In the digital era, most multinational corporations and policymakers are of the view that the current trend characterised by increasing intellectual property rights and corporate control over knowledge best serve society’s interests. At the same time, however, a growing number of commentators believe that widespread access to knowledge (A2K) and the preservation of a healthy knowledge commons are the real basis for sustainable human development. Nonetheless, intellectual property-based approaches continue to singlehandedly dictate global legal norms and shape national legal infrastructures.The first goal of the Yale A2K Initiative is to come up with a new analytic framework for analysing the possibly distortive effects of public policies relying exclusively on intellectual property rights. Beyond this aim, the A2K initiative seeks to support the adoption and development of alternative ways to foster greater access to knowledge in the digitally connected environment.
The landmark A2K conference at Yale Law School will bring together leading thinkers and activists on access to knowledge policy from North and South, in order to generate concrete research agendas and policy solutions for the next decade. This conference will be among the first to synthesize the multifaceted and interdisciplinary aspects of access to knowledge, ranging from textbooks and telecommunications access to software and medicines. The A2K Conference aims to help build an intellectual framework that will protect access to knowledge both as the basis for sustainable human development and to safeguard human rights.
Here are links to the schedule and list of speakers, which includes Jack Balkin, Yochai Benkler, Geoffrey Bowker, Julie Cohen, Susan Crawford, Niva Elkin-Koren, Mike Godwin, Helen Nissenbaum, and many more.