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The Right to Science and Culture

Lea Shaver

Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law

March 6, 2009

Wisconsin Law Review 2010, no. 1 121-184

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.” This Article suggests how this text may offer a philosophical and legal basis to constrain the further expansion of protectionism in international IP law.

Drawing on accepted methodologies of human rights interpretation and recent research from legal and economic scholars on the value of preserving the knowledge commons, the Article offers a theory of “the right to science and culture” as requiring a public goods approach to knowledge innovation and diffusion. The Article then translates this public goods theory into concrete guidance for policy makers seeking to implement human rights obligations, and for jurists asked to adjudicate rights-based challenges to copyright and patent laws. In conclusion, this Article suggests that reviving attention to this long-marginalized provision of international public law may provide an important rhetorical and legal tool with which to open up new possibilities for sensible IP reform.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 64

Keywords: human rights, intellectual property, access to knowledge, universal declaration, UDHR, socio-economic rights, cultural rights, Article 27, ICESCR, Article 15, science, culture, technology

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Date posted: March 6, 2009 ; Last revised: May 3, 2014

Suggested Citation

Shaver, Lea, The Right to Science and Culture (March 6, 2009). Wisconsin Law Review 2010, no. 1 121-184 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1354788 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1354788

Contact Information

Lea Bishop Shaver (Contact Author)
Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law ( email )
530 West New York Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202
United States

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