Wednesday, 4 May 2011

An update on Azerbaijan's folklore copyright

I've delved a bit more into this story and have come up with some interesting things. First of all, there is already a copyright in place on Azerbaijani folklore - the current news is highlighting an amendment to make foreigners pay to use folklore samples. There are actually quite a few countries that have legally protected folklore, such as Tunisia, but have slightly different criteria as to what ownership entails - usually a responsible authority and the community.

The Copyright Agency of Azerbaijan extensively explains that they copyrighted folklore to stop Armenia from 'stealing' it. Yeah, that's pretty much it. They say:

Falsifiers, eager to turn our monuments Stone -fish, Stone-ram, Stone -horse, came from ancient periods as well as ancient Alban lands and monuments into the territory of "Eastern Armenia" equally with misappropriated of our stella and cross-stones, indication stones, monumental masonries and our national decor engraved on their surfaces as well as our other material monuments, Armenianize our national "The history of Albania" by Musa Kalangatly, "The history" by Karakos Ganjali, "Alban chronicle" by Mukhtar Kosa and Rules on "Tradition law". Besides they related Alban alphabet and script, originated from ancient Turkish roots and having the same tone with Gamigaya script to the name of Mesrop Mashtots, who was not aware of Alban language.

Armenia and Azerbaijan aren't the most friendly of neighbours since the Nagorno-Karabakh War in 1988. But it's a real shame that the Azerbaijani government have taken this narrow, and somewhat commercial, view of folklore, which is meant to be an evolving process. All great folklore has been merged at one time, such as when the Viking invaders brought Odin to England, which became Woden over time and numerous stories and practises stemmed from that religion. It's something that I'm totally against.