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Collective Intellectual Property, Ethnicity & Indigenous Rights


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"The Mayan People of Guatemala and Their Textiles: Collective Intellectual Property, Ethnicity and Indigenous Rights"

Lecture by Dr. Gemma Celigueta, Departament d'Antropologia Social, Universitat de Barcelona


The Maya have been known from prehispanic times for the quality and beauty of their textiles which are elaborated with a variety of materials, colors and designs. Although the production of these textiles is of much economic importance, and they are one of the principal cultural expressions of the Mayan people, they are not protected by legislation.

For this reason, in 2016 a group of Maya-Kaqchikeles women from Guatemala presented legal actions to protect collective intellectual property rights over Mayan textiles. In this lecture, the strategic litigation will be analyzed to reflect on the collective authorship of indigenous textiles and the autonomy of Mayan people over their cultural expressions.