Intellectual Property and Development as Freedom
Since 1990, the United Nations has understood development in the broad terms of expanding human capabilities, thanks in part to Amartya Sen. Sen's vision of “development as freedom” is pluralist, measuring development on the capacity for many freedoms. These freedoms range from basic needs, such as the right to life and health, to more expansive freedoms of movement, creative work, and participation in social, economic, and cultural institutions. Intellectual property (IP) law is essential to all of these freedoms and regulates our capacity to participate in cultural and scientific creation. A broader understanding of IP and development as freedom recognizes the importance of participating in the process of knowledge creation. The poor must be recognized as both receivers and producers of knowledge. In the Knowledge Age, wealth lies not simply in access to other people's knowledge, but also in the ability to produce new knowledge and to benefit from this creation, culturally and economically.
Keywords: traditional knowledge, geographical indications, WIPO Development Agenda, cultural environmentalism, Amartya Sen, public domain, poor people's knowledge, romance of the public domain, knowledge society
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