What is folklore?

Per section 76 of the Copyright Act, 2005 – folklore” means the literary, artistic and scientific expressions belonging to the cultural heritage of Ghana which are created, preserved and developed by ethnic communities of Ghana or by an unidentified Ghanaian author, and includes kente and Adinkra designs, where the author of the designs are not known, and any similar work designated under this Act to be works of folklore.

As defined in the UNESCO Recommendation on the Safeguarding of Traditional Culture and Folklore (1989), “folklore (or traditional and popular culture) is the totality of tradition-based creations, of a cultural community, expressed by a group or individuals and recognized as reflecting the expectations of a community in so far as they reflect its cultural and social identity; its standards and values are transmitted orally, by imitation or by other means. Its forms are, among others, language, literature, music, dance, games, mythology, rituals, customs, handicrafts, architecture and other arts.”

What is the law on folklore in Ghana?

The Copyright Act, 2005 (Act 690) specifies that the rights in folklore are vested in the President on behalf of and in trust for the people of the Republic. It also states that a person who seeks to use folklore outside the scope permitted by section 19 of the Act must seek permission from the National Folklore Board. Personal use, news reportage and use for educational purposes do not require permission.

Any person who intends to use expressions of folklore for commercial purposes and any purpose other than as permitted under Act 690, is required to apply to the National Folklore Board for permission for the use and to pay the applicable fees as prescribed by the National Folklore Board.