A2K4: Conference on Access to Knowledge and Human Rights

The Yale Information Society Project has announced the 4th Access to Knowledge conference: A2K4: Access to Knowledge and Human Rights. The event will be held at Yale Law School on February 12-13, 2010, hosted by the Information Society Project, in collaboration with an extensive list of organizing partners, including UW-Milwaukee School of Information Studies.

From the announcement:

Access to knowledge (A2K) is about designing intellectual property laws, telecommunication policies, and technical architectures that encourage broader participation in cultural, civic, and educational affairs; expand the benefits of scientific and technological advancement; and promote innovation, development, and social progress across the globe.

The Information Society Project at Yale Law School has already hosted three major conferences on access to knowledge. These helped to lay intellectual groundwork for theorizing A2K as a framework for public policy and to consolidate a broad international A2K movement.

This year, we will again host a major A2K conference, but with a more specialized theme: the intersection between access to knowledge and human rights.

The right to take part in cultural life, to share in scientific progress, the rights to education, health care, and food: all are impacted by policies and movements around intellectual property and Internet freedom.

This conference seeks to lay the groundwork – conceptual and strategic – to build bridges between the A2K and human rights communities pursuing common goals of promoting greater access to knowledge, culture, technology and tools for innovation worldwide.

The two-day conference will feature plenary panels as well as breakout sessions of working groups organized around specific issue areas, including a workshop I have organized focusing on African Information Ethics:

Identifying Challenges and Opportunities for an African Information Ethics

As our contemporary information society continues to take hold on the African continent, there is a pressing need to recognize and formalize an “African information ethics”, that is, understanding & applying principles of information ethics (access to knowledge, intellectual property, information literacy, intellectual freedom, privacy) within the unique context of the African information and knowledge society. This breakout workshop will explore the challenges and opportunities for the establishment of an African information ethics, discussing issues ranging from the incorporation of African philosophy into Western ethical frameworks, the development of information ethics curricula in African universities, and strategies for focusing attention on how the dilemmas triggered by the growing information and knowledge society within Africa impact the continent’s economic, social, and political development.


  • Johannes Britz, Dean, School of Information Studies, UW-Milwaukee
  • Rafael Capurro, Founder and Director of the International Center for Information Ethics
  • Stephen M. Mutula, Department of Library and Information Studies, University of Botswana
  • Dennis Ocholla, Department of Library and Information Science, University of Zululand
  • Michael Zimmer, School of Information Studies, UW-Milwaukee

The full agenda is here, and registration is now open — hope to see you there!

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