The Ghana National Folklore Board is initiating a legal action against Marvel Studios, producers of “Black Panther” for using the country’s celebrated traditional fabric, “Kente” in some of the costumes without appropriate permission.
The Board will be suing Marvel over alleged patent and copyright breaches.
According to the acting Director of the National Folklore Board, Nana Adjoa Adobea, Marvel was required under copyright laws, to have sought permission from it before going ahead to use Ghana’s kente in the film that broke several box office records netting 1.344 billion dollars as of May 22, 2018.
She added: “We are preparing a legal dossier.”
Though she said preparations have started on initiating the case, Ghana was yet to officially write to Marvel to express its concerns regarding the alleged breaches and accordingly serve notice of a possible suit.
“The strategy is that we are not going in for a fight,” she indicated, adding “it is not adversarial”.
Rather, Ms Adobea said the Board will “sit down with them [Marvel Studios], negotiate as to how they can compensate [Ghana] because they were to come for permission but they did not”.
She explained permissions are not required of anyone intending to use any of the Ghanaian symbols and folklore in a customary context or for personal use.
More to face sanctions over breaches?
Meanwhile, the Ms Adobea says the Board will go after Starz, producers of ‘American Gods TV’ series for allegedly misrepresenting the Akan folkloric character Ananse as a god in the sequel instead of a trickster spider.
Another case she said the Board would pursue is one involving the popular Italian fashion designer, Velentino [Velentino Garavani], for allegedly commercializing the Ahenema royal African sandals.
She said the Board has written to all corporate institutions who intend to use any of the Adinkra symbols for their corporate logo or commercialization to seek permission from the Board before doing same.
“With regards to Black Panther, you know there was a lot of Kente. Adinkra symbols also featured heavily in the movie. So they are also part of the foreign claims that we intend to take upon,” Ms Adobea said.