A2K: Access to Knowledge: Make it Happen!

There is a growing feeling that more can be done to use technology – particularly the Internet – to provide greater access to knowledge. Coalitions of groups including librarians, civil liberties groups, health care givers, consumer groups, free and open source software groups, creative commoners, and other diverse interests are working together to increase awareness of the growing Access to Knowledge (A2K) campaign.

The A2K@IGF Dynamic Coalition is concerned about the impact of unbalanced intellectual property rights on access to knowledge and freedom of expression. A2K@IGF is a loosely-based and open coalition that grew out the United Nations Internet Governance Forum (IGF) workshop in Athens.

  • Workshop at the 2007 Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil sponsored by the A2K@IGF Dynamic Coalition.

  • Yale Information Society Project A2K3 Conference (8-10 Sept. 2008) in Geneva this year.
  • Yale Information Society Project A2K2 Conference (27-29 April 2007) and accompanying A2K2 wiki with presentations and more information. See slides from IP Justice Executive Director Robin Gross on "The Law of Search Engines" panel at Yale Law School.
  • Yale Information Society Project A2K Conference (21-23 April 2006) and accompanying A2K wiki with presentations and more information. See slides from IP Justice Executive Director Robin Gross on "DRM and Globalization" panel at Yale Law School.

In August 2004, Argentina and Brazil proposed WIPO create a "Development Agenda" that included a proposal for a treaty on access to knowledge and technology. In 2005 a number of NGOs, academic experts, scientists, businesses and governments discussed features of such a treaty, and the 14 member Group of the Friends of Development (FoD) asked WIPO to consider possible elements of an A2K Treaty. Its objective is to “protect and enhance access to knowledge, and to facilitate the transfer of technology to developing countries.” In July 2005 over 138 public-interest NGO’s from all over the world signed a joint statement supporting the Group of Friends of Development proposal for a "Development Agenda" at WIPO.  For more information, see IP Justice’s "Development Agenda" pages.

For more on the A2K Treaty and related initiatives, see A2K@IGF Dynamic Coalition page, KEI’s A2K page, the Center for Technology and Society (CTS) of Fundação Getúlio Vargas School of Law (FGV Direito Rio), the Library of Alexandria’s A2K resources, and Access2Knowledge.org.