The Exploitation of Indigenous Communities by Commercial Actors: Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Cultural Expression

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  • Desak Putu Dewi Kasih Universitas Udayana
  • Ni Ketut Supasti Dharmawan Universitas Udayana
  • Ida Bagus Wyasa Putra Universitas Udayana
  • Kadek Agus Sudiarawan Universitas Udayana
  • Ayu Suci Rakhima Universitas Udayana



international copy right law, traditional cultural expression, Traditional Knowledge, underprivileged community.


The protection of traditional knowledge (TK) and traditional cultural expression (TCE) of underprivileged indigenous communities is threatened due to frequent exploitation attempts by commercial actors for economic benefits. The literature highlighting the legal gaps and necessities to support such legal reforms to protect those communities are scarce in the literature, which has been studied in the current research. The current study aims to provide insightful recommendations for policymakers to help protect the legal rights of underprivileged communities scattered in various parts of the world. Indonesian study setting provided a perfect case to achieve the study objectives. Using a qualitative doctrinal legal research design, the secondary data were collected, and content was analyzed using phenomenological and linguistic analysis. The results revealed that the protection of TK and TCE in Indonesia and several underprivileged communities in various countries need serious legal amendments in local legislation considering international laws.  Contextually, the Indonesian Copyright Law is inadequate to accommodate the full protection for TCE. Meanwhile, Indonesian laws that regulate traditional knowledge are overlapping and immature to protect national cultural heritage comprehensively. A new regulation is recommended to ensure that all international legal instruments related to traditional knowledge should help the community of traditional knowledge copyrights in Indonesia with affirmative action towards indigenous communities. Policy recommendations and future research directions are suggested to protect Traditional Cultural Expression and Traditional Knowledge of underprivileged communities in general and Indonesia in focus.


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Author Biographies

Desak Putu Dewi Kasih, Universitas Udayana

Department of Law

Ni Ketut Supasti Dharmawan, Universitas Udayana

Department of Law

Ida Bagus Wyasa Putra, Universitas Udayana

Department of Law

Kadek Agus Sudiarawan, Universitas Udayana

Department of Law

Ayu Suci Rakhima, Universitas Udayana

Department of Law


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How to Cite

Kasih, D. P. D., Dharmawan, N. K. S., Putra, I. B. W., Sudiarawan, K. A., & Rakhima, A. S. (2021). The Exploitation of Indigenous Communities by Commercial Actors: Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Cultural Expression. Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Studies, 8(4), 91–108.



Original Manuscript