Assessment of the status of the Bible and the Quran under intellectual property law, with emphasis on traditional knowledge and cultural expression
Muriithi, Albert Mwangi
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This paper critically examines the intellectual property law surrounding the Scriptures of the Abrahamic faiths: The Bible- consisting of the Old Testament and the New Testament- and the Quran. Despite being revered throughout the world and having some measure of influence on a possible majority of the cultures of the world, these Scriptures are still the product of specific cultures that wrote them down and first held them as their own cultural treasures. That ideally would entitle them to some form of protection under the law of traditional knowledge and cultural expression. Additionally, the texts have been subject time and again to cultural and personal reinterpretations by different persons and groups of persons, often with detrimental consequences to the ideal cohesion of society. This includes but is not limited to manipulation of persons for the personal benefit of others, factionalism, and conflict both within and among religious groups. The purpose of this dissertation is to analyse the legal sphere behind the cultural preservation of the Scriptures in question, to discover the steps that can reasonably be taken to place these Scriptures under at the protection of a cultural authority to preserve the original cultural expression and doctrinal interpretation of the original authors and their primary audience. Hopefully, this may provide a legal dam to protect the original cultural meaning from being permanently lost in translation and transmission.