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Report on copyright policy and the right to science and culture

24 December 2014
Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights
To the Human Rights Council at its 28th session, March 2015


For her 2015 reports to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly, the Special Rapporteur focused on the impact of intellectual property regimes on the enjoyment of right to science and culture.  


In this report, the Special Rapporteur examines copyright law and policy from the perspective of the right to science and culture, emphasizing both the need for protection of authorship and expanding opportunities for participation in cultural life.

Recalling that protection of authorship differs from copyright protection, the Special Rapporteur proposes several tools to advance the human rights interests of authors.

The Special Rapporteur also proposes to expand copyright exceptions and limitations to:

  • empower new creativity
  • enhance rewards to authors
  • increase educational opportunities
  • preserve space for non-commercial culture
  • promote inclusion and access to cultural works

An equally important recommendation is to promote cultural and scientific participation by encouraging the use of open licences, such as those offered by Creative Commons.


To study the question of copyright law and policy from a cultural rights perspectice,  the Special Rapporteur organised a public consultation in June 2014. She aimed to address the challenges regarding the implementation of the right of everyone to benefit from any scientific, literary or artistic production. She also set out to explore the concrete obstacles met by authors, creators and inventors to enjoy this right.

See the note verbale

Discussions during the public consultation and written contributions provided enough material for the Special Rapporteur to produce 2 thematic reports.

See the other report page on patent policy 

Learn more about the impact of intellectual property regimes on the enjoyment of right to science and culture on the issue page

Written contributions received

States Members of the United Nations

Persons and civil society organisations

Special Procedures
Special Rapporteur on Cultural Rights
Recent thematic reports
Issues in Focus
Contact Information

Karima Bennoune, Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Telephone: +41 22 917 96 30
Fax: +41 22 917 90 06

Personal Twitter page of the Special Rapporteur

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