Sunil Abraham

Centre for Internet and Society, Bangalore

Topic: Legal and Technical Control and Resistance on the Internet

This presentation will focus how legal and technological control over the Internet has eroded and undermined civil liberties, digital pluralism and public accountability. There will be three threads in this presentation – legal, alternative and illegal. The legal thread will begin with the impact of copyright, patent and trademark policy and practices by tracing the history of the expansion of Intellectual Property Rights [IPR] legislation and enforcement. After which this thread will focus on the challenges faced by the disabled, archives and academic institutions and look at the latest developments at WIPO.

Finally, the rise, fall and resurrection of Digital Rights Management and Technical Prevention Measures: The alternative thread will focus on Free, Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) and Open Standards. First, it will demonstrate how FLOSS and Open Standards are used to undermine and check the legal and technological lock-down of the Internet. It will then, examine how political and market influence has been used by IPR maximalists to stymie the growth of FLOSS and Open Standards. The illegal thread will focus on piracy – or unauthorized production, access, sharing and sale of IPR. This thread will focus on the big battles between pirates and IPR maximalists and thereby illustrate how piracy ensure access, innovation and contributes to the protection of civil liberties and consumer rights in the digital age. Finally, this thread will evaluate the suitability of piracy as a development strategy in different countries in global south.

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