Documenting Indigenous oral traditions: Copyright for control

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Similar to the other forms of cultural heritage, Indigenous oral traditions are collected and held often by outsiders to the community. There are a number of instruments addressing this problem, but none of them provide complete control over such works. This article will focus on the possibility and instances of copyright being used to control oral traditions, both by outsiders and the Indigenous communities. The article will first provide an overview of the applicable legal areas (cultural property law, Indigenous rights, and intellectual property rights), and then it will assess different stages in the treatment of oral traditions. It will discuss the copyright implications for not only the traditions themselves but also their documented versions, subsequent copies, adaptations, and new works in order to provide a full picture of the relationship between control and copyright.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-264
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Cultural Property
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 11 Nov 2022


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