Body Parts: Property Rights and the Ownership of Human Biological Materials

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Georgetown University Press, Aug 1, 1997 - Law - 223 pages
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In Body Parts, E. Richard Gold examines whether the body and materials derived from it -- such as human organs and DNA -- should be thought of as market commodities and subject to property law. Analyzing a series of court decisions concerning property rights, Gold explores whether the language and assumptions of property law can help society determine who has rights to human biological materials.

Gold observes that the commercial opportunities unleashed by advances in biotechnology present a challenge to the ways that society has traditionally valued the human body and human health. In a balanced discussion of both commercial and individual perspectives, Gold asserts the need to understand human biological materials within the context of human values, rather than economic interests.

This perceptive book will be welcomed by scholars and other professionals engaged in questions regarding bioethics, applied ethics, the philosophy of value, and property and intellectual property rights. Given the international aspects of both intellectual property law and biotechnology, this book will be of interest throughout the world and especially valuable in common-law (most English-speaking) countries.


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The Diversity of Values
Property Discourse and the Body
Property Discourse Evaluated
The Discourse of Discovery
Refocusing the Phenomena of Nature Argument 75 Patenting Living
Public Personae and Value
Hiding Behind Economic Values
Diverse Values in the Body and in Health
The Sacred Body and the Profane Body 132 Human Health 134
DDNA Fragments 140 Organ Donation
Commensurability 147 Valuing Color 149 The Lack of
Unaccounted and Unaccountable Value
The Language of the Market 171 The Evolution of the Property

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About the author (1997)

Gold is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Law at The University of Western Ontario.

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