List of Proposed Workshops
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Workshop Proposals 2011


Workshop Number: 967 Jump to report

Title: Dynamic Coalitions - Internet Rights and Principles

Background paper: No Background Paper Uploaded


Concise Description:
Coalition Meeting Proposal September 2011

11-12:30am, Tuesday 27 September

The IRP meeting will be us to raise awareness about important issues and contribute to building a wide movement for human rights in internet governance. As a coalition we have decided to focus on two main issues this year:
(a) The 10 Internet Rights and Principles which grew out of our meeting at the last IGF; and
(b) copyright and internet governance - copyright is one of the main internet freedom battlefields at the moment in many countries across the world and certainly at the international level. It is underrepresented on the IGF agenda, so we will use our workshop to: examine the issue, develop a “human rights message”, and begin to think about strategies for action over the coming year.

Proposed agenda:

1) The IRP and campaigning for human rights (30 minutes)

• (5 minutes) Dixie Hawtin – Introduction to IRP Coalition: who we are, our aims and vision, activities since last year (Charter Version 1.1, Charter commentary and new website)
• (5 minutes) Jochai Ben-Avie - The 10 Internet Rights and Principles: where did they come from and what do they say?
• (20 minutes) Audience discussion: what role can/should the 10 IRPs play in internet governance? What are the challenges and opportunities? How do we ensure that they are used?

2) An escalating global battle: copyright and internet freedom (one hour)

• (15 minutes) Various speakers – Background: case studies from countries around the world (Brazil, USA, France, South Africa, Thailand), case studies from the international level (the OECD Communique)
• (45 minutes) Audience discussion – a discussion about human rights approaches towards copyright -both as an issue in itself and in relation to other rights which are being violated by the solutions being pursued such as freedom of expression and privacy. Questions include: What do human rights have to say about copyright and enforcement mechanisms? How can we promote them and fight back against the practice of cutting down on freedom to protect property? Who are our allies? What are going to be the key battlegrounds over the next year? (speakers will be in the audience – have received confirmation that Jeremy Malcom will lead a discussion on Consumers International’s project on Access to Knowledge; and Joana Varon will lead a discussion on the Global Congress on Public Interest and Intellectual Property).

Which of the five broad IGF Themes or the Cross-Cutting Priorities does your workshop fall under?
Dynamic Coalitions

Have you organized an IGF workshop before? No
If so, please provide the link to the report:
No link to this report

Provide the names and affiliations of the panellists you are planning to invite:
Dynamic Coalitions - Internet Rights and Principles
There are no panelists biographies associated to this workshop at the moment.

Provide the name of the organizer(s) of the workshop and their affiliation to various stakeholder groups:
Dynamic Coalitions - Internet Rights and Principles

Organization:Dynamic Coalitions - Internet Rights and Principles

Contact Person: Dynamic Coalitions - Internet Rights and Principles

Reported by: Dixie Hawtin

Report upload: No Report Uploaded

A brief substantive summary and the main events that were raised:
Substantive Summary
Our main activity as Coalition over the past few years has been elaborating how existing human right standards apply to the Internet, centring around a multi-stakeholder Charter of Human Rights and Principles for the Internet. The meeting began with an update of Coalition activities over the past year, including:
• Charter Version 1.1: Following extensive consultation and debate, a third improved version of theCharter of Human Rights and Principles for the Internet was released in Kenya. This version can be read here.
• 10 Internet Rights and Principles: During the 2010 IGF IRP meeting, participants decided there was a need for a shorter and “punchier” advocacy document. A “Punchy” Working Group was formed to identify and articulate the ten top Internet principles that we thought should guide internet policy-making. The 10 IRPs can be read here.
• Charter Commentary: A group of International lawyers from the Centre for Law and Democracy produced a document to accompany the Charter. It outlines the current state of international law in relation to our Charter. The Charter Commentary can be read here.
• A new website: Coalition member Robert Bodle created a new website to house the Charter and to help with outreach. The new website address is:

The bulk of the session was spent looking at the issue of copyright, and how it is impacting on human rights in the Internet environment. Copyright is one of the key battlegrounds shaping the internet. Many countries around the world are considering or implementing new copyright enforcement laws, independently and in response to international trade agreements, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement being a prime example. Mechanisms used include: Digital Millennium Copyright Act-style notice and takedown regimes; graduated responses to allegations of copyright infringement leading up to the termination of the users Internet connection; intermediary liability, where by intermediaries are charged with responding to and assessing complaints of copyright infringement; and blocking of web content, particularly DNS blocking. These measures impact a number of human rights including: freedom of expression and access to information, due process and the right to privacy.Three speakers introduced different initiatives that were important for our discussion:

• The OECD Communiqué on Principles for Internet Policy- Making: Katitza Rodrigues of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Civil Society Information Society Advisory Council (CSISAC) presented the OECD’s effort at producing a set of principles to guide internet policy-making. She praised the process adopted, noting that the OECD had made sincere efforts at achieving multi-stakeholder support. However, CSISAC (a network of civil society feeding into the policy work of the OECD Committee for Information, Computer and Communications Policy) declined to support the final principles. Why? Because in an effort to enforce copyright the communique supports policies that force/encourage Internet service providers to police their networks and platforms. Many troubling elements of the communique appear to stem from overemphasis on the need to protect and enforce intellectual property rights, and particularly on the need to stomp out online copyright infringement.
• United Nations Guidelines on Consumer Protection: Jeremy Malcolm of Consumer International presented an initiative to amend the United Nations Guidelines on Consumer Protection. The initiative is trying to reframe issues of access to knowledge not as intellectual property issues, but as consumer protection issues. He divided the proposed amendments in to two separate groups: consumer protection provisions and access to knowledge provisions. The consumer protection provisions include preventing suppliers from removing functions from a digital product after it has been bought, and preventing suppliers from locking away safe legal uses of a product. The access to knowledge provisions attempt to increase the availability of works by promoting: the public domain, preservation of content, open access, free access to Government works, libraries and so on, as well we by expanding fair uses of work. They are arguing for a provision allowing the creation of non-commercial derivative works and a provision allowing users to cut digital locks when exercising fair use or fair dealing rights.
• The Washington Declaration on Intellectual Property and the Public Internet: Joana Varon of the Centre of Technology and Society, FGV, presented the Washington Declaration. The Declaration is an attempt to reframe the whole intellectual property discussion, ensuring that the legal penalties, processes and remedies are reasonable and proportional to the acts of infringement that they target, and do not include restrictions on access to Internet. She mentioned the need to promote the use of flexibilities, to limit the duties and responsibilities of ISPs to monitor and control user communications, and to ensure that agreements and protocols between individuals, intermediaries, right holders, technology providers and Governments relating to enforcement on the Internet are transparent, fair and clear. She also argued the importance of evidence-based policy making, stating that in Brazil most figures which drive copyright debates are unreliable. Joana said that there will be another Global Congress on Public Interest and Intellectual Property next year in Rio and urged all to attend.

The discussion afterwards focussed on the importance of the issue, and the importance of reaching out to allies, whether they be governments or businesses (especially Internet Service Providers). Participants noted that arguments tend to focus on freedom of expression in the Global North rather than exploring the extremely negative effects that many of these policies are having on access to information and knowledge in the Global South. Furthermore, many of the mechanisms used to enforce copyright are used by restrictive governments to restrict political speech: we are legitimising these mechanisms to disastrous effects. Business models is a hugely important factor in the developing world, with many pricing structures being designed to support high prices in the West and neglecting the fact that such prices are entirely unfeasible for even relatively wealthy people in developing countries. A participant from India mentioned that at University in India the price of an average academic text was 40 per cent of the average monthly fellowship of a PhD student.

The Washington declaration is particular was praised by participants who appreciated the fact that it is questions the intellectual property system as it exists as a whole at this moment, an approach that some participants felt was missing from the UN Guidelines initiative. The overwhelming opinion was that a new positive agenda was needed. Such an agenda should consider the question of the value of sharing. As Bertrand de la Chappelle pointed out: “digital content has unique ability to be duplicated for no cost and also to be combined and the creation of value comes from the combination. It comes from mash-ups. It comes from reinterpretation. It comes from combination of databases. The battle about open data is a very important battle which is about value creation, and not an economic and monetary value creation but also social and public value creation.”

Conclusions and further comments:
All present agreed that copyright is a hugely important battleground, that it is behind many of the negative internet policies currently promoted. By locking up information they are negatively impacting on the right to information, particularly for people in developing countries who are required to pay the same rates as people in developed countries. Strategies are being pursued which are ambiguous and privatise the policing function – they can be easily manipulated to silence legitimate expression, thus are impacting on freedom of expression and due process. Some of the proposed penalties are disproportionate (such as cutting off Internet access, where applicable often without a judicial procedure). Furthermore, by requiring intermediaries to monitor communications, these strategies can have implication on user privacy.

There was some disagreement about whether the more promising opportunities for change come from advocating for changes to the current system, or calling for a complete overhaul of the current copyright system. However, the overwhelming majority seemed to think that copyright, at present, is fundamentally flawed and needs to be reconsidered in light of the public interest value of sharing.

Internal meeting
In addition we had a separate open meeting to discuss internal matters relating to the IRP. The discussions we had centred on how to organise the IRP to be more effective, and the need to become more outward facing

Organsiation of the IRP
• Following the meeting there are now two co-chairs acting as a secretariat for the Coalition. Each chair will sit for two years (with one changing at each IGF, so that every IGF one chair is continuing and one chair is new). Dixie Hawtin, Global Partners and Associates, will continue to be a co-chair for one year more, and MattiasKettemann, University of Graz, has now begun a two-year stint as co-chair.
• The steering committee will be streamlined to 8 members: two individuals from each of the multi-stakeholder groups (academia, business, civil society, government). The steering committee will be consulted about IRP activities and asked to give strategic guidance and advice. Some steering committee members have already expressed a desire to stay on in the role, while others have said they would like to step down.

Activities of the IRP
At the meeting it was decided that the “writing” stage of the Charter and 10 IRPs is over, and we have a strong sense of our shared understanding about how human rights apply to the Internet environment and what principles are needed in order to uphold the potential of the Internet as a platform for human rights. Now we are in the “operation” stage – using the Charter and 10 IRPS to shape dynamics in the real world, promoting a human rights approach. In particular we want to act as a human rights filter for other initiatives to develop principles (often by actors with more economic or political power), and increase the influence of our documents. We discussed working with the council of Europe and Internet Governance Caucus to achieve this aim. Furthermore, we will continue to make statements about pressing issues, and we will catalogue references to our documents in order to build up evidence of their authority.

The coalition is always seeking to expand its membership. All interested stakeholders are invited to join the coalition mailing list at, and register on the coalition website,