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Indigenous Music and the Law: An Analysis of National and International Legislation

  • Sherylle Mills


Western music is regarded as a piece of individual property, performed to entertain and appeal to the listener's emotions. With this conception of music, it is understandable when Westerners fail to comprehend, or even openly ridicule, the regulation of music's “power.” Traditional communities, however, frequently ascribe vast powers to their music: the power to heal sickness, create bountiful game, cause lightning to strike, kill, and, in one case, free a man from prison (Von Sturmer 1987). With such immense powers, it is logical to carefully restrict and regulate the use, rather than financial profits, of music. Western law, however, has evolved in tandem with Western music, focusing primarily on the protection of individual property rights and financial profits. Thus, traditional music and Western law clash at the most fundamental level.



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Indigenous Music and the Law: An Analysis of National and International Legislation

  • Sherylle Mills


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