Alternative Approaches for Protecting Indigenous Traditional Knowledge

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Article: Mackay, Erin, Indigenous Traditional Knowledge, Copyright and Art-Shortcomings in Protection and an Alternative Approach (October 9, 2009). UNSW Law Journal, Vol. 32, pp. 1-26, 2009.

Available at SSRN:


"Whether Anglo-Australian intellectual property laws can adequately protect Indigenous traditional knowledge has sparked much debate. Part I of this paper examines the interaction between copyright law and Indigenous art, and argues that an approach based on copyright is largely misconceived and wrongly discourages a consideration of mechanisms that lie outside copyright law. There are possibilities beyond copyright that need to be explored, including a ‘sui generis’ framework of rights. Part II of the paper focuses on such a framework-in particular, what is intended to be achieved by such an approach and whether such a framework should be implemented in Australia is considered."