The Executive Committee of the Berne Union and the Intergovernmental Committee of the Universal Copyright Convention, at their sessions in November-December 1977, examined the exhaustive study of the implications of the protection of folklore, prepared by the secretariat of Unesco in pursuance of the recommendations made by the Committees at their 1975 sessions (document B/EC/XII/13- IGC (l971)/II/17).
Following this examination, the Committees decided that “studies on this subject should be pursued by the Unesco Secretariat on an interdisciplinary basis within the framework of an overall approach, but that WIPO should be associated in the examination of any copyright aspects involved. Moreover, WIPO should inquire into the extent to which regulations governing industrial property (unfair competition, appelation of origin, etc.) might be used”. The Committees, while recognizing that their competence was limited to matters of copyright, also decided that “in so far as copyright could enter into the solution of the problems, they should continue to consider” the question of the protection of folklore.
The Director-General of UNESCO set up an intersectoral unit within the Organization to study all the problems raised by the protection of folklore. Furthermore, and in pursuance of the decisions taken by their respective governing bodies, it was planned that during 1979, the Secretariat of UNESCO and the International Bureau of WIPO will undertake a joint study of the possible copyright aspects of the protection of folklore.
At their sessions held in December 1975, the Intergovernmental Copyright Committee and the Executive Committee of the Berne Union requested the Secretariat of Unesco to carry out an exhaustive study of all the aspects involved in the protection of folklore. Given the links with copyright that such protection may have, the Committees further decided to include this matter on the agenda of their present session.
To carry out this study, and in accordance with resolution 6.121 adopted by the General Conference of Unesco at its nineteenth session, a Committee of Experts on the Legal Protection of Folklore was convened by the Director-General of Unesco. Composed of folklore specialists and legal experts, invited in their personal capacity by the Director-General, it met in Tunis from 11 to 15 July at the kind invitation of the Tunisian Government.
The documents provided for the Committee of Experts included a study of the various aspects involved in the protection of folklore. This study is included as Appendix 1 to the present document. The Report of the Committee of Experts which met in Tunis appears as Appendix 2. The Committee of Experts further requested its Rapporteur to draw conclusions from the discussions (paragraph 45 of the Committee’s Report) and these are to be found in Appendix 3 to this document.
The question of the protection of folklore at the international level was placed by the Director-General of Unesco on the agenda of the Intergovernmental Copyright Committee established under Article XI of the Universal Copyright Convention, in response to a memorandum he had received in 1973 from the Government of Bolivia requesting that the possibility of preparing an international instrument for the protection of folklore be examined.
At the conclusion of its discussion on this subject, at its session held in December 1973, the Intergovernmental Committee decided to entrust the Unesco Secretariat with the task of studying the problem and reporting thereon to the Intergovernmental Committee and the Executive Committee of the International Union for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works at their next sessions.
Pursuant to this decision, the Unesco Secretariat submitted to the Intergovernmental Copyright Committee and the Executive Committee of the Berne Union at their sessions in December 1975 a study on the desirability of providing protection for folklore at the international level. The attention of the Committees was drawn to the fact that the first stages in devising a system of protection for folklore were, on the one hand, the examination in depth of the actual concept of folklore, in order to work out a definition of this part of the cultural heritage of nations, and, on the other hand the identification of the characteristic elements constituting each of the categories coming under the heading of “folklore”. As for protection itself, which the Committees considered necessary, essential and urgent, it was recognized that a distinction should be drawn between the material protection of this heritage, that is to say its conservation, and the legal protection to be afforded with a view to preserving it and regulating its exploitation.
In the light of their discussions, the Committees expressed the view that this was basically a cultural problem, which went beyond the specific field of copyri
The Director-General of Unesco transmitted to the Intergovernmental Copyright Committee of the Universal Convention adopted in 1952, at its twelfth ordinary session (Paris, December 1973), the communication which he had received on 22 May 1973 from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Religion of the Republic of Bolivia (No. D.G.O.I.1006-79) together with an explanatory memorandum, proposing that the possibility of establishing an international instrument for the protection of the folk arts and cultural heritage of the various nations of the world should be examined at the international level (document IGC/XII/12).
At the close of its consideration of this subject, the Intergovernmental Copyright Committee decided to entrust the Unesco Secretariat with the task of studying this problem and reporting thereon to the Committee and to the Executive Committee of the Berne Union at their forthcoming sessions (see Report of the twelfth ordinary session of the Intergovernmental Copyright Committee, document IGC/XII/17, paragraph 103).
Pursuant to that decision, the Secretariat of Unesco submits to the Intergovernmental Copyright Committee and the Executive Committee of the Berne Union, in an annex to this report, a study on the desirability of providing protection for folklore at the international level.
On 22 May 1973 the Director-General of Unesco received from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Religion of the Republic of Bolivia a communication (No. D. G.O.I/1006-79 dated 24 April 1973) accompanied by a supporting memorandum proposing that consideration be given at the international level to a special Instrument for the protection of the folk arts and cultural heritage of the various nations of the world.
The Intergovernmental Copyright Convention is invited to review this matter in the light not only of the proposals embodied in the annexed communication from the Govemment of Bolivia, but also of the results of the Committee of Experts Charged with Drafting a Model Law on Copyright for Developing Countries in Africa (document IGC/XII/6).