23 October 2013

Day 1 at the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) 2013

Yesterday was day 1 at the Internet Governance Forum in Bali, Indonesia, and the librarians were out in force! This year, alongside representatives from IFLA over 40 librarians from the broader Asia region are at the IGF, courtesy of Beyond Access: Libraries Powering Development. There’s a diversity of workshops of relevance to libraries, with topics spanning local content development, open data and copyright policy.

On day 1 IFLA participated in workshop 166: “Internet Copyright Policy: Multi Stakeholder or Multilateral?”, co-organising the panel alongside the Internet Society. Panellists Paolo Lanteri (World Intellectual Property Organisation), Giacomo Mazzone (European Broadcasting Union), Nick Ashton-Hart (Computer & Communications Industry Association) and Konstantinos Komaitis, (Internet Society), with moderator Susan Chalmers (Internet NZ), discussed challenges and opportunities in internet copyright policy making in the context of both multilateral and multistakeholder forums.

All panelists agreed that input from a variety of stakeholders was important to internet policy making. Paolo Lanteri (WIPO), commented that a successful method of developing copyright frameworks, to WIPO, would include all stakeholder groups – civil society, technical and academic communities and the private sector – supplementing the multilateral process. WIPO has actively taken the input of varied stakeholders into the processes established during recent treaty negotiations.

In contrast, during discussions with the audience several audience members highlighted Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement negotiations as an example of poor stakeholder engagement.

Giacomo Mazzone (EBU), highlighted some of the benefits of multilateralism, in establishing an equal playing field (at least in principle) between small and large members – their votes are the same. In stakeholder processes, larger or more developed interests can dominate the policy making process.

Nick Ashton-Hart (CCIA) commented on the challenges for developing country Member States participating in the various multilateral and multi-stakeholder forums where internet copyright policy is being discussed: adequate resources and expertise. This can result in practice in an imbalance between the influence of developed and developing countries participating, regardless of the multilateral or multi-stakeholder setting.

Konstantinos Komaitis (Internet Society) considered the varied forums for internet copyright policy making, spanning international treaty making, free trade agreements, domestic legislative reform and stakeholder discussions, and asked whether and how we could marry all of these different conversations taking place together.

The audience were concerned with any advancements of internet copyright rule making that did include strong and transparent negotiations with all stakeholders – like the TPP. Some commented that while multi-stakeholderism would clearly be the preferred approach, it can be impossible to get anything done. While multi-stakeholder approaches can be slow and arduous, having all parties represented at the table was felt to be fundamentally important by many in the room.

You can read IFLA’s statement on Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) negotiations.

For more information about IFLA’s participation in IGF this week, see our schedule.

WSIS (World Summit on the Information Society), Access to information, Access to knowledge, Information policies, Indonesia, IGF, WSIS

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