Submitted Proposals

Organization: Knowledge Ecology International
Title :
21. Knowledge as a Global Public Good: How Fair Use, Open Source and ICT Standards Can Expand Digital Inclusion
Provide a concise formulation for the proposed workshop theme including its importance and relevance to the IGF.

Globalization and the Internet's distribution and communication model pose a vexing question: can a global public good be defined and protected? Indeed, this pressing question is the crux of many issues outlined in the WSIS process and IGF meetings.


This workshop starts from the premise that knowledge is a definable and protectable global public good. Stakeholders will present their viewpoints on how the concepts of open source, open IT standards, and fair use in IP law can be combined to improve digital inclusion. Panelists will discuss how government policy, private industry actions,  institutions of global governance, and government procurement and financing could align to support knowledge as a global public good. 


This workshop support this year's main session on “Universalization of the Internet - How to reach the next billion (Expanding the Internet).”

Provide the names and affiliations of the panellists you are planning to invite. Describe the main actors in the field and whether you have you approached them about their willingness to participate in proposed workshop.

The main actors in this field include civil society and consumer groups, governments, private industry, and academics. We have approached most of the potential panelists listed below. 


Civil Society 

  • Georg Greve, Free Software Foundation Europe
  • Manon Ress, Knowledge Ecology International
  • Robin Gross, IP Justice 


  • Laura DeNardis, Yale Law School information Society Project 
  • Philippe Schmitt, University of the Western Cape and A2K South Africa 
  • Rishab Ghosh, UNU-MERIT

Private Industry 

  • Andrew McLaughlin, Google
  • Susy Struble, Sun Microsystems
Provide the name of the organizer(s) of the workshop and their affiliation to various stakeholder groups. Describe how you will take steps to adhere to the multi-stakeholder principle, including geographical diversity.
  • Laura DeNardis (Yale Law School Information Society Project, academia)
  • Susy Struble (Sun Microsystems, private industry) 
  • Thiru Balasubramaniam (Knowledge Ecology International, civil society) 
  • Georg Greve (Free Software Foundation, civil society))

The proposers believe the current panel is balanced in terms of gender. We will improve the geographical and stakeholder diversity through in-person invitations at two upcoming events: a seminar in June hosted by The South Centre, an inter-governmental organization representing the Group of 77 and China, and at an access to knowledge conference in Geneva in September, 2008.

Does the proposed workshop provide different perspectives on the issues under discussion?
Yes. The panelists agree on the general principle that knowledge should be a public good, but they differ on how to define and promote this and the roles that fair use, open source and ICT standards might play.
Please explain how the workshop will address issues relating to Internet governance and describe how the workshop conforms with the Tunis Agenda in terms of substance and the mandate of the IGF.

This workshop supports Paragraph 90 (k) (open and affordable access to information), Paragraph 49 (development of software that enables user choice), Paragraph 27 (c) (affordable access to ICTs) and the points around Internet Governance, particularly Paragraph 72 (g) and 72 (i). 

List similar events you and/or any other IGF workshops you have organized in the past.
The proposers were involved in several IGF workshops in 2007 (The Intersection of Open ICT Standards, Development, and Public Policyand 2006 (Access to Knowledge and Free Expression; Best Practices for Government Policies and Procurement to Support Broader Information Access) and have organized various international seminars and conferences, such as the Standards Edge series, the Yale Access to Knowledge Conference and the Yale Open Standards Symposium, and various open source and policy events.
Were you part of organizing a workshop last year? Which one? Did you submit a workshop report?
The proposers helped to organize several workshops last year, including The Intersection of Open ICT Standards, Development, and Public Policy, Access to Knowledge, and Digital Education. Those reports are en route.