Traditional Knowledge & Expressions of Folklore

Discussions on folklore protection affect all creative industries, including publishing.

By way of example, publishers of children's books and school books make reference in their works to the cultural context and environment of their readers. The retelling of folk tales or the depiction of the culture forming part of their readers' daily lives is part of the editorial content.

Similarly, many writers of fiction are inspired by local customs, traditions and the social environment. Academic publishers publish works describing ethnological observations; others may publish medical research which is based on discoveries by indigenous peoples.

In recent years, governments have called for a special legal framework at international level for the protection of their traditional cultural expressions or folklore. International organisations such as WIPO and UNESCO have long sought to address legal, conceptual, operational and administrative needs and issues in this area. At national level, a number of jurisdictions have enacted legislation for the protection of folklore.

IPA has been a central participant in the international debate on folklore protection. We support the protection of folklore because its formal identification and acknowledgement strengthens respect for traditional cultural expressions.

However, IPA also believes that any international framework for the protection of folklore should ensure that the positive impact of publishers' activities on the culture which they operate is not threatened. In particular, IPA tries to ensure that any possible new international framework does not conflict with one's freedom of expression.

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