Consumers International (CI), the world federation of consumer groups founded in 1960, serves as the only independent and authoritative global campaigning voice for consumers. With over 220 member organisations in 115 countries, it is building a powerful international consumer movement to help protect and empower consumers everywhere.
CI’s global programme on A2K (access to knowledge) was established in 2008 to guarantee that consumer interests are adequately represented in national and global debates around intellectual property (IP) and communications rights. This includes exploring the creation of public goods and enhancing the public domain, and fostering a fairer system of managing intellectual property in international and bilateral trade agreements and regimes.
The programme’s threemain objectives are to:
• Campaign for more balanced intellectual property laws and enforcement practices that take into account consumers’ interests.
• Provide capacity building to all stakeholders on consumer issues related to intellectual property and access to knowledge.
• Promote human rights in the information society, particularly in the areas of communications, education and health.
By harnessing the collective voice and effectiveness of consumer groups working around the world and across issue sectors, CI aims to serve as a catalyst for policy change, putting pressure on governments and international organisations to develop more balanced IP and communications regimes.
This handbook, Access to Knowledge: A Guide for Everyone, is a part of that broader programme. Its aim is to provide a concise and nonspecialist introduction to IP and A2K issues, and selected related issues of communications rights and access to information and communication technologies (ICTs). Its intended readership includes consumer groups and NGOs (non-governmental organisations) who wish to become more knowledgeable in this area, individual academics and activists who could use a simple reference guide to the many related issues of A2K, and consumers at large who are affected by unfair IP laws and practices.
On this note, whilst A2K has not always been high on the agenda of the global consumer movement, CI believes that it is very much of a consumer issue, on a par with the more traditional consumer issues such as food and product safety, sustainable consumption, and unethical marketing. After all, many activities that now form part of consumers’ everyday lives, such as accessing learningmaterials, transferringmusic, videos or e-books from one device to another, and sharing their interests online, are deeply impacted by IP laws and policies.
URL : http://a2knetwork.org/sites/default/files/handbook/a2k-english.pdf