Free Seeds, Not Free Beer: Participatory Plant Breeding, Open Source Seeds, and Acknowledging User Innovation in Agriculture
37 Pages Posted: 17 Apr 2009 Last revised: 28 Jul 2009
Date Written: April 17, 2009
This essay discusses the expansion of intellectual property rights in plants, plant tissues and genetic sequences in plants and problems this poses for global food supply and agriculture. The article then goes on to analyze recent treaties such as the 2001 International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGR) and ways that such treaties create a "limited commons" in certain plant genetic resources. The article then goes on to discuss ways that open source software licenses may be adapted to the plant genetic resources context, and argues that open source seed licens may be a vehicle for leveraging greater access to plant genetic resources by farmers and public plant breeders around the world.
Keywords: plant genetic resources, agriculture, intellectual property, open source licenses, Biolinux
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