Tradition and heritage is unique to one’s own country . And all of us are proud of our own tradition. The ancient tradition and custom must be uplifted and must be introduced down to the subsequent generations to maintain the old custom alive.
Ghana has rich folkloric tradition but there’s a copyright legislation utilized on it that restricts it from reaching the people outside Ghana region.
Ghana has a wealthy folkloric custom that includes Adinkra symbols, Kente fabric, traditional festivals, music and storytelling.
Perhaps one among Ghana’s best-known folk characters is Ananse, the spider god and trickster, after whom the Ghanaian storytelling custom Anansesem is named.
Ghana additionally has some of the world’s most restrictive legal guidelines on using its folklore. The nation’s 2005 Copyright Act defines folklore as “the literary, artistic and scientific expressions belonging to the cultural heritage of Ghana that are created, preserved and developed by ethnic communities of Ghana or by an unidentified Ghanaian writers”.
This means that the laws, which is an replace of a 1985 legislation, applies equally to traditional works where the author is unknown and new works derived from folklore where the author is known.The rights in these works are “vested within the president on behalf of and in belief for the people of the republic”. These rights are additionally deemed to exist in perpetuity. This means that works which qualify as folkloric won’t ever fall into the public domain – and will by no means be free to make use of.
The 1985 Act solely restricted use of Ghana’s folklore by foreigners. The 2005 Act extended this to Ghanaian nationals. In precept, which means a Ghanaian artist wishing to make use of Ananse tales, or a musician who needs to remodel previous folk songs or musical rhythms, should first seek approval from the National Folklore Board and pay an undisclosed price.
That is deeply problematic. Following independence in 1957, many artists have explicitly and habitually drawn on Ghana’s folk traditions to develop today’s creative industries.
The 2005 Act signifies that the present technology of cultural practitioners should both seek permission to make use of and rework their cultural heritage, or look elsewhere for inspiration.
There may be clearly a balance to be struck between safeguarding and access in relation to the safety of a state’s cultural heritage. Nevertheless, you will need to acknowledge that while Ghana’s laws seems to tip towards safety on the expense of access, it restricts progress within the artistic industries by discouraging artists from engaging with their national cultural heritage.
History of protection
Ethnomusicologist and musician John Collins has noted that the development of the 2005 Act was partly in response to US singer Paul Simon’s use of a melody taken from the tune ‘Yaa Amponsah’ for his 1990 album The Rhythm of the Saints.
Simon attributed this music to the Ghanaian musician Jacob Sam and his band the Kumasi Trio. But on additional investigation the Ghanaian authorities asserted that the melody was a work of folklore and so, belonged to the state.
From this, two issues are clear. Firstly, in Ghana folklore belongs to the state and never the originating communities that predate the modern state.
Secondly, Jacob Sam obtained no recompense for Simon’s use of the work, with all royalties owed on the work flowing back to the government.
There are a number of points right here that set Ghana apart from different African states. Many states enable for using folklore by nationals and if a price is relevant then it’s paid as a royalty based on income raised. That is the case in all three states bordering Ghana: Togo, Burkina Faso and Cote d’Ivoire.
Consequently, if an artist in one of these nations reworks folklore however makes no money, then no money is paid for that use. If the work turns successful then the artist and the rights holder benefit.
However, in Ghana, the law states that fee is paid prior to make use of and so previous to any earnings made. This probably provides to the cost of manufacturing and so discourages use of folklore.
The other difficulty right here is who owns the rights in national heritage. In lots of nations, resembling Kenya, the originating communities retain the rights to their expressions of cultural heritage.
However, in Ghana the rights are vested in the office of the president. Because of this any ethical or monetary profit that outcomes from uses of folklore flow to the office of the president, rather than being used to support continued safeguarding and progress of cultural heritage within communities.
Guarding against exploitation
Although Ghana’s present regime may appear draconian, there are compelling explanation why such protecting measures are required.
Firstly, Ghana’s cultural heritage – its conventional knowledge and conventional cultural expressions – have been and continue to be exploited by non-Ghanaians in international markets with no useful interest flowing both to the state or to the originating community.
To provide this some context, Simon’s use of ‘Yaa Amponsah’ was just one use of Ghana’s cultural heritage within the creating of a new, and commercially profitable, work.
More recently, there have been quite a lot of press stories in Ghana that the Ghana Folklore Board supposed to sue the producers of Marvel’s Black Panther for the unauthorised use of kente fabric in a few of the characters’ costumes.
The board clarified these stories in a press launch, saying it didn’t intend to sue – however quite, wished to discuss attribution. Kente is particularly named as an object of protection under the 2005 Act and the present proliferation of unauthorised cheap kente designs entering global markets from China presents a big problem.
Attribution, on this case, would be certain that cinematographers internationally would affiliate kente with Ghana, bringing a standard craft to a global audience.
The board faces a very complex problem. It must balance safeguarding conventional heritage with permitting creative artists room to reuse and rework parts of that heritage in a manner that doesn’t add to the cost or complexity of production.
Though the threat of unfair exploitation is real, in the potential of menace to the artistic industries and the future development of Ghana’s living heritage if the country’s artists move away from their cultural heritage.
If the copy rights are eased it will help the ancient culture to reach the next generations and beyond the Ghana region , where it may be loved and appreciated.