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close this bookRecording and Using Indigenous Knowledge: A Manual (IIRR, 1996, 211 p.)
close this folderPart 1 Indigenous knowledge and development
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentHow the manual was compiled
View the documentHow to use the manual
View the documentWhat is indigenous knowledge?
View the documentWho knows what?
View the documentCharacteristics of local systems
View the documentWhy is indigenous knowledge useful?
View the documentHelping communities conserve their IK
View the documentUsing indigenous knowledge in development
View the documentRecording IK in communities
View the documentIntellectual property rights

Intellectual property rights

Recording IK presents a dilemma. Consider traditional medicines: If we don't record IK, it is lost forever. If we do record IK, the results can be used to the disadvantage of local people—for instance, if the drugs are patented and marketed by outside firms, without any payment or benefit to the community as the inventor or source of the information.

How can we help prevent our work on IK from being abused? Here are some guidelines:

- Include local people as authors or credit them when recording their practices. Always include names, dates, and places in your records and in any document describing IK of a specific person or community.

- Help local people document their information, to become authors themselves.

- Record and use IK in the context of applied development projects.

- Leave copies of the outputs of fieldwork (e.g., maps, seasonal calendars) with the community.

- Make the outcome of your study available to the community (e.g., translate reports, make copies of videos, establish village-based databases, etc.).

- Help community members (or communities) copyright documents and patent technologies which are unique and promising.

- Help communities organize to determine for themselves how they wish to respond to inquiries from researchers and commercial companies. They might be able to bargain with such outsiders to ensure that they receive some benefits from sharing their knowledge.

- Know and comply with the local laws on export of artifacts and germplasm.