On the need to protect indigenous informants: Pauline Foster, Terri Janke, ‘Keeping cultural knowledge with indigenous research protocols: A case study on the Kimberley land council’s intellectual property and traditional knowledge policy’, Indigenous Law Bulletin, 8, 18, 2015, pp. 17-20
Abstract: Indigenous peoples are constantly approached for research purposes. When researchers call on Indigenous peoples to hand over their knowledge, family histories, stories and images, Indigenous cultural and intellectual rights are at risk. The Kimberley Land Council (‘Council’) has implemented a policy to ensure that research is conducted in accordance with ethical standards so that the rights of Kimberley Aboriginal people are protected from exploitation. It aims to ameliorate the impact of Australian intellectual property laws which fall short of protecting traditional knowledge, thereby giving effect to principles recognised in international law. It mandates that researchers obtain the free, prior informed consent of traditional owners through the Council, duly attribute their assistance and ensure that they partake in any resultant benefits and intellectual property rights. This measure has limited avenues for abuse by providing a contractual safeguard in an area where existing legal frameworks are largely inadequate.
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