Copyright/Fair Use

UNESCO Convention on Cultural Diversity: CRIS Statement/ UNESCO Convention sur la diversité culturelle: Communiqué CRIS

The campaign for Communication Rights in the Information Society (CRIS: welcomes UNESCO's near-unanimous approval of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of Cultural Contents and Artistic Expressions. The Convention is a clear demonstration that governments recognize that culture cannot be reduced to a mere commodity. By endorsing the Convention, governments have shown that they are prepared to take positive steps to support cultural diversity in the age of global cultural industries.

Report by Garry Neil (INCD) on final round of UNESCO negotiations, 25 May - 5 June 2005

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We are only half way through the third and final meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts which is considering the terms of a Convention on cultural diversity. However, the rhythm of the meeting is well established and it is now possible to contemplate the broad parameters of the final outcome, with only a couple of elements remaining under consideration. The meeting may conclude ahead of schedule [...]

UNESCO convention on cultural diversity: key documents (Eng-PreliminaryDraftConv-conf201-2.pdf by UNESCO)


Government delegates from over 180 countries approved the final text of the Convention on Cultural Diversity (CCD) at the UNESCO General Assembly in the fall of 2005. The CCD (formally known as the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Contents and Artistic Expressions) is meant to be an international legal agreement to implement the principle that culture cannot be reduced to a commodity. Concretely, it is meant to allow each country to exclude its cultural policies, including 'audiovisual services' - otherwise known as media - from 'free trade' deals like the WTO.

During the negotiations, progressive NGO networks like the International Network on Cultural Diversity and the campaign for Communication Rights in the Information Society called for broad civil society support for the CCD, but warned that it should not be subordinated to the WTO and should be written to support cultural and media diversity inside countries, not only between them. In addition, they had a good deal of success in lobbying for the elimination of language supporting the current extremist copyright regime, although they failed to insert references to the importance of the public domain, fair use, and the creative commons.

Now that the CCD has been approved by UNESCO, the next step is ratification by each member country.

Key Documents:

  • Final Text of the convention. [en | fr]
  • Comments by the CRIS campaign [
    en | es | fr]
  • Comments by the INCD [word]
  • UNESCO overview of the Convention process
  • Daily reports from the II session of the intergovernmental meeting [Day: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 8 | 9 | 10| 11| 12 ]
  • US government: April 15 Briefing by the US State Department on their view of the UNESCO convention [download .rtf]
  • Reports from the III (final) session of the intergovernmental meeting: UNESCO report | INCD
  • US State Department public briefing on the UNESCO Convention on Cultural Diversity (US State Dept UNESCO briefing.rtf by Sasha Costanza-Chock and Frannie Wellings)

    Friday, April 15. The briefers were Jane Cowley, Foreign Affairs Officer, U.S. Department of State with Dana Gioia, Chairman, National Endowment for the Arts and Robert Martin, Director, Institute of Museum and Library Services, who were leaders of the negotiating delegation. The briefing took place at The Old Post Office Building, in the President's Council on Arts and Humanities room (Room 520), 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC.

    CRIS+ Statement regarding Intellectual Property Provisions in the draft Convention

    Submitted by Sasha Costanza-Chock on February 9, 2005.Copyright/Fair Use | Radio

    To UNESCO Delegates: The undersigned support the spirit of the UNESCO draft convention on cultural diversity and are encouraged by the efforts of the delegates in their inter-governmental meeting in Paris, January- February 2005. However, we are deeply concerned that the current draft mentions the need to protect or even strengthen intellectual property more than 16 times, while failing entirely to mention the need to protect access to knowledge, the public domain, and the cultural commons. If this imbalance is not corrected, the proposed Convention would represent a serious departure from both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity.

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