Summer 1998


The intellectual property rights that are covered by national and international legislation is referring to works by individuals. This is based on the romantic notion of the genius creating a work of art out of nothing but his or her creativity that prevailed in Europe at the time of the introduction of copyright. This, of course, is not the case. Instead, any performance of, let’s say music, is the product of a combination of creativity of a number of individuals.

This is the view of Krister MaIm in a paper ‘Copyright and the protection of intellectual property in traditional music’ for the UNESCO conference The Power of Culture held in Stockholm on March 31st, 1998. The full text is published elsewhere in this issue of TREOIR.

He goes on to say that there have been ‘recurrent demands for modification of the legislation to cover also collective rights or what can be named ‘Cultural Property Rights’ such as ‘expressions of folklore’ the term preferred by the World Intellectual Property Organisation that handles internal relations concerning copyright.

At the Stockholm conference there was widespread concern at the possibility of a nation’s store of traditional music falling into private commercial hands as has already happened in some countries. This has obvious connotations for Ireland.