Sunday, December 28, 2014

Cultural Law, a text and a cautionary tale...

Cambridge text on Cultural Law that has some interesting chapters on Indigenous Peoples, including Maori, on the basis that 'legal issues lead multiple lives.. they can be political, economic, social, historical, and cultural' (p. 1).

A New Zealand example is legislation to regulate against offensive marks in the Trade Marks Act of 2002 that prevents trade marks being registered if they are likely to be offensive to a significant section of the community, including Maori.

Of course, there is always a test case to rattle the cage. I recall an application for Tiki Wines being declined by the Maori Trade Marks Advisory Committee on the basis of this offense clause with 'TIki' being interpreted as an atua of humankind, generic to all Maori and thus protected by this legislation.

Permission was finally given when it was pointed out that 'Tiki' was a tipuna of Royce McKean and the whanau who owned and operated the vineyard, and they had the perfect right to use the name!

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Simon Lambert

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