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Protection of intellectual, biological & cultural property in Papua New Guinea

Protection of intellectual, biological & cultural property in Papua New Guinea

Kathy Whimp
Mark Busse
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: ANU Press
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  • Book Info
    Protection of intellectual, biological & cultural property in Papua New Guinea
    Book Description:

    Intellectual, biological and cultural property rights are a powerful and debatable topic. They offer the possibility for protection of rights to intangible resources, including the products of knowledge and creativity. The forces of globalisation have made this subject of immediate, international concern. Struggles for ownership of intellectual property occur between and within local and global arenas. This book examines important questions which Papua New Guinea must ask in the development of intellectual property legislation. The chapters are written by specialists in the fields of medicine, law, the environment, music, genetics and traditional cultural knowledge. The wise and creative protection of intellectual, biological and cultural property is important if Papua New Guinea is to successfully define and realise its future. This book is for all those interested in finding the best policies for protecting these rights wherever they may live and work.

    eISBN: 978-1-922144-93-5
    Subjects: Law

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Abbreviations
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Contributors
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Foreword
    (pp. xi-xiii)
    Meg Taylor

    In 1992, Papua New Guinea signed the Convention on Biological Diversity. When we were planning this seminar in 1997 it became clear that many of the requirements for the implementation of the Convention had still not been addressed. Many of the issues surrounding the Convention’s implementation—the development of legal and policy frameworks for protection of cultural property and indigenous knowledge of medicinal resources, rights to the ownership of plant cultivars, the ‘fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilisation of genetic resources’ and measures to ‘respect, preserve and maintain knowledge, innovation and practices of indigenous...

  6. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xiv-xiv)
    Kathy Whimp and Mark Busse
  7. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-28)
    Mark Busse and Kathy Whimp

    In September 1991, the cover of Time magazine featured the portrait of a man, identified only as ‘Highland Tribesman, Papua New Guinea’, wearing cuscus fur on his head and a stick through his pierced septum. In addition to the question ‘Is the CIA Obsolete?’ at the top of the page, the cover carried the title ‘Lost Tribes, Lost Knowledge’ and explained that ‘When native cultures disappear, so does a trove of scientific and medical wisdom’.

    The cover story by Eugene Linden presented a popular view of indigenous knowledge, asserting that ‘an enormous trove of wisdom’ is ‘stored in the memories...

  8. 2 Intellectual property rights in Papua New Guinea
    (pp. 29-46)
    Leslie Harroun

    Intellectual property refers to the products, processes or discoveries that result from the human intellect. Examples include: inventions, works of art, computer software, medical technologies, musical compositions, geographical indications, engineering devices, plant varieties and soft drinks. Intellectual property laws give the originators of such products, processes or discoveries a limited private property right in the fruit of their labour. These rights are granted by governments. Intellectual property shares many of the characteristics associated with real and personal property—it can be owned, bought, sold, licensed, exchanged or given away. The only difference is that intellectual property is intangible; it cannot...

  9. 3 Multiple perspectives on intellectual property
    (pp. 47-61)
    Marilyn Strathern

    The concept of intellectual property has opened up possibilities for the legal protection of rights to intangible resources, including the products of knowledge and other forms of creativity. It has thus become one possible route to recognising the holders of the ‘knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities embodying traditional lifestyles relevant for the conservation of and sustainable use of biological diversity’ (Convention on Biological Diversity, Article 8(j)). The Convention leaves it open as to how signatory nations are to respond but cautions them over intellectual property rights agreements lest these run counter to rather than support its...

  10. 4 Copyrighting traditional Tolai knowledge?
    (pp. 62-80)
    Jacob L. Simet

    In 1978 the Papua New Guinea Parliament passed the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act. However, because of the absence of related depository legislation the Act was never gazetted and so it did not become law. The legislation remained in abeyance for the next twenty years until the subject of copyright re-emerged in 1997 and new legislation began to be discussed. The National Executive Council approved a revised Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Bill in 1999 for presentation to Parliament. At the same time, in anticipation that legislation would be passed in the not too distant future, the PNG government established a...

  11. 5 The National Cultural Property (Preservation) Act
    (pp. 81-95)
    Mark Busse

    The people of the Lake Murray–Middle Fly area of Western Province, among whom I carried out anthropological research in the 1980s, said that objects could never be separated in any way that mattered from the people who made them, and that one could always see the person who made an object in the object that he or she made. This was a striking claim about the relationship between objects and people and an astute statement about the complexity of objects and the capacity that certain things have for evoking complicated thoughts and feelings in those who see them or...

  12. 6 Ownership of ideas and things: a case study of the politics of the Kuk prehistoric site
    (pp. 96-115)
    John D. Muke

    In Papua New Guinea today, natural resources are seen as property to be exploited. Cultural resources are increasingly equated with natural resources and intellectual property rights provide an avenue for them, too, to be exploited. Whereas natural resources are an embodiment of nature, cultural resources are products of human society. Papua New Guinea’s unique cultural heritage includes social practices and material traces that remind present generations of their origins and the world of their ancestors. It also includes an archaeological record that goes beyond the threshold of human memory, extending over 50,000 years of human occupation.

    Understandings about the ownership...

  13. 7 Stealing music from/in Papua New Guinea
    (pp. 116-124)
    Don Niles

    In contrast to the theft of intellectual, biological and most cultural properties, which occurs for the most part from Papua New Guinea, the theft of music works both ways—there are overseas thefts of Papua New Guinea music, but also Papua New Guinean thefts of overseas music. Any discussion of cultural property rights must take this into account. This chapter deliberately uses the words ‘theft’ and ‘stealing’. In addition to being shorter and more dramatic than the phrase ‘cultural property rights’, it has more relevance, since it is only when people feel they have been wronged that questions of rights...

  14. 8 Plant genetic resources of Papua New Guinea: some thoughts on intellectual property rights
    (pp. 125-135)
    Rosa Kambuou

    Over the last 20 years, there has been an increasing interest and enthusiasm for biodiversity prospecting and the development of natural products throughout the world. The exploration of biodiversity for commercially valuable genetic resources has the potential to encourage conservation and to provide economic benefits to developing countries and their local communities. However, despite the interest and rapidly increasing number of biodiversity prospectors, there are no clear national policies or legislation in place to govern and regulate biodiversity prospecting in Papua New Guinea.

    This chapter discusses forms of law that might provide protection for intellectual property rights in plant genetic...

  15. 9 Genetic, biochemical and medicinal resources: how much can we own, protect and receive credit for?
    (pp. 136-142)
    Lohi Matainaho

    Papua New Guinea has for many years been a site and focus of many social and scientific research activities carried out by academic and research institutions both from within its borders and from overseas. The country has been a target for these activities because of its diverse assembly of language, people and environment. It is generally acknowledged that the population of Papua New Guinea is the most culturally diverse in the world and that it has a highly diverse biological environment. Such diversity and the interaction of people with the natural environment in an island country for many thousands of...

  16. 10 Access to genetic resources: legal and policy issues
    (pp. 143-168)
    Kathy Whimp

    Much of the world’s biodiversity is located in developing countries. Many of the food crops we rely on today were originally sourced from countries which are now developing or emerging industrial economies. Germplasm of many kinds has been exchanged for many years for a variety of reasons, mostly associated with agriculture.

    During the last 20 years, there have been dramatic changes in the significance of genetic material in economic and social terms. New technologies mean that some kinds of genetic material are now valuable resources for the development of yet other technologies, processes and products. As commercial interest in genetic...

  17. 11 The search for an interim solution
    (pp. 169-183)
    Brendan Tobin

    In September 1996, following a prolonged negotiation process lasting nearly three years, organisations representing the Aguaruna people of the Peruvian Amazon signed bioprospecting agreements with Washington University and the pharmaceutical arm of the Monsanto corporation, Searle and Company. The agreements provide for the collection and use of medicinal plants and associated traditional knowledge in the research and development of new pharmaceutical products.

    The framework for negotiating the agreements was provided by the International Collaborative Biodiversity Group,¹ which seeks to encourage the establishment of consortia of private sector, academic institutions and local actors for the research and development of new products...

  18. Appendix summaries of small group discussions
    (pp. 184-199)
  19. References
    (pp. 200-212)
  20. Index
    (pp. 213-216)