PROCESS POST: Content + Copyright

Week 8: November 1 - 8

Progress On My Site

Last week we completed peer reviews on the design of our websites. So this week, I began implementing some of my peer review partner’s suggestions, such as changing the photo in my about section and making sure all the headings were formatted correctly, and the hierarchy made sense. 


Copyright & TikTok

Thompson (2022), in his article “Is the Internet Changing How We Talk About Slang Words? “briefly discusses how AAVE (African American Vernacular English) is being copied/exploited by non-African American creators on social media. As Thompson (2022) states, “And while the exploitation of AAVE isn’t anything new, it’s clear the process has evolved. As m’Cheaux points out, one of TikTok’s defining features is the ease with which creators can copy one another”. However, the issue is not so much that non-white people are using AAVE; it is more that they are not properly crediting it as such and rather calling it simply ‘internet slang.’ As Thompson (2022) states, “TikTok can be a positive force, as the app has the power to normalize terms that white culture has historically ostracized. However, this benefit can only come if creators are willing to give proper credit.” 


Indigenous Cultural Works & Copyright

Furthermore, in the lecture Norman (2022) discussed how there have been issues surrounding the copyrights of indigenous cultural works. This is because sometimes “Ownership of IP can contrast with Indigenous meanings of ownership of Indigenous knowledge and cultural expressions.” For example, knowledge is passed down orally in many indigenous communities, and there is no definable date of origin. Therefore, this lack of protection has led to some non-indigenous people copying traditional indigenous work and selling it for a profitO


A few people in traditional attire.

Copyright & The Wellness Industry

Similar issues are also present within the wellness industry. In the article “The Wellness Industry Has a Cultural Appropriation Problem – & It’s Not Alone” Zaman (2022) mentions how many non-western practices, medicine, and traditions have been copied and commodified by many western companies. For example, in the 90s, some American researchers tried to patent “the use of turmeric for wound healing” despite being a commonly used staple in South Asian cultures for wound healing and general health benefit for centuries. However, “India’s Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) challenged the patent, on the grounds that the researchers were attempting to personally capitalise off traditional cultural knowledge, and therefore didn’t fulfil the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s requirement for novelty or inventiveness. The year-long legal battle cost the CSIR $15,000 (£10,870), but they won, and the patent was revoked in 1997.”

In “Unpacking Cultural Appropriation in the Wellness Industry”, Dréau (2022) also discusses how Yoga, an Indian spiritual practice created thousands of years ago, has been copied and monetized by many western individuals. In conclusion, I think my main takeaway is that it is ok to participate in certain cultural practices, but if that culture is not native to you, you should not try to monetize or copyright it in any way. In other words, it is ok for me to drink a turmeric latte or practise Yoga, but it would be wrong to sell turmeric latte tea on my site and protect the recipe under copyright law. 


Dréau, A. (2022, August 8). Unpacking Cultural Appropriation in the Wellness Industry. Sustain The Mag.  


Zaman, A. (2021, September 17). The Wellness Industry Has A Cultural Appropriation Problem — & It’s Not Alone. Refinery 29.  


Thorpe, M. (2020, October 27). 12 Science-Based Benefits of Meditation. Healthline. 


Norman, S. (2022). Week 8: Content + Copyright (November 1) [PowerPoint slides]. 


Thompson, D. (2022, May 16) Is the Internet Changing How We Talk About Slang Words? In The Know by BBC.   


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