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International Journal of Cultural Property provides a vital, international, and multidisciplinary forum for the spectrum of views surrounding cultural property, cultural heritage, and related issues. Its mission is to develop new ways of dealing with cultural property debates, to be a venue for the proposal or enumeration of pragmatic policy suggestions, and to be accessible to a wide audience of professionals, academics, and lay readers. This peer-reviewed journal publishes original research papers, case notes, documents of record, chronicles, conference reports, and book reviews. Contributions come from the wide variety of fields implicated in the debates - law, anthropology, public policy, archaeology, history, preservation, ethics, economics, museum-, tourism-, and heritage studies - and from a variety of perspectives and interests - indigenous, Western, and non-Western; academic, professional and amateur; consumers and producers - to promote meaningful discussion of the complexities, competing values, and other concerns that form the environment within which these disputes exist.
In a rapidly globalizing world, indigenous knowledge is in mortal danger, and it will require new forms of intellectual property protection to save it. There are fundamental incongruities between Western intellectual property law and indigenous knowledge that prevent the current international intellectual property framework from fully comprehending or addressing the contexts and needs of indigenous knowledge. This article will review the history of international and regional initiatives to develop protection for indigenous knowledge. It will consider the geopolitical context that has informed discussions about protecting the intangible wealth of indigenous peoples, including the recent addition of articulate and impassioned indigenous voices to the conversation. Finally, this article will discuss some of the concerns that have been raised about subjecting indigenous knowledge to a system of formal legal regulation.
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