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Intellectual Property Rights and the Ancient Indian Perspective


Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) appear to be vital for the sustenance of our present society. Not only do they seem to protect the original works of creators but they also fight infringement, a major problem in today’s world. But do we really need to fear the use of our works by others? Is it right to consider knowledge as a commodity and seek recognition for it? Ancient Indian scriptures appear to suggest that people of the Indian sub-continent did not uphold the concept of ownership of bases of knowledge and believed that knowledge was to be passed down without reservations: A Parampara (tradition ) of the Guru ( the erudite teacher) and Sishya (the understudy). This article is an effort to understand the views and values of the present and past that appear consistently divergent. In this paper we also recognise the growing initiatives that call for knowledge to be freely shared through means of open licensing. In fact these initiatives across the world are indicative of a rising movement with high potential for change in people’s perspectives for a better world where knowledge is free. This paper in this context is our humble attempt to reconnect with the values of the past.


Intellectual property rights, Ancient India, Vedas, Creative Commons, knowledge sharing, MIT OpenCourseWare


Author Biography

Janani Ganapathi

PhD Candidate

Venkat Pulla

Senior Lecturer and Coordinator, Social Work Discipline


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