Digital technologies create new opportunities for consumers, but also make upholding their rights more challenging. Digital products and services often come with usage restrictions about which consumers are not well informed. Online transactions often cross borders, making it difficult to resolve complaints, or even to know what consumer laws and policies apply. How can consumers in the digital age be assured that their rights will be upheld?
Consumers International is undertaking a multi-country programme of economic research on flexible copyright exceptions in developing countries that is to begin by the second quarter of 2014. The empirical research to be conducted will produce comparable data on how different types of copyright reform effects various actors (i.e. – consumers and innovative businesses), including both the effects on consumer welfare and on innovation in the technology and creative industries in developing countries.
Copyright law has long been described as promoting the public interest through a balance of exclusive protection for rights holders linked to limitations and exceptions to such rights for users. As described in a recent decision of the Canadian Supreme Court, promoting the public interest in the creation of and access to new works requires that “both protection and access must be sensitively balanced”; “users' rights are an essential part of furthering the public interest objectives of the Copyright Act.”
Consumers in the Information Society 2013: Rights, Justice, Connection is the follow-up to last year's meeting of CI members on access to knowledge, broadband and consumer rights online, and the first such meeting since we relaunched those programmes as the priority issue area Consumers in the Digital Age.
The opportunities and challenges that face consumers in today's online digital environment raise a range of new issues for the global consumer movement. For example, products that were once sold as goods, are now packaged as digital services, lacking many of the incidents of ownership that consumers expect. They are often delivered over broadband networks for which there are no uniform consumer protection standards. Many of t
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In January 2011, CI called for expressions of interest from its members for a limited amount of seed funding to support national-level campaigning against public policies that impact access to knowledge. The two successful recipients announced in June were ZACA (Zambian Consumer Association) and FOMCA (Federation of Malaysian Consumer Associations).
Consumers International, the Centre for Internet and Society, India, and Center for Technology and Society of the Getulio Vargas Foundation, Brazil, are presenting a workshop at this year's Internet Governance Forum on its opening day, 14 September, titled "Freedom of expression or access to knowledge: are we taking the necessary steps towards an open and inclusive Internet?"
As the peak body of the global consumer movement, Consumers International believes that a knowledge society can be developed only when there is access to information on all fronts. Such a society is sustainable when access to knowledge is unhampered and inclusive, promoting co-operative forms of knowledge production as the basis for innovation and creativity.