Access to Knowledge in the Age of Intellectual Property
1224 days ago
A new book on Access to Knowledge in the Age of Intellectual Property has been published by MIT Press. It is downloadable free of charge.
As James Boyle of Duke University and author of The Public Domain states :
"This a must-have for university libraries, but it is also something that will be read intently, tactically, and sometimes uneasily, in venues ranging from WIPO to the university classroom. Highly recommended."
1 November 2010
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Global Research Report: Africa
1378 days ago
The Global Research Report on Africa 2010 provides useful information about research trends in African countries, as well as problems and challenges on the continent. The Feasibility Study on the AfricaConnect Initiative (Dec 2008-Dec 2009) highlights ICT challenges and opportunities in Africa and implications for African research.
Although copyright does not feature in this report, the copyright laws in most African countries do not address their domestic or developmental situations and these laws create barriers to access to knowledge and resource-sharing. The research done by the African Copyright & Access to Knowledge (ACA2K) Project from 2007-2010 confirms that current copyright laws in 8 study countries, including South Africa, are not facilitating access to knowledge - in fact, they are creating barriers and are impacting on education, research and development in general on those countries and others. .
Many African countries are reviewing their copyright laws, and it is hoped that they will include adequate and appropriate limitations and exceptions for research, education, libraries and persons with sensory-disabilities. Many of these countries are members of the Africa Group, and now the new Development Agenda Group, and they support the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO)'s Development Agenda, so they should be amending their national copyright laws accordingly.
31 May 2010
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On 20 May 2010, the Intellectual Property Amendment Bill, 2010 (Traditional Knowledge) was presented to the Portfolio Committee for Trade and Industry by the Department of Trade and Industry. Despite objections and recommendations made by many stakeholders, including the educational and library sectors, through written submissions and at various public hearings around South Africa, the Bill is virtually the same as the original version published for comment in 2008. Public hearings scheduled for May 2010 have now been postponed until July 2010 (dates unknown at this stage).
Apart from not including any limitations and exceptions for research, education, libraries and persons with sensory-disabilities, it fails to address a number of key issues and queries that stakeholders across the board have raised about the Bill, e.g. vague definitions for traditional knowledge works and indigenous communities, problem clauses, ownership by a National Trust ; fixation issues around folklore, and many others.
The results of the Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) commissioned by the Presidency and the Department of Trade and Industry during 2009 have not yet been made public. For the sake of transparency, and before this Bill proceeds any further, it is incumbent on the Department of Trade and Industry to make the RIA open to the public and to inform the public why their recommendations and objections have been ignored to date.
24 May 2010
This article is the personal view of the author, Denise Rosemary Nicholson ( email@example.com) and does not purport to be the view/opinion of her institution or any other organisation or individual
traditional knowledge; copyright; south africa
Research Outputs of African Copyright & Access to Knowledge (ACA2K) Project Now Available!
1613 days ago
The African Copyright & Access to Knowledge (ACA2K) Project has been probing the relationship between national copyrght environments and access to knowledge in 8 African countries, namely, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Mozambique, Senegal, South Africa and Uganda.The project has been probing this relationship within an access to knowledge (A2K) framework - a framework which regards the protection/promotion of user access as one of the central objectives of copyright law.
Briefing Papers are available as follows:
Model Copyright Law Launched online
1650 days ago
Electronic Information for Libraries (eIFL) has launched its digital version of its Model Copyright Law. This Model law was based on the Model Copyright Law of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and has been expanded to accommodate appropriate limitations and exceptions for libraries and education. eIFL sought legal advice from intellectual property experts around the world. This Model Law provides a framework for Governments, especially in developing countries, to review their copyright laws and to adopt more balanced national copyright laws.
As Kevin Smith states in his blog article on this model law, "Its clear set of definitions and the explanatory notes that accompany each exception and limitation make it ideal for gaining a synoptic view of the state of international copyright law. Most important is the consistent focus on the public interest and the socially beneficial purpose that copyright law is intended to serve".
Copyright limitations and exceptions are now a key item on the WIPO Development Agenda and WIPO has commissioned a number of studies in recent years on copyright limitations and exceptions. In 2008, a study on copyright limitations and exceptions for libraries and archives was done by Dr. Kenneth Crews. During 2009, five researchers in different regions of the world were commissioned by WIPO to do a study on limitations and exceptions for education.
In the African Copyright and Access to Knowledge (ACA2K) Project's preliminary findings, (Briefing Paper 1 and Briefing Paper 2) it was found that all eight study countries in Africa, (i.e. South Africa, Kenya, Mozambique, Ghana, Morocco, Uganda, Egypt and Senegal) were compliant with, or had stricter copyright laws than were required by international copyright agreements. A study by the Consumer International in 2006 showed that the copyright laws in all eleven study countries in Asia far exceeded the requirements of international copyright agreements. Limitations and exceptions, particularly for development purposes, had not been promoted by WIPO in its assistance to these countries.
eIFL's Model Copyright Law is therefore very timeous. It offers model limitations and exceptions that are designed to facilitate access to knowledge and the public interest. It also provides a model for developing countries which have few, if any, limitations and exceptions to facilitate access to knowledge. The ACA2K preliminary findings also showed that infringing activities, rather than copyright law, were facilitating access to knowledge, particularly learning materials, in the eight study countries.
1 September 2009
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Does South Africa need a Public Lending Right?
1707 days ago
The Academic and Non-Fiction Authors Association (ANFASA) is proposing to introduce a Public Lending Right (PLR) into South African libraries, according to an article by Dugie Standeford of IP Watch. See article at http://www.ip-watch.org/weblog/2009/06/29/south-african-authors-seek-first-public-lending-right-in-a-developing-country/. This was also announced at a recent DALRO workshop in May 2009, where the Director of ANFASA said that academic authors and reference works would also be included in this proposal.
“The first priority is that monies allocated for cultural and educational purposes should be used to provide wide access to education and the development of a good public library service and infrastructure. Libraries must be able to focus their budgets on improving literacy rates and addressing basic educational needs, providing students with access to modern learning resources and developing innovative services to bring needed information to rural or underprivileged communities e.g. healthcare, agricultural techniques and democratic participation."
Public lending right; PLR; libraries; authors
Portals on Copyright and Plagiarism at Wits
1732 days ago
Copyright and plagiarism issues have become a real headache for tertiary institutions today. The ease of cutting and pasting from the Internet has increased the number of copyright infringements and acts of plagiarism. Users of the Internet tend to think that everything is free. This is not the case!
Although there may be millions of free items available on the Web, there are just as many works protected by copyright law, licences, subscriptions and technological protection measures which restrict access to that digital content. Webpages generally provide information about copyright and usage conditions. Click-wrap and shrink-wrap licences, as well as proprietary or open source licences determine how digital material may be used. When using others' works, even if they are freely available, due acknowledgement must be given to the authors/creators.
To assist lecturers and students in dealing with copyright and plagiarism issues, Denise Nicholson, Copyright Services Librarian at Wits, has an online Copyright Information Webpage, as well as a Portal on Copyright and Related Issues and a Plagiarism Portal. Linked to both of these Portals is the Journalism and Media Studies Portal, These resources are all available on the Wits Library website.
11 June 2009
Latest Post - Category: Top Level Category
Join millions of people and organizations around the globe in celebrating Open Access Week from 19-23 October 2009. Think of new ways you can promote Open Access in your work, research or teaching environments!!
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Draft Regulations to the South African IPR from Public Financed Research Act were recently published for public comment . The closing date for submissions to the Department of Science & Technology is 8 May 2009.
Institutions and researchers are invited to peruse the Draft to see what implications the Regulations will have for their research activities in and outside South Africa.
In his blog, ex Africa semper aliquid novi, Andrew Rens of the Shuttleworth Foundation suggests that Regulation 12 is unconstitutional. What do you think? Have your say. Submit your comments to your institution's Legal Office or Research Office or submit them directly to the SA Department of Science and Technology Private Bag X894 Pretoria, 0001, or c/o Building 53, CSIR Campus, 627 Meiring Naude Road Brummeria Pretoria, 0184, Fax No: 086 685 0663 or
Attention: Tsitso Daniel Rasenyalo
20 April 2009
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The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) in Canada has just launched its publication "Introducing Copyright – a plain language guide to copyright in the 21st century" .
The author, Julien Hofman, reminds readers that " this book is a map, not a guidebook. It introduces you to copyright and its important features and explains how they fit together."
Topics covered are: Copyright History; International Copyright Agreements; Copyright Works; Holders' Rights; Users' Rights; Copyright Licences; Collecting Societies; Open Licences; Digital Rights Management; Software Protection; Traditional Knowledge and Copyright Reform.
8 April 2009
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