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Bodyright© Biotechnological Body and Law

Anno XXXIII, n. 147, novembre-dicembre 1998
Centro Einaudi


Testo disponibile solo in lingua inglese.
Bodyright© is a neologism which alludes to the way in which technoscience has changed the legal view of the human body. From a legal point of view, the body is at the centre of a number of dilemmas; it may be perceived as a legal subject and/or a legal object, the parts of the body may be considered equal or different one from another and the creation of human bioproducts poses the problem of the artificialisation and patentability of the body. The only feature which the different parts of the body appear to share is that they are res extra commercium, but recent legislation on the patentability of biological inventions would appear to legitimise any form of commercialisation, once the body has been transformed technologically. Apart from these inconsistencies, however, a coherent legal framework emerges vis-à-vis the possibility of conceiving of the human body (and the human being) as an informational material. The dual concept of privacy and copyright composes the legal pattern which translates the informational body. However, the sharp division between autonomous subject and patentable human materials renders the human body all the more devoid of legal protection.