Report on CI's Latin American regional meeting on A2K

The second of CI's regional meetings on A2K took place on 30 and 31 March in Santiago, Chile. The meeting was conducted in English and Spanish, through the use of simultaneous interpretation. Its participants included twenty representatives of CI members and like-minded NGOs from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Peru, as well as a special guest from the UK. A highlight of the meeting was the generation of some new ideas for global and regional advocacy and campaigning activities on A2K, adding to those that had previously been contributed by participants in the Asia-Pacific meeting in February.

Presentation files and videos

The meeting agenda (available in English and Spanish) contains links to the presentations that were given. During the morning presentation on Intellectual Property as a Consumer Issue, three clips from the Spanish-subtitled version of the documentary Steal This Film were presented. By request, those three excerpts are made available for download here. The titles given roughly describe the content of the excerpts:

Reports from CI's members and partners

During the afternoon, the following CI members and like-minded NGOs gave presentations on issues relating to intellectual property rights and Access to Knowledge, and related issues of communications and media rights, as well as issues of access to the Internet and ICTs in their countries:

  • ASPEC Peru, focussing on the high cost and limited availability of learning materials due to issues such as tax and corruption;
  • Colectivo Ecologista Mexico, highlighting a number of positive programmes such as a free textbooks programme and an e-government Web site called e-México;
  • Consumidores Argentinos, speaking of the recent overturning of an unconstitutional "spy law" that allowed the government to access communications without a warrant;
  • Derechos Digitales Chile, introducing the Web site trato justo para todos, which demands fair treatment for all in the proposed new copyright law for Chile;
  • IDEC Brazil, revealing the problems that Brazilian students face in gaining access to prescribed learning materials even through their institutional libraries;
  • Oscar Montezuma Paez, questioning the fairness and legality of the use of Technological Protection Mechanisms (TPMs) by copyright owners; and
  • Proteste Brazil, drawing attention to the limited scope for legal personal uses under Brazilian copyright law, and the breadth of the digital divide between rich and poor.

Strategy setting

The final session of the meeting was devoted to a brain-storming exercise in which participants were encouraged to suggest global and regional activities for the consumer movement in the areas of Access to Knowledge and broader communications rights, as well as suggestions to improve the process of networking and coordination between groups working in these areas.

A consensus soon emerged with the group around several strong clusters of issues that should be prioritised in the work of the global consumer movement in these areas over the next few years.  These were the following (some ideas have been translated and/or edited slightly):

Fair uses and flexibilities

  • Advocacy at national and regional level on fair use and other exceptions
  • Make a clear list of fair uses that can be used in various circumstances
  • Development of a regional list of flexibilities in copyright laws
  • More deeply study the situation of each country and suggest appropriate flexibilities and exceptions
Access to education
  • "Disposable" textbooks (which can be used only one time, due to unnecessary new editions or curriculum changes) must be eliminated
  • Press government to install computers and broadband in all public schools
  • Press government to develop an up-to-date portal through which all public schools can acquire access to computers and broadband in a transparent fashion
Advocacy and campaigning
  • Form alliances, if possible, with collection societies to persuade them to extend fair use exceptions voluntarily
  • Follow new law reform projects and press government for public hearings and consultations
  • Bring consumer voices into global discussions on rights - eg the IGF on human rights and the Internet
  • Include discussions on new and more flexible/open business models
Coordination between groups
  • Identify NGOs from amongst consumer groups and human rights groups that can work together on A2K
  • Build links between consumer and human rights groups with shared aims
  • Find new organisations that can be brought in to work in this area
  • Nominate an A2K coordinator for each geographical region
Capacity building
  • Translate the technical content of IP/A2K into terms that are relevant to consumers
  • Identify expert consultants in the area of IP/A2K from each country
  • In CI's consumer survey, differentiate between the legal framework and actual practices of consumers
  • Advocate that government agencies must use free software
  • Press for the expansion of programmes like Peru's "Cinema 1 Sol" which currently sets aside one day per year for cheap cinema tickets

Creative Commons license icon
This work is licensed under a Attribution Share Alike Creative Commons license