Search
  • The L word Blog

IPR related to Folklore, Folk Tales and Folk Songs

Written by: Nandini Tripathi, Student, Symbiosis Law School, Hyderabad

IPR related to Folklore, Folk Tales and Folk Songs

The ancient civilizations of the sector, with their contributions in arts, literature, technological know-how, and so forth have caused the prevailing glorious country of countries. The Aztecs, Incas, Mesopotamian civilization, the various African tribes, Australian aboriginals, tribes inside the Indian sub-continent, some of which exist to these days, are persevering with to make their contributions. Their contributions consist of historical folklore, stories, art forms, legends, rituals in written as well as oral paperwork. The oral contributions have been said to pass down from technology to era. The Vedas are a great instance. The peculiarity of this form of information is that it defines the culture and heritage of the community which contributes to it. Its units them aside from the rest of the humans. Quite some of tribe’s flourish to at the present time, in this modern world through preserving their way of life alive. The cost of the information to be had from those humans is not just of commercial fee but additionally of spiritual, spiritual, and social as well. The records referred to above might not be conventional understanding stricto sensu, the term ‘folklore’ being greater suitable. Protection for this information is but to be formalized. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) identified the value of traditional understanding in protecting species, ecosystems, and landscapes, and controlled get admission to it and its use. Its provisions obliges each contracting birthday celebration, as far as feasible to, admire, maintain and keep information, improvements and practices of indigenous and neighbourhood groups relevant for the conservation and sustainable use of biological variety and promote their wider utility with the approval and involvement of the holders of such expertise, innovations and practices and encourage the equitable sharing of the benefits bobbing up from the usage of such expertise, innovations and practices.


WIPO installed the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore. The high-level Brundtland Report (1987) recommended a trade in development coverage that allowed for direct community participation and revered local rights and aspirations. The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) consists of provisions concerning safety of intellectual property. Great strain is laid down on exclusion of certain items from being patented as in line with Article 27. In the TRIPs-associated Doha Declaration of 2001, Paragraph 19 increased the review to a assessment of Article 27 and the rest of the TRIPs settlement to include the connection among the TRIPS Agreement and the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the protection of traditional understanding and folklore. The opportunity of defensive folklore through copyright changed into raised in 1967 at the Diplomatic Conference of Stockholm for the revision of the Berne Convention. Although the issue become not completely resolved, the subsequent provisions have been covered in the Stockholm Act of the Convention and retained inside the revision followed in Paris in 1971. In the case of unpublished works where the identification of the writer is unknown, however in which there is every floor to presume that he is a countrywide of a rustic of the Union, it shall be a rely for regulation in that united states of America to designate the capable authority which shall represent the author and shall be entitled to defend and put into effect his rights within the countries of the Union. Countries of the Union which make such designation underneath the terms of this provision shall notify the Director General [of WIPO] by way of a written assertion giving complete statistics regarding the authority as a result detailed. The Director General shall right away communicate this statement to all other international locations of the Union. Article 29 of the Indian Constitution might also help the network with a unique way of life to guard its folklore but there has now not been a regulation referring to this. Other applicable Article is Article 51 A which imposes a fundamental duty on the residents of India. The Biological Diversity Act 2002 does not well cater for the safety of folklore however is greater at the traces of conservation of bio-range in India basically related to standard understanding of diverse indigenous communities. The provision applicable in this context is Section 31A of the Copyright Act 1957, which provides for compulsory licensing in unpublished Indian works. Herein, inside the case of any Indian paintings, the author is lifeless or unknown or cannot be traced, or the proprietor of the copyright in such work cannot be discovered, any individual may practice to the Copyright Board for a license to post such work or a translation thereof in any language. This gives the finder of any understanding, to have the proper to apply for a copyright over the thing or facts discovered. Many of the growing countries including Iran, Kenya, Sri Lanka, China, and so on have made attempts to consist of the term “folklore” into their copyright laws.


Copyright protection to unique styles of folklores remains a hard thing to grapple with, in India Copyright regulation has a few fundamental obstacles inside the folklore context. Firstly, copyright calls for an identifiable writer, the belief of man or woman authorship being a intricate idea in lots of traditional societies. Secondly, copyright has a time limit, but folkloric expressions need to have everlasting protection. Third, copyright commonly calls for works to be constant. However, amongst a few conventional agencies, folkloric expressions are not constant, but are handed on orally from era to era. This generally excludes such expressions from eligibility for copyright protection. Copyrighting folklore is not always but feasible inside the Indian context due to the fact these expressions generally come from commonplace stock of thoughts. On a perusal of Section 31A, its miles seen that this provision increases a problem with recognize to maintaining the treasures of a rustic, within its territory. Any man or woman or employer which comes across such precious knowledge has the right, beneath the Indian legislation, to say a copyright over the stated understanding. The territory from which it changed into unearthed is not relevant for the functions of copyright. For instance, all the discoveries of the Harappa and Mohenjo-daro civilizations did not live inside the territory of India probable because of loss of technology, initiative and additionally the dominance of British rule. Foreign archaeological companies did the essential excavations and took away, all the discoveries to their personal respective nations. Ancient India was wrought with literature various and wealthy in many respects. However, best very less percent of this literature has been stored in writing. This is not because India’s beyond is barren of deeds worth of remembrance. This forget about may additionally have been either because of a lack of proper historic experience, or indifference of the spiritual orders, that managed and developed the literatures. However, the records of historical India suffer greatly from the initial problem of the want of actual works of historiography. The historical historian Alberuni as soon as said that every time Indians were pressed for statistics and they are at a loss to mention anything, they always take to storytelling. This is how the various legends and myths were born in India.


The diverse folklores and traditions passed from era to technology are regularly getting extinct now. Much of this information changed into transferred on a one to one foundation. In this manner the secrets and techniques were well guarded, as not anything became recorded in the written shape. It became feared that if such know-how was freely made to be had to an unprepared thought, it could cause damage. A very pertinent instance is the limit on teaching of Sanskrit slokas and verses. There is the widely recognized incident in which the University of Mississippi Medical Center turned into granted patent for the recuperation of wounds using turmeric. Indian government challenged this patent on the idea that it changed into already common know-how in India, but it can achieve this handiest after presenting published documentation of the same truth. There is no copyright in ideas. It subsists handiest in the fabric form in which those thoughts are expressed. That is some other big problem visible with traditional knowledge mainly for the ones that are in the shape of folktales or legends.

Various measures have been advised to provide powerful safety to the folklore. It may be executed with the aid of following three techniques. Firstly, via giving this expertise, the protection as cultural heritage, secondly by means of creating a countrywide folklore database, thirdly through making sure amends to the existing legal guidelines and treaties. Sui generis laws enacted solely for the purpose of safety of folklore knowledge is beneficial. Creating a country wide folklore database requires large infrastructure and incentives to be given to those who are the custodians of such history. More finances ought to be released for the excavation and preserving of structures which constitute the cultural heritage. Latest of technology should be implemented for the same reason. Promotion of tourism is every other excellent concept. A conscientious and accountable method must also be made on part of the residents of a country whose cultural background is at stake. This is not approximately restricting the sharing of advantages amassed from such understanding to the world out of doors. This is set now not paying a price for something that is always belonged to us for ages. In our kitchens, on a day by day basis, our moms and grandmothers give you diverse home-made remedies and aids to diverse issues, which have been surpassed all the way down to them from their ancestors.


A folktale is a story that, in its plot, is natural fiction and that has no specific vicinity in both time or space. However, notwithstanding its factors of myth, a folktale is a symbolic manner of imparting the exclusive manner by which people deal with the sector wherein they live. Folktales challenge human beings — both royalty or not unusual people — or animals who communicate and act like humans. A legend is a tale from the beyond about a subject that changed into, or is assumed to have been, historic. Legends challenge humans, locations, and events. Usually, the issue is a saint, a king, a hero, a famous man or woman, or a warfare. A legend is continually associated with a area and a time in records. Oral traditions represent a powerful cultural force and an inexhaustible religious aid within the history of mankind. Many a honoured literary painting has its origins inside the songs and narratives of anonymous oral singers and storytellers. In India, for instance, the early classical epics Mahaabhaarata and Raamaaya·na are attributed to the notable poets Vyaasa and Vaalmiiki, respectively, even though the historic understanding about the introduction processes in question is scanty. The scholarly expertise is, but, that the poetic substances of both epics in large part existed in oral paperwork before the idea of a sincerely lengthy and properly-integrated super story changed into conceived with the aid of some individual sage or poet and before the narrative became codified right into a written shape. Orality never completely conceded its role to literacy and literature. Performance traditions are a working example: they have got remained oral in a spread of approaches. The tale of Raama has been recited, sung, danced, and orally enacted in dozens of languages in approximately 20 South and Southeast Asian international locations over the centuries. The result is that we have these days hundreds of Raamaaya·nas which display so few not unusual functions that it is doubtful whether those narratives stem from a common root. Some pupils see right here best parallel traditions, no longer derivations from one and the same tale. To complicate the problem in addition, there are masses of anti-Raamaaya·nas or local oral epics which reflect popular interpretations of a few issues of the classical epic and shape their meaning to fit specially nearby, social, and communal ends.


In different phrases, orality, and literacy, deesi and maargi, folk literature and classical literature have been in a consistent speak in the beyond and that dialogue nevertheless continues these days. In the face of such cultural range, which seems to impeach the real identification of the Raama tale, it could seem futile to invite questions of copyright. Who is the rightful proprietor of the Raama tale if it exists? The brief way out of this predicament seems to be offered through the age of maximum telling and retellings of the Raama testimonies. They have exceeded the limit of, say, 70 years, and therefore they belong to the public area. Unfortunately, the matter is not quite that easy. One product of these conferences become the “Draft Treaty for the Protection of Expressions of Folklore Against Illicit Exploitation and Other Prejudicial Actions”, formulated in 1983 but never formally followed through UNESCO.


First a few phrases about the way it all started. The concept that folklore might be copyrighted was glaringly in the air inside the early 70s because it emerged independently in two contexts at least. In 1973, the Government of Bolivia submitted to the Director-General of UNESCO the request that UNESCO begin to look at the state of folklore and make an offer for an addition to the Universal Copyright Convention. The background to this motion may be illustrated by way of an anecdote which might also or might not be genuine. It became at approximately that point that the pop singer Paul Simon published his song “El Condor Pasa”, which become soon recognized as a Bolivian people tune. Since the file added the “creator” large revenue, it was felt that at the least some of it have to be channelled back to Bolivia. At any fee, the initiative to copyright folklore displays the greater extensively felt need inside the developing nations to attract new intellectual energy from the USA’s own precise, freely developed folk tradition as soon as the united states of America becomes freed from its colonial ties. The term “traditional way of life” became preferred to “folklore”, due to the fact the latter carried disparaging Western overtones. Concern turned into expressed now not most effective over the monetary exploitation of folklore however additionally over the exportation of conventional culture and presentation outside its original contexts in a manner that angry in opposition to the communities generating and keeping this culture. Misconstrued performances belittled their cultural identity and values.


From the start, then, there had been important concerns, the economic and the moral. The debate was released in the industrialised nations, too, first within the Nordic countries in 1974, glaringly without any connection to the Bolivian initiative at UNESCO. At the time I turned into serving because the director of the Nordic Institute of Folklore and ordered an research at the relations between folklore and copyright from a Finnish legal professional. Her document changed into published in Swedish in 1975. It contemplated, amongst different things, at the idea of folk’s artist and the question whether folklore might be blanketed thru neighbouring rights, i.e. Through the safety given to artists regarding the copyright in their products and performances. Since folklore is observable most effective in performance, this opportunity could comprehensively cover expressions of folklore. An man or woman possession of folklore but was difficult in view of the dominant function of the subculture community in the interpretation and protection of folklore. The Bolivian initiative commenced a system which led to the formulation of a model regulation to be followed by using those nations which desired to go in advance with copyrighting folklore. A few nations, including Tunisia, already had national laws regulating trade in folks’ handicrafts and other regions of conventional way of life. In summertime 1982, WIPO and UNESCO convened an intergovernmental assembly of professionals in Geneva which authorised a record referred to as the “Draft Treaty for the Protection of Expressions of Folklore Against Illicit Exploitation and Other Prejudicial Actions”. It is a toothless tiger within the feel that the Treaty become in no way signed with the aid of each person, yet its wondering made an impact at the copyright and folklore debate carried on in other fora, too.


One of the important thing problems for the copyright professionals meeting in Geneva turned into the definition of folklore. The legal professionals wanted to understand just what must be included and what may be copyrighted. As a folklorist I was asked to make clear whether there have been any folkloric “paintings” comparable to the works of artwork in excessive lifestyle. My solution turned into twofold. First, since version is the life substance of folklore, there is no master reproduction of a made of folklore from which all its variants can be derived. Second, I mentioned the way of life network as the prime holder of rights and ownership, no longer the individual performer who in no way claims to have invented the folkloric piece he plays. I cited the definition of folklore which I had helped to formulate at the assembly of intergovernmental specialists on safeguarding folklore held in Paris a few months earlier. Thus we study the subsequent within the first article of the Draft Treaty: For the purposes of this Treaty, “expressions of folklore” suggest productions which includes feature factors of the traditional creative history evolved and maintained by using a network, or through individuals reflecting the conventional inventive expectations in their network, in particular,

(i) verbal expressions, inclusive of folk’s stories, people poetry and riddles.

(ii) musical expressions, which includes folk songs and instrumental tune.

(iii) expressions with the aid of action, along with people dances, plays and artistic sorts of rituals, whether decreased to a fabric shape; and

(iv) tangible expressions, inclusive of-


(a) productions of folk’s artwork, mainly, drawings, paintings, carvings, sculptures, pottery, terracotta, mosaic, woodwork, metal ware, jewellery, basket weaving, needlework, textiles, carpets, costumes.

(b) musical instruments.

(c) architectural bureaucracy.


The Committee of Experts leaned closely at the phrase “artistic” in an try to identify in the people artist a case like the artist of written excessive culture. If successful, the definition could provide safety of copyright via neighbouring rights to the performer of folklore. In the definition of folklore provided inside the greater complete UNESCO Recommendation on the Safeguarding of Traditional Culture and Folklore officially adopted in 1989 however already to be had in 1982, the word “inventive” does no longer seem in any respect. It says: Folklore (or traditional and famous subculture) is the totality of culture-based creations of a cultural community, expressed by means of a group or individuals and diagnosed as reflecting the expectancies of a community in up to now as they replicate its cultural and social identity; its requirements and values are transmitted orally, by means of imitation or different method. Its forms are, amongst others, language, literature, music, dance, games, mythology, rituals, customs, handicrafts, architecture, and different arts. Here the key phrases are “way of life” and “cultural identity”, no longer “creative”, for obvious reasons. First, proscribing the protection to creative bureaucracy might create a skewed profile of the item of safety and leave critical domains of folklore outside law. Second, whose aesthetics are we going to use? The phrase “inventive” consists of with-it, Western connotations no longer relevant to all cultures. It may be impossible to assess what is artwork and what isn't always artwork in instances in which the actual proprietor of folklore, the conventional community, does now not practice this type of idea however alternatively sees the problem in phrases of sacred values, international views and institution identification.


The Draft Treaty represents a compromise as regards the possession of folklore insofar as it leans at the idea of “artistic” visualising a talented individual but accepting concurrently the traditional community as the holder of possession. Protecting an individual as a performer, if now not the author, of folkloric expressions is a lot simpler than locating the rightful representative for a conventional community. The community may belong to the past or, if nevertheless alive, it can lack the infrastructure able to manage claims of copyright or unethical infringement in the use of its traditions. In order to bypass this issue, the Draft Treaty leaves it to the “Contracting State” to designate one or extra “equipped government” to manage and put in force the Treaty within national rules. The motive of the Draft Treaty incorporates two important factors: first, using folklore, be it overall performance or guide, ought to be authorised and, if the use will convey economic advantage, part of it need to go to the source. Secondly, if the use is unauthorised or ethically unfavourable to the source, the act is crook and ought to be punished. Otherwise the Draft Treaty contains normal technical recommendations for its scope and enforcement. Much responsibility is left to the hypothetical “equipped authority”.


The UNESCO Recommendation simply noted deals with the wider troubles of safeguarding folklore. Yet it includes a paragraph on the highbrow assets elements of folklore which enhances the motive of the Draft Treaty in an crucial way by list greater rights to be included.

The Recommendation formulates the recipients of safety by stating that we ought to-

(i) defend the informant because the transmitter of subculture (safety of privacy and confidentiality).

(ii) defend the hobby of the collector through ensuring that the materials gathered are conserved within the records in suitable circumstance and in a methodical manner.

(iii) adopt the important measures to protect the substances accumulated in opposition to misuse, whether intentional or otherwise.

(iv) recognize the duty of files to screen the use manufactured from the materials accumulated.


Thus, the informant, the collector, the folklore record itself and the folklore archive preserving the file need to be protected and supported so that it will assure the accountable use of folklore. Here the focus of safety shifts in truth to tangible items, the documents containing folklore, be they written, audial or visual. This opens a pragmatic vista on copyright and folklore, due to the fact the works to be included aren't immaterial non secular phenomena within the minds of humans however tangible items conserving human ideas and expressions. The folklore archive can be said to expect the function of “ready authority” discussed above. The authorisation of use must be sought at the source of folklore overall performance, the informant, in addition to on the supply of its documentation, the collector. Both have individual rights regarding specific materials. The folklore archive ought to display their rights and the sorts of folklore dissemination in popular. This ultimate constellation of protection is in harmony with the prevailing infrastructures of folklore work. It need not stay hypothetical but can be written into archival codes and research contracts even regardless of whether positive global treaties were ratified or now not. In many cases the performer of folklore passes for an artist and may receive reputation as an writer, not of folklore as such, but of his precise interpretation and performance of it. Without the collector, however, that overall performance could have disappeared without hint. So, he may be respected as a co-writer of folklore.


The folklore file for that reason created will lead a existence of its very own which is secondary compared to the unique folklore process from which it changed into derived. Yet it lends the quintessential possibility of reviewing culture to future generations. Thus, it should be blanketed as the container of inexhaustible cultural values. The folklore archive, in turn, lends institutional authority to folklore documents and provides for technical competence and judicial arbitration in matters of folklore safety and use. If there may be any form of royalty generated via folklore materials, it's miles the folklore archive which must be able to channel the budget to the rightful supply, be it the performer, the traditional network, the collector or some organization, which includes the folklore archive itself.

Opinions expressed in the blogs are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of The L Word Blog.


Subscribe Now

Contact Us

 © 2020 All Rights Reserved. Created by Paras and Team