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Dayo Ogunyemi
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As an African who ran an entertainment law practice in NY, I'm very happy to see this detailed and well-reasoned account. I agree completely with you that we really do have to raise awareness within Africa about the value of IP, and remedies that are available to counter culture vultures. In an article written 7 years ago, I argued that "Africans must lose any naïveté about how IP rights are managed and exploited in developed economies. Historically, African content creators have had a lack of awareness about the international market value of their IP creations as well as the complexities of copyright and contract law that govern their trade. This has meant that more sophisticated international operators have been able to cheaply or surreptitiously acquire and control critical rights in areas as diverse as medicinal formulas and music. Other African IP assets like folklore, traditional medical remedies and traditional symbols and designs are regularly “discovered” by western visitors who then assert that the communities that created these knowledge assets have no property claims to them, only to turn around and introduce them into western markets as proprietary IP assets." The full article is available at but I really hope that another 7 years from now, we're not preaching the same sermon.
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Jun 15, 2010