Intellectual Property Rights and the Right to Participate in Cultural Life
8 Pages Posted: 22 Sep 2009
Date Written: November 1, 2008
Although many contend that human rights law is a justification for intellectual property rights, precisely the opposite is true. Human rights law is far more a limit on intellectual property rights than a rationale for such regimes. In a variety of ways, human rights law requires states to take specific, concrete steps to limit the effects of intellectual property rights in order to protect international human rights. This powerful and emancipatory dimension of human rights law has unfortunately been overshadowed by those who claim human rights as a basis for granting exclusive rights.
The U.N. Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights – the body created to monitor state compliance with the terms of an international treaty called the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights – is in the process of drafting a General Comment that will interpret the “right to take part in cultural life,” a right protected under Article 15(1)(a) of the treaty. This submission was designed to provide the Committee with an overview of some of the ways in which intellectual property rights can affect this right and what states may be required to do to protect the ability of individuals to participate in cultural life.
Keywords: international human rights, human rights, international law, intellectual property, international intellectual property, right to participate in cultural life, cultural participation
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