Rightful Owners

Rightful Owners

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February 11, 2013

Likening indigenous usage of landscapes to indigenous application within ideoscapes, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples James Anaya informed the World Intellectual Property Organization that property rights bias towards the individual rather than the collective in international law is fundamental to the historic lack of recognition accorded to the accumulated traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples that produced such products as the four thousand varieties of the potato. Where outmoded doctrines like terra nullius have been rejected under contemporary international law as a discriminatory colonial rationalization of theft of indigenous peoples lands, insistence on legal patents acquired through expensive legal processes continue to exclude indigenous peoples from benefiting as rightful owners of traditional knowledge and genetic resources they developed collectively over time. Allowing the colonization of their intellectual properties through international legal regimes is in essence a continuation of the largely European process that historically alienated their rights to their inherent territories.

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