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Authorship, Communities and Intellectual Property Rights

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Oksanen, Markku
Conference: Crossing Boundaries, the Seventh Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Conf. Date: June 10-14
Date: 1998
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/419
Sector: Information & Knowledge
Social Organization
Region:
Subject(s): IASC
intellectual property rights
biodiversity--theory
genetic resources
indigenous knowledge
patents
environment--theory
Abstract: From the Author's Paper: "This paper deals with the issue of intellectual property rights (IPRs) regarding the intellectual commons from the philosophical perspective and pays particular attention to it in respect to the preservation of biodiversity. In other words, the paper explores by means of conceptual analysis the idea of extending of intellectual property right to cover indigenous knowledge about the natural world. So, it examines what are the logical limits of the IP system and how the IP system can, and should, be modified to make it ecologically sustainable and socially just.... "To clarify the anomalous situation, to increase social justice and to promote sustainable use of genetic resources, one prominent thesis advocates the idea that decision making regarding the use of genetic resources ought to be decentralised so that the role of local communities (including indigenous peoples and traditional communities) would be properly acknowledged. Politically this means that local communities are assigned somewhat autonomous position in matters of resource management so that they were responsible for their use. It is an open question whether this autonomy includes or whether it should include the possibility for traditional and indigenous communities to apply for patents on their knowledge of the genetic resources that reside in their territory and obtain royalties from the use of these resources. So the main question is: can traditional and indigenous communities be authors of intellectual property objects in an appropriate sense and thus be granted intellectual property rights to genetic resources? And if they can, should they then have patents on these objects? "It is evident that international instruments are needed to protect indigenous peoples and local communities against forceful external interests but it is at issue whether the right way to protect their interests is to implement a system of intellectual property rights or whether we need entirely different institutional arrangements and sets of norms."

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