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Can a Tribe Sue for Copyright? The Maasai Want Royalties for Use of Their Name

“According to Ron Layton, a New Zealander who specializes in advising developing world organizations on copyrights, patents, and trademarks, about 10,000 companies around the world use the Maasai name, selling everything from auto parts to hats to legal services.

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Most of the value of the Maasai brand is not in the handicrafts the tribe produces,” Layton says. “It’s in the cultural value of an iconic brand.

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And yet, as a people, they have benefited little from the visitors. They see their images on billboards and their beadwork in gift shops, but they are underrepresented in the industry’s craft markets and other trades. They see tourists take their pictures and imagine them sold for riches abroad.”

Read the Bloomberg Businessweek: Global Economics article in its entirety.

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