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High Country News: "Is a new copyright law a ‘colonization of knowledge’?" (feat/Interviews with Aaron Fox and Trevor Reed)

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Journalist Graham Lee Brewer (Cherokee) reports for High Country News on the potential impacts of new federal legislation affecting the copyright protections afforded to historic audio recordings ("The Music Modernization Act").  Features interviews with Prof. Aaron Fox, Director of the Center for Ethnomusicology, and Prof. Trevor Reed, (Arizona State University School of Law), who is an alumnus of Columbia's PhD program and Law School and has worked extensively with Center collections, as well as Prof. Jane Anderson (NYU, Anthropology), a friend of the Center. 

The article may be accessed here:

A key quote: 

"The problem with intellectual property law is you cast all value in monetary terms. The ethical perspective on Native American field recordings, from anthropologists at least, and from many Native American community members too, is that other kinds of values attach to these,” said Aaron A. Fox, an associate professor of ethnomusicology at Columbia University. “They’re values of sovereignty, rather than exchange value.”

Fox said that while many also see intellectual value in releasing documented history into the public realm, basic social justice requires that Indigenous communities should be allowed to decide which of their traditions are special and how their distribution should be regulated. The circumstances under which most of the recordings were taken are simply too unequal, he said.

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