Article 27: Right to Participate in the Cultural Life of the Community.

  • Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
  • Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

The culture of a group of people is what distinguishes them from another group of people. Language, history, religion, music, art, social norms, cuisine, etc. All of these and more together form the identity of a people. Therefore the culture of a people is highly treasured and of great importance to both the individual and the community. This huge value of culture is why, during wars, the practice of ruining monuments, artwork, important buildings such as churches, mosques, ministries, etc. became a very popular way of also ruining the spirit of your enemy. Destroying these valuable symbols and manifestations of a community’s culture aim to also destroy the communities’ sense of unity, morale, and identity. 

Many historical and cultural sites all around the world have been demolished by the hands of war, which is not only a catastrophe to the community of which the site has been destroyed, but also to the joint history of the entire world. Therefore this article was included in the declaration after the many, many cultural and historical losses during World War II. This article states each individual’s right to participate in the cultural life of its community and the right to access the arts and sciences available. Furthermore, this exact article of the UDHR helped lay the grounds for the destruction of cultural sights to be considered a war crime. 

The second part of this article protects the creative rights of people. As an author, painter, musician, scientist, or creator of another kind, you have the right to be protected if someone steals or imitates your original work. Popularly it is referred to as copyrights. Your original work is automatically copyrighted when you have finished it. If the rights of your original work are violated, it is called plagiarism. When the band The Verve released the song ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ in 1997 they had sampled some of the melodies from the Rolling Stones song ‘The Last Time’. The two bands had made an agreement. The Verve could use a five-note segment from ‘The Last Time’ in exchange for 50% of the profit from the song. After being released, the song ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ became a massive hit. When the Rolling Stones heard the song, they claimed that the Verve had used more than the five-note segment they agreed on from their song. Therefore they filed a lawsuit against The Verve for the rights to the song. In the end, the Rolling Stones won, and all of the credits for ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ went to them. The Verve lost all rights to their song and never made money from it, even though it proved to be a massive hit.

Written by Nanna Orloff Mortensen

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