Monday, 24 August 2009

Exploring Open Content at IGF in Egypt

This year, the UN’s Internet Governance Forum is holding its fourth annual meeting in Sharm El Shiekh, Egypt.  Of course, being about the internet, nearly every topic relates back to intellectual property in some way.  However, there is one topic that Afro-IP would like to highlight.

The workshop on Open Content and Open Licensing in the Arab World: Opportunities and Challenges Facing Their Use and Applicability is intending to combine contributors from across Northern Africa and the Middle East.  Creative Commons Jordan is organizing the workshop.  Expected African contributors include the Egyptian Linux Users Group, the Creative Commons Tunisia team and Unesco Egypt.

Although this particular workshop is focused on issues in the Arab world, it is likely that many of the take-aways from it will be applicable to the entire continent.  The proposal for the workshop explains:

“The debate over the use of open content licences has increased recently in the Arab world, where enforcement of copyright laws is limited and piracy rates are high. The use of Free Open Source Software (FOSS), Creative Commons and other voluntary mechanisms could provide a meaningful alternative to those problems.”

Limited enforcement and high piracy rates are certainly concerns applicable to all of Africa.

Based on the contributors, the topic, and the sure-to-be-highly international group of participants, this workshop is bound to produce good things for Northern Africa and the rest of the Arab community.  Perhaps the future may even hold an adapted version of the workshop, addressing these issues in Sub-Saharan Africa.

List of other workshops, proposed and to be included, here.

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