Rationales for the Legal Protection of Intangible Goods and Cultural Heritage
25 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2009
Date Written: August 2, 2009
The growing awareness by certain - particularly developing - countries of the value of their traditional knowledge and cultural heritage increasingly leads to the desire for the legal protection of such specific kinds of intangible goods. To relate these to the subject matter covered by traditional intellectual property rights, however, may not be satisfactory, since the rationales for the two fields of legal protection are hardly comparable. Rather, the specific requirements of the countries concerned need to be observed. These requirements not only, to some extent, legitimise certain privileges within the established legal protection as provided for by international legislation. Beyond that, such specific requirements are decisive for devising the framework for the protection of traditional knowledge and cultural heritage - at least, insofar as legal protection is justifiable at all. In result, a broad range of differentiations need to be observed, starting from particular concerns for the integrity of cultural heritage and its general non-commercialisation, leading to protecting the domestic authority by means of a legally protected right of access in case of the agreed commercialisation of the goods in question, but also to legal means of ensuring sufficient benefits for the countries of origin of these goods. Ultimately, the legal protection of traditional knowledge and cultural heritage must support the endeavours of the countries concerned to develop economically, based on their own resources.
Keywords: Traditional knowledge, cultural heritage, folklore, biological diversity, intellectual poperty rights, rationales for legal protection, developing countries
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