EXPRESSIONS OF FOLKLORE AND ITS INTERNATIONAL PROTECTION
Folklore, traditionally considered as part of a community's common heritage without individual ownership, has faced widespread exploitation due to the lack of formal or informal laws in many developing countries. This led to the need for a strong legal mechanism for the protection of folklore, which has been a subject of discussion at both national and international levels since the 1960s. Key international forums for these discussions include the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
In 2000, the WIPO General Assembly established the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC) to analyze intellectual property issues arising in the context of the protection of expressions of folklore. Recognizing the importance of the work undertaken by the WIPO IGC for the Asian and African countries, the Secretary-General of AALCO proposed including the item “Expressions of Folklore and its International Protection” on the Agenda of the Forty-Third Annual Session of AALCO in 2004.
The AALCO Member States welcomed the proposal, and the topic was deliberated at the Forty-Fifth (2006), Forty-Sixth (2007), and Forty-Ninth (2010) Annual Sessions. At the Forty-Ninth Annual Session (2010) and the Fiftieth Annual Session (2011), the Member States passed a resolution directing the Secretary-General to follow up on the developments within the WIPO IGC on “Expressions of Folklore.”