National Folklore Board to seek compensation for folklore usage

By
Eunice Hilda Ampomah, GNA
   

Accra, Sept. 17, GNA – Nana Adjoa Adobea
Asante, the Acting Director of the National Folklore Board, has announced the
Board’s preparedness to seek compensation from companies and institutions that
use folklore to promote their businesses.  

She said the Board, which was an independent
governmental body charged with the responsibility of protecting and promoting
Ghana’s folklore, would look out for companies that had used Ghana’s folklore
outside the customary context, and ensure that they made payments.

In an interview with the Ghana News Agency on
Monday, Ms Asante said the Board was to ensure that anyone who used folklore
for commercial purposes such as using a Ghanaian proverb in a rap song or
Adinkra symbol as logo of companies must pay for it.

Ms Asante described folklore as ways in which
culture is expressed including singing, acting, eating, dressing, creating
things, performing rights, and celebrating festivals, which are everyday
activities.

She said the Adinkra symbols were codes of
communication, which signify strengths and weaknesses and therefore, anyone
using them as logos should compensate the owner of that folklore.

“The move is not to deter anyone from using
our folklore because it is a way of promoting Ghana’s folklore but we have to
ensure that there is a balance. You duly compensate the owners and contribute
to the development of the nation”, she said.

She disclosed that the Board has started a
sensitisation programme to enlighten individuals and organisations on the use
of folklore and the need to make the necessary compensations to the State.

She said the payments would be done in
consultation with a law firm to ensure transparency and accountability.  

“During our celebration of the World Folklore
Day last month, we had a symposium on the role of folklore and intellectual
property in branding Ghana and that is where the sensitisation began”.

Ms Asante said UNESCO figures indicated that
29 million people were employed in the culture and creative arts industry
worldwide, however only 1.98 per cent of Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
was from culture, which showed that the country had not done enough.

She said the country’s folklore had a lot of
potentials, hence the need to improve on those potentials to drive economic
growth.

“Culture is our way of life and that is the
easiest way to make money. We would be able to work better if we love what we
do, package it well and make it uniquely ours,” she said.

She urged Ghanaians to repackage the country’s
indigenous products such as “Alata samina,” referred to as “African Black soap”
so as to compete favourably on the global market to maximize profit.

Answering a question as to whether the Board
was certain that every folklore item was Ghanaian, Ms Asante said: “Sometimes
there is contention that the ownership of folklore cross certain borders but
the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) has the African Regional
Intellectual Property Organisation with a team of experts to adjudicate as to
who owns which aspects of folklore, so till another country lays claims, it is
yours.

She mentioned companies and institutions like
the Consolidated Bank Ghana, Databank, Cal Bank, Women’s World Banking Ghana,
Donewell Life Insurance, Ghana Stock Exchange, Sankofa Café, Kempinski Hotel
and African Regent Hotel as some of the bodies that had used Ghana’s folklore
and need to pay royalties to the Board.

GNA

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