Doing research can make us privy to the private intellectual knowledge of other societies and communities. In such instances, a clear and firm understanding of the responsibility of secrecy and transmission should be sought.
Ethically researchers should work based on the principle that interviewees retain intellectual property rights over the content of interviews.
Professor Laura Nader was an anthropologist who did her research with indigenous groups in Mexico. She became aware her material could be exploited by multinational pharmaceutical companies and therefore refused to publish data they could exploit.
"My own field notes, work supported by a Mexican government grant, are replete with information on indigenous knowledge that is exploitable. I never published this material, and have destroyed data that might give leads to exploitation by multinational pharmaceuticals... The people that anthropologists have traditionally studied may want us to help defend their intellectual and genetic property. When we do not whole areas close down to anthropological research."