Intellectual Property and Human Rights

Intellectual Property and Human Rights

A Paradox

Edited by Willem Grosheide

In the modern era where the rise of the knowledge economy is accompanied, if not facilitated, by an ever-expanding use of intellectual property rights, this timely book provides a much needed explanation to the relationship between intellectual property law and human rights law.

Chapter 10: Introduction

Lucky Belder

Subjects: law - academic, human rights, intellectual property law, politics and public policy, human rights


Lucky Belder* The third part of this book on the nexus between intellectual property rights and human rights regards the effects of human rights provisions as restricting the scope and the exercise of intellectual property rights. The process of globalisation and liberalisation of trade is of great importance in the fight against poverty and the improvement of access to food and medicines. The development and the production of these essentials is increasingly controlled by economic interests that are protected by intellectual property rights. At the same time, the development of new technology, new media and uses of these media has resulted in a fast forwarding of adaptation of legislation to secure interests by intellectual property right holders. The access to these media and the information communicated by these media is the cause of an increasing digital divide, in which economic interests decide the access to and the content of the new media economy. A third aspect is the complex relationship between (representatives of) indigenous communities as holders of traditional cultural expressions and traditional knowledge, and the agricultural, pharmaceutical and creative industries that are in search of new sources of information. The question today is how to reconcile these interests in international legislation and regulate recognition and remuneration for these original communities.1 All of these developments have made it necessary to rethink the scope of intellectual property rights and the balance between private and public interests. The codification of both intellectual property rights and human rights finds its justification in arguments...