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The Public Domain in Genomics

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Eisenberg, Rebecca S.
Conference: Conference on a Free Information Ecology in the Digital Environment
Location: New York University School of Law
Conf. Date: March31-April 2, 2000
Date: 2000
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/697
Sector: General & Multiple Resources
Information & Knowledge
Subject(s): public domain
genetic resources
Abstract: "The public domain has played a conspicuous role in the race between public and private sector initiatives to complete the sequence of the human genome. The issue of whether the human genome will be freely available or controlled by private firms as a proprietary resource has captured the attention of the public, or at least the media. Three recent stories in the press suggest that there is much at stake in policy debates over the relative merits of free access to genomic information in the public domain versus licensed access under proprietary contraints. First are the leaks and revelations concerning the unsuccessful (or at least not yet successful) efforts of the public and private sectors to join forces to complete this monumental scientific achievement together. Second is the joint statement of U.S. President Bill Clinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair that "[r]aw fundamental data on the human genome, including the human DNA sequence and its variations, should be made freely available to scientists everywhere," and the sharp reaction to this announcement in the financial markets. Third, and less remarked, is the announcement by a consortium of private pharmaceutical firms that they are willing to provide funding to assemble the deluge of human DNA sequence information from the publicly-funded human genome project, evidently at the behest of the public sponsors, in order to accelerate the completion of the Human Genome Project in the public domain."

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