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A Growing International Network for ISP

Law School center tackles access to knowledge and the future of journalism, among other topics

The Information Society Project (ISP) at Yale Law School has been involved in a number of activities in the past year, hosting conferences devoted to promoting access to knowledge and exploring the future of journalism, among other topics. The center’s activities have included work with institutions across the world, including new research on India, China, Argentina, Ethiopia, and South Africa.

In August, ISP hosted the Access to Knowledge (A2K) Global Academy, a network of academic centers dedicated to research, education, and policy analysis promoting access to knowledge. Taking part in the two-day workshop were representatives from member institutions in Argentina, Brazil, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, South Africa, and the U.S. At the gathering, the ISP launched research into the state of access to knowledge in India and China. In October, in conjunction with Open Access Week, the ISP launched additional research on challenges of intellectual property and innovation in Argentina, Ethiopia, and South Africa. The project has also resulted in two books: Access to Knowledge in Brazil: New Research on Intellectual Property, Innovation and Development and Access to Knowledge in Egypt: New Research on Intellectual Property, Innovation and Development. Topics addressed by the research include open source software, alternative business models for cultural production, exceptions and limitations to copyright, access to medicines, open educational resources, technological standards, and biotechnology. The three-year research project was supported with funding from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, as part of a multi-year research initiative supporting international academic collaboration on access to knowledge, overseen by the Yale ISP. Continuing its academic work in this area, the Yale ISP will host a major conference on access to knowledge and human rights in February 2010 at Yale Law School.

ISP (along with the Knight Law and Media Program) has also recently taken on the question of the future of journalism. A packed house of journalists, media leaders, faculty, students, and interested citizens turned out for a two-day conference on November 13 and 14 to consider how the Internet and other electronic media are dramatically changing the way we receive news and information.

Panel discussions covered such topics as “Who Uses the News and How?,” “Preserving Local Journalism,” and “Who Will Pay the Messengers?” Additional sessions delved into “The Quest for Pay Models,” “Publicly Owned and Operated Media,” “The Changing Ecology of News Media,” “Non-Profit and Foundation- Funded Models,” and “Direct and Indirect Government Subsidies.”

Yale Law School Dean Robert Post ’77 and Professor Jack Balkin, director of the Information Society Project, welcomed attendees on Friday morning, and Jonathan Klein, president of CNN-USA, delivered a keynote address on Friday evening.

In other activities, the Yale ISP expanded its research program in digital education by entering into a research partnership with University of the People, the world’s first tuition-free, online academic institution. ISP also hosted a groundbreaking Internet Video Innovation Roundtable in March 2009. Sponsored by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the roundtable brought together leading thinkers from industry and academia to help lay out the key issues and recommend solutions in Internet video innovation. Topics discussed included profitable business models for Internet video; technical architectures; legal design and intellectual property; and telecommunications policies to promote Internet video innovation.

To learn more about the Information Society Project, visit www.law.yale.edu/isp.