A Heritage with No Legal System

Hamid Ghazvini
Translated by Ruhollah Golmoradi

2023-10-16


Oral history, which is conducted through targeted interviews, preserves a part of the past and transfers it to future generations, and contains important resources for researchers in various scientific disciplines. Many events and information of the contemporary era to be endured through these audio-visual files, without which, they cannot be preserved and transferred to the future. In many cases, oral history interviews have a unique position and preserving and publishing them is important in many ways; especially, since they may be the only source available from a person.

From this point of view, oral history interviews can be considered as a part of cultural heritage. In recent years, UNESCO, while paying attention to what is called the audio-visual capital of societies, has called for attention to this sector in order to strengthen increasingly the possibility of preserving resources.

Obviously, every work (here we mean oral history, not any audio and video file) when it is released in the market, it will have material and intellectual claimants.

The question is that when the product emerging from each interview moves away from individual and private aspects, and moves towards social aspects, what legal variables does it need to maintain, strengthen, and propagate itself?

Of course, in addition to technical infrastructure, this issue requires specialized laws. If oral history interviews are among the visual and auditory heritage, and help to improve the quality of people's lives, then it also needs clear and strong legal foundations.

It is not possible to expect the society to see this phenomenon as a capital and relying on cultural heritage, and at the same time, its legal aspects have not been properly explained.

Still no one knows how the material and intellectual rights of the narrator, author, and publisher are divided, and if any of them claim the production and supply process, what mechanism should be used to resolve the dispute? Who do own the awards? What are the rights of the editor and consultant, and how are the rights of the claimants divided in republishing or copying it; and to what extent can other laws be extended to this field?

In recent years, we have seen interviewees who consider all or most of the material and intellectual rights of the work to be theirs, and see the least rights for the interviewer or the oral history researcher and the publisher. While on the other side, the researcher and the publisher consider the major contribution for themselves.

In such situation, despite the presence of hundreds of people and research and publishing centers across the country, there is no professional structure or occupational system related to oral history that can solve legal and occupational disputes.

However, expanding the domain of activity and increasing the number of active people and centers in oral history hopes us, just like any other occupational group, in addition to institutionalizing scientific and specialized methods, to increase the number of good and professional works by organizing the occupational and legal system of this profession, and the works will be produced on the basis of a clear system.

In this direction, the first step will be to study the experience of other countries and ask the opinion of legal experts and oral history activists.

 

Intellectual Property and Material Property



 
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