Indigenous Intellectual Property Rights

Intellectual Property
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The western world coined the term of indigenous intellectual properties to protect the intangible knowledge and culture of indigenous people. Because of different laws and ways of doing things amongst indigenous people, it has become necessary to institute some form of protection over their intellectual property outside the formal western structures available for registration of for instance, trademarks, copyright or patents.

The indigenous intellectual property can be music, dances, storytelling and more. For the indigenous people their culture and intellectual property are one and they should maintain the right according to their way of doing things to manage the intellectual property and to exclude others from accessing and using such.

Their contributions to society must be recognized in one form or another and misuse of their property prevented. As such they have the right to compensation should their indigenous intellectual property be misused or used without their authorization.

Art forms are perhaps the best example of how the indigenous people have been robbed from their means to income through their cultural expression. Imitations of for instance, African art are under indigenous intellectual property laws, an infringement of their copyrights. Even with some systems in place to protect their indigenous intellectual property rights, the systems seem to fall short.

One suggestion has been that a label of authority can be placed upon art made by the indigenous people ensuring that so-called imitations do not sell.