What we do in this area:
“Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) were originally instituted to encourage the creation and invention of public goods for the benefit of society by allowing creators and inventors to protect their intellectual property. However, IPR has become overly restrictive in recent times as corporate interests have led to an ever increasing demand for lock-down on rights.
The Shuttleworth Foundation supports initiatives that call for the establishment of national and global IPR regimes that seek an appropriate balance between encouraging innovation and benefiting society, the original purpose of creating the rights. “
This month’s highlights:
South Africa’s standards making body sub-committee on open document formats again rejected OOXML as an ISO standard, a decision in which the Foundation’s participation was decisive. OOXML was however still approved as a ISO standard through a fast track process at ISO this month
The decision comes despite it being rejected by some of the worlds most populous and economically developing countries, various concerns about the technical quality of the standard and amid rumours of irregularities in national voting processes. Mark Shuttleworth commented on the process in his blog and on the results in the media, as did Andrew Rens.
We commend the South African standards making body for adhering to the decision of the sub-committee and supporting a single document standard. Perhaps it is time to have a Southern (BRICS) voice, an answer to the west when they demand and decree standards and IP regimes that do not work in the developing world.
Andrew Rens, IPR Fellow at the Foundation, participated in the EDGE IP Research Network and a
workshop in Hong Kong, where he presented a paper on ‘Treaty Provisions on Minimum Exceptions and Limitations for Education’. The paper, which focusses on substantive changes to international copyright law in the interest of education, will be published online in June.
Andrew also went to the Yale A2K Academy Planning Meeting in New York. The meeting, at which Southern researchers were well represented, explored ways to develop a forward thinking, pro-active global research community around Access to Knowledge (A2K) issues. This is a promising initiative and we will follow post-meeting developments closely.
Participating in these events has raised the necessity of increasing A2K research capacity in SA, and importance of co-operation with Brazil and India.