Charter for Innovation, Creativity and Access to Knowledge launched

19 November 2009

An international coalition has launched Charter for Innovation, Creativity and Access to Knowledge as a response to the recent agreement of the European Commission on the “protection” of Internet access, brought under the pressure of the lobbies of the culture industry.

An international coalition has come together to campaign for respect for the civil rights of citizens and artists in the digital era. Last week they launched internationally the Charter for Innovation, Creativity and Access to Knowledge. This initiative is a response to the pressure of the lobbies of the culture industry on the European Parliament and national parliaments.

The Charter is an outcome of the Culture Forum held last week in Barcelona organised by Exgae, the Free Knowledge Institute and Networked Politics.

It is in part a response to the recently agreement of the European Commission on the “protection” of Internet access, the so-called Telecommunications Package. The agreeement is ambiguous but at least it does n't grant the full demands of the culture industry lobbies which included the drastic measure of cutting off anyone who interchanged files on the Internet.

More than 100 specialists from 20 different countries participated last week in the Culture Forum of Barcelona.This Forum whose activities included coordinating the response to the final meeting of the commission on the Telecommunications Package, constitutes the beginning of an unprecedented offensive of civil society in defense of the fundamental rights in the digital era. These rights range from the right to freedom of expression to the right of access to culture and knowledge; the defense of a just division of authors' rights, the inviolability of communications and of privacy and the neutrality of access to the Internet. The Charter sees all these rights as great levers for the wider transformation of economic, political and social relations.

The Charter for Innovation, Creativity and Access to Knowledge invites citizens to take it as theirs and use it in their requests and demands. It will be disseminated worldwide through formal presentations to governments and also through a variety of actions by individuals and organisations.

The Charter will be presented to more than 1000 political institutions and governments, including WIPO, the Obama administration, the European Commission and many national governments. Some of these organizations have already shown an interest in listening to the demands, and two representatives of the European Commission and official observers from the Brazilian Ministry of Culture, among others, were present during the approval of the Charter.
The campaign will make a particular appeal to the Spanish government, which has made the regulation of the digital environment one of the flagship items in its upcoming presidency of the European Union. 

About the authors

Hilary Wainwright

Hilary Wainwright is a leading researcher and writer on the emergence of new forms of democratic accountability within parties, movements and the state. She is the driving force and editor behind Red Pepper, a popular British new left magazine, and has documented countless examples of resurgent democratic movements from Brazil to Britain and the lessons they provide for progressive politics.

As well as TNI fellow, she is also Senior Research Associate at the International Centre for Participation Studies at the Department for Peace Studies, University of Bradford, UK and Senior Research Associate at International Centre for Participation Studies', Bradford University. She has also been a visiting Professor and Scholar at the University of California, Los Angeles; Havens Center, University of Wisconsin, Madison and Todai University, Tokyo. Her books include Reclaim the State: Experiments in Popular Democracy (Verso/TNI, 2003) and Arguments for a New Left: Answering the Free Market Right (Blackwell, 1993).

Wainwright founded the Popular Planning Unit of the Greater London Council during the Thatcher years, and was convenor of the new economics working group of the Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly from 1989 to 1994.\

Follow Hilary on twitter: @HilaryPepper


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