In Praise of The Real Thing

Codes of Practice, IPR, Legislation, Policy

In Praise of The Real Thing: Some thoughts on IPR and Geographic Indications (GI)

Sethi, Dr. Ritu

Kolhapuri chappal look alikes made in rubber and sold by a large shoe chain, Ajrak hand-blocks printed on a roller machine, powerloom masquerading as a Banaras handloom, Kantha printed by silk screen, Dhokra lost wax statues made in moulds that replicate it in thousands…the stories are endless. For many copying is a profitable business. A freely available emporium of ready made goods that require no investment in product development ; goods with an ageless appeal with cultural and symbolic values that add up to a sum that is greater than its parts. The instant recognition and mass appeal of handcrafted products duplicated with mass production technologies churning out replicas at a low cost, with no fear of reprisal, makes for a win-win business model! Craft activists and craft communities no longer have the luxury of time to deal with issues of copying and faking. Faced with increasing consumerism and demand for new products cases of copying will only multiply. For craftspeople and their communities who are at the receiving end of this free-loading it has lead to not only huge economic loss, but even greater to a loss over their ancestral ‘property’ - the collective knowledge of their forefathers. This is further compounded by feelings of marginalisation and helplessness due to their inability to prevent or effectively deal with this copying and faking. We in India now have some recourse to this.
The promulgation of the Geographic Indication Act (GI) of 1999 that came ...
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