Karsten Gerloff hat seine Masterthesis zum Thema „Access to Knowledge in a Network Society“ fertiggestellt und unter einer CC-Lizenz verfügbar gemacht. Herzlichen Glückwunsch (Jetzt möchte ich aber auch eine Offline-Version davon erhlaten).
Hier ist der Abstract:
As the network has become the dominant organising pattern of society, knowledge has taken centre stage in the economy. Having access to knowledge determines who can participate in this informational economy, and on what terms. But knowledge is different from physical goods: it is nonrival and non-exclusive. It is also the input of its own production process: Knowledge builds upon knowledge. A key player in the international system of the regulation of knowledge is the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). Its approach presently relies mainly on intellectual monopoly powers (often called „intellectual property“). Other models, such as commons-based peer production, are usually not considered.
After providing an overview over recent work in the field, this thesis examines how access to knowledge is regulated, and what conflicts are caused by this regulation. The debate on a development agenda for WIPO offers a vantage point from which to describe the tensions that exist in the international framework for the regulation of knowledge.
Looking at the first year of the WIPO debate, it becomes clear that there are two major lines of conflict. One is between developing and developed countries, which often have different understandings of the purpose of IMPs. As a consequence, they prefer different solutions to the problems at hand: while developed countries are looking to create a global system of regulation with uniformly strict standards for intellectual monopolies, developing countries require room for experimentation. The second line of conflict is between rightsholders and the users of knowledge. Rightsholders generally would like to tighten standards, while user groups highlight the importance of access.
Besides a reform of WIPO, experimentation is needed to find viable and sustainable strategies for governing knowledge. The project of a treaty on access to knowledge provides ideas and offers an opportunity for debate on the way ahead.