Traditional Knowledge

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is examining intellectual property considerations of traditional knowledge, genetic resources and cultural expressions.  This impacts research libraries, which can house data collected in collaboration with indigenous peoples.

CARL members believe that a balance between the protection of ancestral knowledge and sharing knowledge through libraries can be achieved. International agreements should reflect this reality.

In this, CARL support’s IFLA’s guiding principles that:

Traditional Cultural Expressions and Expressions of Folklore and Traditional Knowledge may be protected, as long as suitable checks and balances are in place that do not unduly undermine the ability of libraries and archives to fulfil their core mandates and that do not erode the broader copyright balance.

It is important to differentiate between material that is donated to institutions or collected by institutions (or persons) under an explicit agreement of deposit, access and use with identifiable persons or identifiable representatives of a specific traditional group; and material that has been acquired by the institution without any such agreements. (Full text)

CARL also supports the concurring position of the Canadian Library Association on this issue.