Posted on October 14, 2008 in A2K, Social Justic by Brian RoweView Comments

Live blogging from the first social justice week brown bags. Professor Margaret Chon is giving an introduction to A2K (Access to Knowledge) and the relationship of Intellectual property and social justice. We had about 10 students attend the event. After a short presentation about the role of standard there was a Q&A with discussion. Here are my notes:

What disciplines affect access to knowledge?

Access to KnowledgeStandards

Innovation Systems – Open Source

Digital education – CC Licenses

Climate change – Clean development mechanisms (CDM)

Public health – Food safety standards

Human rights – Social performance standards

Normative Pluralism

On one end is Regulatory Entrepreneurs and on the other side is regulatory Oligopolists. Another way to view this scale is soft law or recommendations on one end and hard laws on the other end. Soft laws examples include seals of approval or fair trade; while hard law includes TRIPS the DMCA each with enforceability.


Who are the stake holders and are they involved in the process?
Who watches the standard setting orgs?
How expensive is it to get involved in setting standards?
Can companies set fair standards over themselves?
Is there transparency in the system?
Too many standard can cause consumer confusion.

Where to go next

Gain awareness about other movements and learn from them.
Create soft law norm and push
A2K can be A2J

Q: Do soft law solutions prevent hard law solutions?
Yes and they can cause consumer confusion.
Light labeling
Green Washing
Private regulation also

Q: Are standards new? (in the social justice realm)
A: yes ISO really took off in the 80′s then the ISO 9000 standards came about in the 90′s. This has been followed by large scale standard proliferation.

Q: How does the economic crisis effect soft standards?
A: The crisis is affecting some companies like Whole Foods where you pay a premium for organic. We hope the standards are her to stay but do not know. It is a good question and we do not know. Often the fair trade prices are not higher.

Direct trade – eliminating the middle man
Counter culture direct trade – 25% above market for fair trade products

Q: How do we make the standards more transparent?
A: add human readable code and more disclosure

Q: What beyond transparency is needed?
A: How many details do we want to make available.

This was a great event thanks to the whole social justice coalition for making this happen! If you have a chance I strongly recommend attending one of the professor brown bags this week.

Posted on May 6, 2008 in A2K, IP, Yale by Brian RoweComments Off

Yale’s Information Society Project is a leader in providing access to knowledge with a focus on social justice and innovation. This is a great opportunity for anyone with a passion for IP reform.

The Yale Information Society Project is expanding its current research program in innovation and intellectual property (IP) reform and seeks applicants for a 2008-2009 resident fellowship at Yale Law School. The fellowship will last for one year and may be extended to a second year.

The program’s purpose is twofold: (1) to research the effects of domestic and international intellectual property laws and alternative mechanisms for knowledge production; (2) to suggest reforms that will promote the values of human development, economic growth, innovation and social justice.

Applicants should be recent graduates of law or Ph.D. programs with a background in law and economics, economics, or allied policy fields. Fellows receive a salary of approximately $42,225 plus Yale benefits. A small number of visiting fellowships in this program are also available for scholars who bring their own sources of funding.

More Information at Yale’s Information Society Website Site

Posted on February 21, 2008 in A2K, A2K3, Rubbish, Seattle, WIPO by Brian RoweComments Off

The Information Society Project (ISP) at Yale Law School will host the third Access to Knowledge Conference (A2K3) September 8-10, 2008, in Geneva, Switzerland. It will be held at the Geneva International Conference Centre and will bring together hundreds of decision-makers and experts on global knowledge to discuss the urgent need for policy reforms.

“Opening up access to knowledge is a demand of global justice; it is both a human rights issue and a crucial factor in spurring economic development and technological innovation,” said Yale Law School Professor Jack Balkin, founder and director of the ISP.

The ISP is collaborating on the conference with an international team of partners representing academia, civil society, industry, and government.

“The A2K community has grown exponentially in the last three years, and it is time to move this perspective to the mainstream of international policy-making,” said Lea Shaver, ISP’s Access to Knowledge Program Director. “The A2K3 will address crucial topics related to global knowledge policy, including innovation systems, digital education, Internet governance, climate change, public health, and human rights.”

Read more at:

Official Press Release From Yale on A2K3

Posted on February 15, 2008 in A2K, WIPO by Brian RoweComments Off

The 3rd annual Access to Knowledge Conference is taking the struggle to liberate knowledge directly to policymakers. The location and timing of this year’s conference is targeted at a new audience of international organizations and policy-makers, particularly those delegates preparing for the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) General Assembly.

Here are the full details:
Date: September 8-10, 2008.
Location: Geneva, Switzerland.
Cost: Free and open to the public, but advance registration will be required

The Conference includes three days of plenary panels, as well as workshops for smaller working groups. I highly recommend saving the date and attending if possible.

More information at The Information Society Project at Yale Law School
Edit: The Information Society Project web site is not updated yet. This information is from the A2K mailing list.