Open A.I.R.'s North African Hub, the Access to Knowledge for Development Center (A2K4D), has joined the global interdisciplinary Network of Internet & Society Centers (NoC). NoC is a collaborative initiative among academic institutions with focus on interdisciplinary research on the development, social impact, policy implications, and legal issues concerning the Internet. It aims to increase interoperability between participating centers in order to collectively confront transnational issues on a global level.
Prof. Nagla Rizk, Director of Open A.I.R.'s North African Hub, the Access to Knowledge for Development Center (A2K4D) at The American University in Cairo (AUC), gave a talk on 8 May 2013 at the WIPO Second Inter-Regional Meeting on South-South Cooperation in Cairo. Rizk addressed a session entitled "IP Rights, Infringements and Enforcement: Accounting for Socio-Economic, Technical and Development Variables, including in the Context of Recommendation 45 of the WIPO Development Agenda". Rizk stressed the importance of intellectual property (IP) as a developmental issue, and not merely a policing issue. Conventional wisdom in Egypt today examines the issue of IP primarily as a question of policing and enforcement, and high levels of protection are unquestioningly assumed to be desirable. Policy debates, and all too often academic ones as well, focus only on the questions of how to more efficiently tighten IP protection and crack down on piracy. Rizk argued that a more critical examination is urgently needed, whereby IP law, policy, and practice are viewed from a development perspective rather than from an enforcement perspective.
Ethiopia's Society for Technology Studies (STS), led by Open A.I.R. researcher Wondwossen Belete, has launched its newsletter. The inaugural edition, dated March 2013, is attached to this post, and it carries a report on the Open A.I.R.-STS workshop on IP from publicly funded researched convened at the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) in Addis Ababa in December 2012.
Open A.I.R. South Africa research team member Dr. Caroline Ncube of the University Cape Town has just published her account of the current status of the African Union's (AU's) proposed Pan-African Intellectual Property Organisation (PAIPO). The item, carried on the Afro-IP website, is entitled "PAIPO is Dead. Long live PAIPO".