Public Ethics Radio: Sarah Holcombe on Indigenous Intellectual Property Rights

May 26, 2010

Australian Aborigine art. Photo by Kevin Lau (CC)

Western pharmaceutical and agricultural businesses have long recognized that there is money to be made from the traditional knowledge of local, indigenous communities. Sociologists and anthropologists also seek to gain—intellectually and academically—from conducting research on and with these communities.

What rules should govern the interaction with so-called traditional knowledge? How can intellectual property rights be designed so as to minimize harm to indigenous peoples and maximize the goods of research, and share it equitably?

This program examines questions of knowledge management, intellectual property rights, and research ethics through the lens of Australia's Aboriginal groups. Our guest is the social anthropologist Sarah Holcombe. Dr. Holcombe is a research fellow at the National Centre for Indigenous Studies at the Australian National University.

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