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Ten Common Questions About Intellectual Property and Human Rights


Peter K. Yu


Drake University Law School


Georgia State University Law Review, Vol. 23, 2007, pp. 709-53
Michigan State University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 04-27

Abstract:     
With the continuous expansion of intellectual property rights, there is a growing need for the development of a human rights framework for intellectual property rights. Such a framework is not only socially beneficial, but will enable the development of a balanced intellectual property system that takes human rights obligations into consideration. Developing such a framework, however, is not easy and has raised many difficult questions. Some of these questions are foundational, some of them conceptual, and the remainder merely implementational.

This article tackles in turn ten questions the author has frequently encountered when he discusses the development of a human rights framework for intellectual property rights. It is his hope that a better understanding of the answers to these questions will help promote a constructive and fruitful dialogue concerning of the interplay of intellectual property and human rights.

The ten questions explored in this article are: (1) Are intellectual property rights human rights? (2) Besides access to medicines, are there other intellectual property issues that implicate the protection of human rights? (3) Should the human rights debate separate patents from copyrights? (4) Are all forms of intellectual property rights human rights? (5) Can corporations claim protection of the right to the protection of interests in intellectual creations? (6) Does the right to private property already protect interests in intellectual creations? (7) Can human rights interests be built into the intellectual property system? (8) Will the human rights framework ratchet up existing intellectual property protection? (9) Will the human rights framework benefit indigenous peoples and traditional communities? (10) Will the human rights framework benefit less developed countries?

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Date posted: April 9, 2007 ; Last revised: February 14, 2014

Suggested Citation

Yu, Peter K., Ten Common Questions About Intellectual Property and Human Rights. Georgia State University Law Review, Vol. 23, 2007, pp. 709-53; Michigan State University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 04-27 . Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1090241

Contact Information

Peter K. Yu (Contact Author)
Drake University Law School ( email )
151 Cartwright Hall
2507 University Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50311
United States
(515) 271-2948 (Phone)
(515) 271-2530 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.peteryu.com
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