Bloomberg Law
April 11, 2022, 8:45 AM

Mexico Testing Limits of Using Law to Bar Cultural Appropriation

Kyle Jahner
Kyle Jahner
IP Reporter

Mexico’s new ban on the unauthorized use of indigenous art and design highlights questions about how far intellectual property laws can be used in a global push against exploitation of marginalized cultures.

The Federal Law for the Protection of the Cultural Heritage of Indigenous and Afro-Mexican People and Communities empowers groups to sue if someone without permission copies or imitates symbols, designs, or other elements of their heritage, “even in a degree of confusion.” It carries up to a 10-year prison term for illicitly producing or selling indigenous creations.

But as the law raises the stakes, it leaves open crucial ...

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