolen” by other individuals. We have previously composed about how that’s a negative in good shape for composing songs, and NBC News has a fascinating story about how the same concern is plaguing a quite distinct planet – that of indigenous languages (pointed out by D. J. Mary on Twitter). It worries the Lakota language, a single of a lot of indigenous American languages that are at possibility of extinction for the reason that so couple of individuals converse them fluently. In current a long time, there have been escalating efforts to produce language resources from the surviving speakers, to reduce the language and its culture currently being lost, and to develop understanding resources. The prolonged and intriguing article discusses the aspects of the dispute between the Lakota Language Consortium and some Lakota language speakers, like Ray Taken Alive:

The Lakota Language Consortium experienced promised to preserve the tribe’s indigenous language and had expended yrs gathering recordings of elders, like Taken Alive’s grandmother, to generate a new, standardized Lakota dictionary and textbooks.

But when Taken Alive, 35, asked for copies, he was stunned to find out that the consortium, run by a white man, had copyrighted the language supplies, which were being centered on generations of Lakota tradition. The traditional expertise collected from the tribe was now currently being marketed back again to it in the kind of textbooks.

The story touches on many crucial troubles concerning cultural appropriation. But 1 of the critical difficulties is that products recorded and created down from native speakers are automatically covered by copyright, and that suggests people can argue over who owns them.

A widespread trait of Indigenous American cultures is to maintain issues like land, methods and understanding communally. That operates into conflict with U.S. copyright legislation, which allow for organizations and nonprofit businesses to commoditize their do the job merchandise — like pieces of a shared language.

That’s an issue not just for the Lakota tribe, but a lot of others, both in the North The us and further more afield. It is ironic that laudable endeavors to preserve lifestyle and heritage for humanity can end up in these variety of lawful squabbles around ownership – all many thanks to copyright.

Initially posted to the Walled Lifestyle site.

Submitted Underneath: copyright, lakota, language


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