Traditional cultural expressions (TCEs) or ‘expressions of folklore’ are part of the cultural identity of a community. They may include music, dances, performances, symbols and other creations.

The protection of TCEs is aimed to promoting the creativity and cultural diversity, and also to the preservation of cultural heritage. But TCEs can also be the object of Intellectual Property rights to protect folklore from misuse.

There is a Committe at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in charge of exploring new or complementary solutions to improve their protection, mainly focusing on international agreements on the issue.

Presently there are international instruments such as WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty and Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances, which protect these works. But there are some goals that may still be accomplish. The problems that may arise usually relate to issues of attribution, remuneration and control of these works.

Spanish flamenco is a good example of folklore. The starting point would be analyzing issues such as what elements of flamenco music or choreography determine their consideration as a work protected by the Intellectual Property Law. Secondly, a broader protection could be given to it from the consideration of flamenco as part of folklore, according to the International Treaties above referred (Spain has ratified both). And finally, examining how do Spanish laws protect the rights of those who have a leading role in the creation of these works: authors, producers and artists.

LES Internacional

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