SECURING CULTURAL INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS FOR THE OMA COMMUNITY OF LAOS 

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In April 2019 the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre in Laos (TAEC LAOS) discovered that the Italian fashion company Max Mara had plagiarised traditional Oma designs. They have been working with and supporting the Oma Community of Laos gain the rightful recognition of their custodianship of the designs appropriated by MaxMara without the consent of the Community and without compensation.

A media campaign was launched by TAEC (#MaxOma), but the company refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing.

In May 2019 TAEC LAOS became a member of the Cultural Intellectual Property Rights Initiative™ and since then, TAEC has partnered with the Cultural Intellectual Property Rights Initiative™ and have been awarded a Voice Sudden Opportunity Grant to support the Oma in documenting their traditional motifs and to raise awareness among other artisan groups, creating educational videos, and developing a model to defend cultural intellectual property rights. 

Oma Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Cultural Expressions are gathered in the Oma  Traditional Textile Designs Digital Library. 

The Digital Library is designed on the Framework of the 3Cs' Rule, an extra-legal tool developed by The Cultural Intellectual Property Rights Initiative™.  

The 3Cs stand for: Consent, Credit and Compensation.

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The goal of this collaborative work is to ensure the Oma Community of Laos has control of their heritage, is part of discussions and negotiations, is credited for their textile designs, and can benefit from the use of their designs. 

The work with the Oma Community of Laos is guided by the following principles: 

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FREE PRIOR INFORMED CONSENT

INVOLVEMENT IN DECISION MAKING 

Acknowledgement

 AND DIGNITY

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PHOTO: THE OMA OF LAOS AND TAEC LAOS AT THE LAO HANDICRAFT FESTIVAL 2020. PHOTO CREDITS: TAEC LAOS

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PHOTO: REPRESENTATIVES OF THE OMA OF LAOS AT THE LAO HANDICRAFT FESTIVAL 2020

PHOTO CREDITS: TAEC LAOS

IN THE PRESS