Saturday, May 31, 2008

Konomark and the extension of Aloha Jurisprudence

While Alitorros is up in Montreal enjoying Law and Society, I've been sweating out the move to Chapel Hill.  Now I'm in a pet friendly hotel in Chapel Hill, getting caught up on my blog reading....

Via Eric Johnson over at prawfsblawg, I've just learned about "konomark"--a pineapple inside a circle. 

It's a symbol that "that lets visitors to your website know that you are generally willing to share your copyrighted content, such as photos, educational materials, music, etc., with folks like yourself, for free. The konomark is an invitation to e-mail you and ask you for permission."

This is Eric's idea--he blogged about it last April over at prawfs, but I missed it back then.  I think this is great--and a great symbol of friendliness.  As the konomark website says,  "The Hawaiian word 'kono' means to invite, prompt, or ask in. The 'mark' part is pretty self-explanatory – the idea is to mark content that's shareable."  Makes me happy to see that a Hawaiian symbol is used to invite sharing of property--and makes me think that this is a further piece of aloha jurisprudence! (More on aloha jurisprudence here.)  I'm going to start konomarking my papers.  And maybe we'll have a similar sign for access to real property sometime soon--perhaps a palm tree in a circle?!

Alfred Brophy

May 31, 2008 in Intellectual Property | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Off to Law & Society

I'm heading to Montreal for the Law & Society Conference, which will feature a great set of property panels.  Internet access permitting, I'll try and post from there.

Ben Barros

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May 28, 2008 in Conferences | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Latest Talk about Cultural Property

Cuno_2 ... from the New York Times, discussing James Cuno's Who Owns Antiquity? Museums and the Battle Over Our Ancient Heritage, just published by Princeton University Press.  Cuno is also editor of Whose Muse? Art Museums and the Public Trust published in 2006.

The article begins by asking this question: "To what culture does the concept of “cultural property” belong? Who owns this idea?"  I'm not sure that's the most the most direct route to the bottom of "cultural history" questions, like what to do with the Elgin Marbles.  However, it opens up some interesting ground for discussion of what "cultural property" is and why (or whether) we should care about it.

The article continues:

It has, like much material property in the last 50 years, often changed hands. And in doing so, it has also changed meanings and grown in importance. It now affects the development of museums, alters the nature of international commerce and even seems to subsume traditional notions of property. ...

What was profound in the West was not the looting but attempts to end it, along with ambitions that went beyond assertions of power and possession. The desires of the greatest collectors and museums have been to preserve and to understand (leading, for example, to the decoding of the Rosetta Stone and the preservation of artifacts that would have otherwise been lost). This gave birth to what Mr. Cuno calls “encyclopedic museums,” those that encompass the world’s cultures while seeking an Enlightenment ideal of universalist understanding.

Seen in this light the very notion of cultural property is narrow and flawed. It is hardly, as Unesco asserted, “one of the basic elements of civilization.” It illuminates neither the particular culture involved nor its relationship to a current political entity. It may be useful as a metaphor, but it has been more commonly used to consolidate cultural bureaucracies and state control.

But if cultural property really did exist, the Enlightenment museum would be an example of it: an institution that evolved, almost uniquely, out of Western civilization. And the cultural property movement could be seen as a persistent attempt to undermine it. And take illicit possession.

Close readers of propertyprof will recall that we've been following these issues in a lot of different ways--from John Merryman's volume on the Elgin Marbles to Hiram Bingham's exploration of Machu Picchu (and here).  And, of course, the critical question: Who owns American folk culture?  Parker Brothers, apparently!

Alfred Brophy.

May 27, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

GELPI Report on Takings Legislation

The Georgetown Environmental Law and Policy Institute has released a report on the impact of takings legislation.  Here is a summary of the findings:

The major findings of the report are that the takings agenda has undermined community protections by forcing a roll back of existing legal rules and/or by exerting a chilling effect on new legislative activity, special interests such as developers and timber companies have been the primary beneficiaries of takings legislation, the takings laws have fomented and exacerbated neighbor-neighbor conflicts over land use issues, the takings agenda has conferred large windfalls on certain owners either in the form of taxpayer-funded awards or special exemptions from the rules that apply to the rest of the community, and the property rights agenda has undermined the democratic process.

Ben Barros

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May 27, 2008 in Takings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)