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THE MAIN ELEMENTS OF A COMMUNITY RIGHTS ACT


Draft (30.4.1999)

1.The community is declared and recognised as the owners of community knowledge. They hold this right as custodians for past, present and future members of the community.

This means the following :

a. Their knowledge and all innovation within the community belong to the community or communities.

b. It belongs to them in perpetuity.

c. The community's or communities' prior informed consent must be sought for any access to their knowledge.

d. Such consent can be refused.

e. The integrity of the knowledge cannot be impaired. This means that no exclusive monopoly, or similar, rights can be claimed or given in respect of that knowledge. It therefore means that the knowledge is inalienable.

2. All elements of the culture, system and practices of communities are formally recognised.

This means :

a. The entire identity and integrity of the knowledge system replete with its values, rituals and sacredness is accorded recognition.

b. This includes the practice of free exchange of knowledge and innovations between communities.

3. The community is entitled to allow for the commercial utilisation of its knowledge and innovation on mutually agreed terms.

4. If evidentiary proof of the knowledge is required, any declaration by the community in a manner and form accepted by the cultural practices of the community shall be sufficient evidence of its existence.

This implies also that the onus will lie on any person contending otherwise to prove its claim.

5. More than one community may be the owner of the knowledge and the innovation.

6. Any payments made for the use of the knowledge shall be paid into a fund to be co-administered by the community. The funds shall be used for, inter alia, the protection, development, strengthening and maintenance of the community and its knowledge and resources.

 


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