Traditional Knowledge (TK) Licenses

In 2008, we began developing the TK Licenses concept. Inspired by Creative Commons ( and in conversation with Indigenous communities, our goal was to develop a new and complementary set of licenses that addressed the diversity of Indigenous needs in relation to intellectual property. This work received funding from IPinCH ( and WIPO ( and was part of the original NEH grant funding to develop Mukurtru CMS ( for Indigenous digital content management.

Ongoing collaboration with our partner communities showed that the immediate concern was around negotiating and managing cultural heritage material where Indigenous individuals or communities did not hold the copyright. Instead third parties like researchers and institutions were the legal rights holders. With this focus, we developed a set of TK Labels (see here). The Labels are an educative and non-legal intervention addressing the enormous amounts of Indigenous cultural heritage material that circulates without Indigenous perspectives or protocols regarding fair and equitable circulation and use. We currently have 4 TK Licenses in development and we continue to refine these for future use.

TK Attribution (TK A)

TK Outreach (TK O)

TK Commercial (TK C)

TK Non-Commercial (TK NC)