A number of international agreements on human rights either refer to intellectual property or have become a forum in which the relationship between intellectual property and human rights is discussed. The globalization of intellectual property and the seeming imbalance of rights between developing and developed countries has shone new light on the relationship between intellectual property rights and human rights.272 The Internet has also contributed to this debate, whereby claims to copyright protection have been seen to conflict with freedom of access to information and freedom of expression. The meaning of human rights and intellectual property issues emerged through discussions within a subcommittee of the United Nations, which set an agenda suggesting there was an extreme conflict between human rights and the TRIPS Agreement.273
Intellectual property has been “a normative backwater in the human rights pantheon, neglected by treaty bodies, experts, and commentators while other rights emerged from the jurisprudential shadows”.274 This is certainly true if one looks at human rights treaties that pre-date the TRIPS Agreement by a number of decades. The UDHR provides:
Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits. Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.275
Exactly what this means for intellectual property law is not clear. However, the second...
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