Protection and Administration of Folklore in Nigeria

10 Pages Posted: 24 Jun 2008

See all articles by adebambo anthony adewopo

adebambo anthony adewopo

Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies


Discussions on intellectual Property rights recently extended to traditional Knowledge issues and the protection of folklore. Generally, globalisation and the information Technology revolution have pushed the demand for intellectual property protection beyond the borders of sovereign nations. In the same trend, liberalization, international treaties, tourism, the media and the steady shift to free market economies enables greater movements of goods across the world and the need for better intellectual property protections. Complaints by American and European companies about rampant intellectual property piracy and counterfeiting in developing countries are an indication of the extent to which the world famous brands and Hollywood cinema and music has penetrated foreign lands, supplanting and in some cases even obliterating the traditional culture and custom of different people in the process -particularly in the cities. On the other hand many developing countries complain that lots of copyrights and patents emanating from the developed world are unauthorized exploitation of their Traditional Knowledge and Folklore. Technological advances have only fanned this fire. Indigenous motifs are used to sell every thing from Japanese automobiles like the Mazda Navajo to Barbie dolls and back-to-school clothes. Indigenous art has been reproduced and sold as art reproduction and as craft items, but more commonly, it has been reproduced and sold as cheaper commodities, such as T-shirts, tea, towels and other souvenirs. Indigenous arts has also been reproduced and used in advertising and marketing. Thus, we are seeing indigenous designs more often and in new contexts. In essence traditional knowledge has attracted widespread attention from an enlarged audience; and other traditional-based creations, such as expressions of folklore, have at the same time taken on new economic and cultural significance with a globalised information society. This has brought to fore an increased agitation at the international level for a system of protection for folklore. Opinions are however sharply divided on the nature and framework of protection to be accorded to folklore. While some favour protection under the conventional intellectual property subjects, others believe that an entirely new system is required.

Keywords: Folklore, Nigeria, Traditional Knowledge, Intellectual Property, Law,

JEL Classification: K00

Suggested Citation

adewopo, adebambo anthony, Protection and Administration of Folklore in Nigeria. SCRIPT-ed, Vol. 3, No. 1, March 2006, Available at SSRN:

Adebambo anthony Adewopo (Contact Author)

Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies ( email )

Supreme Court of Nigeria Complex
FCT A buja
+234 805 577 7007 (Phone)

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