Global State of Copyright and Access to Knowledge

18 November 2009 - A Workshop on Openness in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt


Although the Internet's reach is global, copyright laws remain tethered to national borders, providing different terms of protection, exceptions and limitations, and enforcement mechanisms. This has resulted in a patchwork of rights of access to copyright materials across the world, incorporating little regard for the special needs of users in developing countries. This in turn has produced both uncertainty amongst consumers about what the law allows, and 
contributed to their disenchantment with a legal system that often does not allow permit them reasonable access to materials that they need for their educational and cultural advancement. The Access to Knowledge movement is a global Internet-linked movement aiming to improve consumers' access to materials protected by copyright,including learning materials, through various mechanisms including law reform, education, and by addressing access barriers such as cost, 
availability and access to ICTs. This workshop will introduce two multi-country research programmes, one of the African Copyright and Access to Knowledge (ACA2K) Project, and the other of Consumers International (CI). These studies approach the study of copyright at the doctrinal and practical levels. The former encompasses national copyright laws, related access and case law. The practical component involves qualitative impact assessement interviews with different stakeholders to determine the impact of the legal framework on 
access. The proposed panel at IGF Egypt 2009 will feature researchers from both ACA2K and CI sharing their findings and the policy changes necessary to ensuring access-friendly copyright environments.

1. Mr. Tobias Schonwetter, Faculty of Law, University of Cape Town, 
South Africa

2. Prof. Said Aghrib from Cadi Ayyad University, Marrakech, Morocco

3. Dr. Perihan Abou Zeid, Faculty of Legal Studies and International 
Relations, Pharos University, Alexandria Egypt

4. Dr. Bassem AWAD, Chief Judge at the Egyptian Ministry of Justice 
and IP Expert

5. Pranesh Prakash, Programme Manager, the Centre for Internet and 
Society, Bangalore, India

6. Jeremy Malcolm, Project Coordinator, Consumers International, Kuala 
Lumpur, Malaysia

7. Lea Shaver, Associate Research Scholar and Lecturer in Law at Yale 
Law School, New Haven, USA

8. Hempal Shrestha, Program Officer, Bellanet Asia, Kathmandu, Nepal