What are the critical issues around intellectual property rights (IPR) for Africa? How does one understand the context of the existing legal processes and tools? Can Africa discuss alternatives to the current situation? And, can all concerned build collaboration among themselves? For a month between late June and August 2005, an e-debate gets underway over these key issues.
Non-governmental organisations from across the globe have come out in support of a proposal submitted by the Group of Friends of Development (FoD) for a development agenda at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)." Some 99 organisations (at the time of writing) have supported the demand.
Convincing business and government to ensure that modern information and communication technologies (ICTs) have no harmful impacts on their users is proving to be a difficult job. Besides, in the global village, non-uniform standards and a lack of compatibility among various systems are blocking people and technologies from communicating freely and working effectively.
Cambodia’s Community Information Center web portal — www.cambodiacic.org — is currently the only large web portal available in the Khmer language. Content is fed daily to this web portal, with an average of 15 articles coming in from media and non-media news sources.
European parliament has reject the plan to allow software patents. This is being seen as providing a "breathing space for new initiatives based on all the knowledge gained during the last five years".
After providing over 50,000 high quality refurbished computers, the UK not-for-profit Computer Aid International has now put down roots by opening a permanent office in Nairobi. Computer Aid International is a member of the APC.
When the world meets up at Tunisia, in coming November, during the World Summit on the Information Society, this meet signals global recognition that information and communication technologies can play a major role in social and economic development and contribute significantly towards poverty alleviation. South Africa’s civil society takes a look at the focus and objectives of the WSIS.
By a (legal) sleight of hand, the European Parliament 2003 vote against software patents has been effectively overturned, allowing monopoly control over the critical tools of an ‘information society’. This threatens both the free and unhindered access to information, and even free speech.
Synesthesia Urbania is a collaborative audio/visual public performance integrating mobile devices, a multilingual multimedia online workspace (moblog), collective copyright licensing and a custom 3D performance engine. Participants from Seoul will encounter those from Melbourne in this innovatively-charted out event.
APC member RITS was concerned that introducing telecentres in the Amazon would snuff out the traditional culture. But they report, “the opposite has happened”. The locals have embraced this new world on the internet, “have succeeded in better identifying who there are and now want to launch community sites to present their reality to the world.” Two telecentres are now running on the banks of the Tapajós River and another telecentre is planned. But there are other new developments in the air. – RITS
APC’s new member Ungana-Afrika is a non-profit organisation that provides technology support, and helps others initiate technology support programs, within the development community of Southern Africa. Their work includes incubation of ICT capacity building programs, in-house ICT programs, and individual projects.
APC’s new member WOUGNET, the Women of Uganda Network, is seen as well thought of within the women’s movement in that country. It works actively to support grassroots involvement in ICTs and facilitate access to information to those not connected. WOUGNET works out of a country where there is much to do regarding ICTs.
A Venezuelan organisation with a reputation for its high-level technical training in ICTs for over a decade in Latin America has joined the APC as member, raising hopes for enhanced reach and credibility for both sides of the new partnership in the region.
ANNOUNCING THE APC BETINHO COMMUNICATIONS PRIZE IN 2005: Community connectivity for economic development in Latin America and th
In 2005, the APC Betinho Prize will be offered in recognition of community initiatives in Latin America and the Caribbean that use the internet and other networks to access markets, skills and opportunities to derive real economic benefits.
We are looking for ICT initiatives that:
- make a positive economic contribution to the community
- are driven and developed in Latin America and the Caribbean
- can demonstrate a sustainable use of technology
In Peru, the internet acts like fertilizer in the field. Or, you could say it helps to harvest information needed about sowing operations in a timely and far more accurate manner. This promises to bring home some benefits to poor farmers working on a subsistence model.
Stanford professor of law Lawrence Lessig visits Brazil, and comes back with this fascinating story explaining how the ideals and inspiration of Free Software is giving rise to Free Culture. Lessig describes what risks and threats come along with the new strategies to spread regulation in the digital world, in a long but fascinating write-up.
As civil society organizations increasingly use personal computers and online communication tools, they are becoming prone to ever-advancing threats ranging from malware (viruses, spyware or adware, spam, phishing), to digital surveillance and interception, and even the seizure of equipment. Development organisations in Asia recently faced up to the challenge.
APC members in the Philippines, the Foundation for Media Alternatives, took the lead in a consultative workshop on the national leg of the information society summit. While welcoming the workshop, it also spoke out to voice concern that the first national summit of May 2004 had not been taken seriously by the government, with very few discussions held last year.
Local content; community broadcasting; freedom of expression, diversity and pluralism; financing the digital divide; education and ICT literacy; and gender and ICTs — what role should these issues play at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)? In South Africa, a June-end 2005 meet seeks to provide an opportunity for civil society organisations (CSOs) to reflect on WSIS issues.
"A project offering business skills to impoverished Kenyan youths has been recognised with a prestigious award. Computer and software skills play a key part of the training," says the BBC in this report on the APC Hafkin Prize winner just announced on May 26.