In its Press Release 2008/553 on 20 May 2008, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) announced the launch of a pilot programme to assist indigenous communities to document their own cultural traditions, archive this heritage for future generations, and safeguard their interest in authorizing use of their recordings and traditions by third parties.
Mr. Francis Gurry, new Deputy Director General of WIPO, said “Our goal is to empower tradition-bearers to preserve and pass on their own traditional cultures if they wish to do so while safeguarding their intellectual property rights and interests. Testing these ideas through this community-led pilot program is a big step toward that goal.” The results of the pilot will be shared with other indigenous communities and could later be extended to other communities and institutions from other countries.
This pilot project is a result of a request made to WIPO by the Maasai community from Laikipia, Kenya. It is a collaborative programme among WIPO and the American Folklife Center (AFC) at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. and the Center for Documentary Studies, (CDS) in North Carolina. It also forms part of WIPO's Creative Heritage Project, which is developing an integrated set of practical resources and guidelines for cultural institutions (e.g. museums and indigenous communities), on managing intellectual property options when digitizing intangible cultural heritage.
During September 2008, two members of the Maasai community and an expert from the National Museums of Kenya will travel to the American Folklife Center, and then to the Center for Documentary Studies, (CDS) at Duke University, USA, for intensive, hands-on training in documentary techniques and archival skills necessary for effective community-based cultural conservation. Intellectual property training will be provided by WIPO, with assistance from the U.S. Copyright Office. WIPO will provide the Maasai with a basic kit of field equipment, computers and software for their own use when they return to Kenya.
Further information may be obtained from WIPO’s Media Relations and Public Affairs Section - email:
(Source: WIPO Press Release 2008/553 )
6 September 2008
"The articles in this Blog are the personal views of the author, Denise Rosemary Nicholson (
) and do not purport to be the views of her institution or any other organisation or individual".