Legal and Policy Issues
Edited by Christoph Beat Graber, Karolina Kuprecht and Jessica Christine Lai
Chapter 8: Are they in or are they out? Traditional cultural expressions and the public domain: implications for trade
In June 2009, the ‘Archives internationales de musique populaire’ (AIMP), an ethnomusical archive within the Geneva Museum of Ethnography, faced an unusual problem. In an email, TLS Music Services, a music production company based in California, USA, was asking permission to use a sample of a lullaby recorded on a CD released by AIMP in 1991, directed by Italian ethnomusicologist Serena Facci and entitled ‘Zaire: between Lakes and Forests; Music of the Nande’ (our translation). The requested sample was intended to be used as a loop in the introduction of ‘Need to find’, a song by rising star of Jamaican dub music, Terry Lynn. In fact, as explained in the email, the use of the Congolese lullaby was meant to support the Afro-Jamaican identity of Terry Lynn. According to TLS Music’s website, the song ‘Need to find’ was part of the ‘Red Stripe Website Project’, a marketing operation launched by Jamaican beer brand Red Stripe, with the aim of celebrating the global influence, importance and appeal of the rhythms and beats of Jamaican music. Deeming the case rather suspicious, AIMP decided at first to formally oppose any free use of the lullaby.
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