Saturday, September 24, 2005

IACB and the Federal Trade Commission

American Indian Arts and Crafts "Surf Day"

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Indian Arts and Crafts Board (IACB) of the U.S. Department of the Interior have joined forces to combat the deceptive marketing of arts and crafts products as made by American Indians. Representatives from both agencies have surfed the Internet to locate websites that advertise American Indian arts and crafts. After identifying approximately 425 sites that appear to market American Indian arts and crafts as authentic, the FTC staff and IACB notified each site operator that the law prohibits false representations about the origin of arts and crafts, and cautioned site operators that all ad claims must be truthful and non-deceptive, and urged them to immediately remove any untrue or deceptive claims.


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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

IACB response to questions

Regarding your questions about the Indian Arts and Crafts Board Certification program and Source Directory listing opportunities, we are sending a Fact Sheet - Trademark, Certification, and Copyright, U.S. Patent and Trademark handout on registering trademarks, and a Source Directory questionnaire to the address listed in your email.

As a reminder, in order to be eligible for the Board Certification program,
1) an enterprise (group or individual) must have a registered trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office,
2) must offer for sale only genuine Indian (federally recognized), as defined by the Indian Arts and Crafts Act, handcraft products,
3) must be entirely Indian (federally recognized), Indian, as defined by the Indian Arts and Crafts Act, owned and controlled, and
4) must agree to apply certificates only to such products that meet the standards of quality agreed to by the Board at the time of application for certification.

Regarding your questions about labeling and representing art or craftwork at shows and exhibitions, the Indian Arts and Crafts Act is essentially a truth in advertising law that requires the seller to honestly represent the work being displayed, or offered, for sale, or sold. It is advisable to properly label all the art and crafts items you are making available to the public. It is also advisable to separate the Indian made from the nonIndian made art or craft work that might appear to be Indian made, or that is made in the style of an Indian art or craft product , to avoid consumer confusion or the potential for deception. There is no category that we are aware of for "known in the Indian Community", but I would avoid terms that might mislead the consumer into thinking they are buying an Indian made product.

Lastly, in response to your question about "Cherokee Style", it may simply mean that the weaver was inspired by a Cherokee basket. However, if a basket is sold as Cherokee, it must be made by an enrolled member of an officially recognized State or federally recognized Cherokee Tribe. Again, in labeling, all efforts should be made to avoid consumer confusion or the potential for deception.

Michele Hill
Indian Arts and Crafts Board