Toward a Framework for Digitalising Protection of Indigenous Knowledge Systems

By Elifas Tangeni Angula (Master in progress)


ETIndigenous Knowledge (IK) forms an important contribution to research and development, particularly in areas such as arts, pharmaceuticals, and agriculture and cosmetic products. In the context of these uses, Indigenous people have claims that their rights as traditional knowledge holders and custodians of this knowledge are not adequately recognized or protected. They demand not only recognition and protection of this knowledge, but also the right to share equitably in benefits derived from the uses of this knowledge. As much as Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is promoted as a tool to protect Indigenous Knowledge as per international laws of IP and patenting, ICT evenly carries the risks to achieve exactly the opposite.

This project aims to explore further risks in inappropriate handling of IK through ICTs and seeks to develop a framework for digital protection of IK. Issues such as , e.g. ownership authentication, access and sharing rights of rightful owners among others will be considered in the collection, documentation and dissemination of indigenous knowledge using digital technology.

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