- Kritika: Essays on Intellectual Property
Edited by Peter Drahos, Gustavo Ghidini and Hanns Ullrich
Chapter 4: Making room for magic in intellectual property policy
AbstractThis chapter argues that local knowledge and innovation systems, which are often rendered invisible by the dominance of the global intellectual property system, should be included in intellectual property policy formulation in developing countries. The geographical focus of the discussion is Melanesia, where there are a range of existing systems for regulating access to knowledge and other intangible valuables, such as secrecy, magic, systems of exchange, naming and attribution rights. These systems of regulation are argued to be embedded within the social, cultural and political context of the societies they regulate. Failing to take these systems into account when extending the global intellectual property regime into new geographical contexts creates two problems. First, the creation of new forms of property rights is likely to interfere with existing systems in potentially corrosive ways. Second, the true value of these knowledge and innovation systems is missed by the global North, particularly the ways in which they suggest the need to expand our epistemic and metaphysical horizons. The chapter concludes by exploring the possibility of using intercultural legal pluralism to make room for these local systems in intellectual property regulation.
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