Conserving Heritage: Cultural and Intellectual Property Rights
For centuries, cultural artifacts have been stolen from indigenous people, sold and displayed in violation of their beliefs. Similarly, medicinal plants developed over thousands of years by traditional healers have reaped big earnings in the pharmaceutical market--with very small profit shared with the indigenous originators. Native legend song, lore and lahguage--few are unscathed by the long history of injustice towards the intellectual and cultural property rights of indigenous people.
One challenge in dealing with these rights is in balancing two distinct ideas as to how they should be handled. One view, subscribed to by many indigenous peoples, holds that they themselves must protect their own traditions, ideas, innovations and objects, and that only self-protection will guarantee preservation of their property and adequate compensation for its use.
Opposing this perspective is the claim of some States that, because many indigenous knowledge bases and cultural objects have universal value, they are part of the world's common heritage. Under this view, these objects and ideas should be accessible to all in society for legitimate scientific and educational purposes. it is hoped that the international Year for the World's indigenous People will increase the commitment of the international community to help indigenous people realize their rights in both …
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Publication information: Article title: Conserving Heritage: Cultural and Intellectual Property Rights. Contributors: Not available. Magazine title: UN Chronicle. Volume: 30. Issue: 2 Publication date: June 1993. Page number: 50+. © 1998 United Nations Publications. COPYRIGHT 1993 Gale Group.
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