Younging on Traditional Knowledge and Intellectual Property

A Caribbean Steel drum, an instrument made using traditional knowledge
A Caribbean Steel drum, an instrument made using traditional knowledge

Dr. Gregory Younging, at the University of British Columbia, has an interesting essay in the Pennsylvania Journal of International Law titled “Traditional Knowledge Exists; Intellectual Property is Invented or Created“. From the introduction:

Prior to contact with Europeans between 300 and 600 years ago, Traditional Knowledge (TK) systems had developed and flourished over thousands of years in various parts of the world. These knowledge systems are rich and varied, ranging from soil and plant taxonomy, cultural and genetic information, animal husbandry, medicine and pharmacology, ecology, zoology, music, arts, architecture, social welfare, governance, conflict management, and many others. Most of these TK systems continue to exist and evolve; at the same time, they have been appropriated and subjected to Western legal regimes. Indigenous cultural expressions are manifestations of TK that are passed on by Indigenous ancestors through successive generations. They are, in turn, inherited by current, to be passed on to future, generations.