Centre Highlights Brazil’s Leadership In IP, Free/Open Source Issues22/05/2006 by William New, Intellectual Property Watch Leave a CommentShare this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Much of our best content is available only to IP Watch subscribers. We are a non-profit independent news service, and subscribing to our service helps support our goals of bringing more transparency to global IP and innovation policies. To access all of our content, please subscribe now.Debates over the intellectual property system, access to knowledge, and free and open source software are raging worldwide, but perhaps nowhere so much as in Brazil. And in that country, one forum for debate and analysis that stands out is the Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV) Law School in Rio de Janeiro.Located at the FGV Law School is the Center for Technology and Society (CTS), whose core mission is to study the legal, social and cultural consequences of new developments in information and communications technologies.The centre, launched in 2003, has projects in intellectual property, access to knowledge, free and open source software, Internet governance, open business models, and privacy.“The work the CTS is doing is committed to democracy and development,” Centre Director Ronaldo Lemos said in an interview. When the FGV Law School was created, its primary goal was to “develop research projects that would help to think about Brazilian institutions in a long-term perspective,” he said.Intellectual property was one of the first areas at the law school, along with a program on judicial reform in Brazil. “Intellectual property, inasmuch as it is directly connected to access to knowledge, is crucial for the long-term development planning of Brazil, and for the enhancement of the democratic institutions and the public sphere,” Lemos said.Lemos is head professor of intellectual property law at FGV Law School, as well as director of Creative Commons Brazil and a member of the board of iCommons, the international Creative Commons project. Lemos earned his LL.B. and LL.D. from the University of Sao Paulo and his LL.M. from Harvard Law School. He is a founder of Overmundo, the largest Web 2.0 initiative in Brazil, and is a member of the Electronic Commerce Commission appointed by the Brazilian Ministry of Justice.Others working with the centre include Carolina Rossini, who was a top attorney for the Telefonica Group and the Terra Group in Brazil; and Antonio Cabral, who worked as legal counsel to Globo TV, the largest Brazilian television chain.The Creative Commons Brazil project has contributed to the licensing concept’s enthusiastic take-up by artists and non-governmental organisations in Brazil. The Brazilian government also has adopted several initiatives using the Creative Commons model (such as the Education Department’s “publicdomain.gov” portal). Under a Creative Commons license, material may be freely redistributed with few restrictions (such as not making any changes to the text, properly citing the authors, and not for commercial use).Another project of the centre is the Free Software Legal Support Group, providing legal support for free software. In addition, the Cultura Livre (Free Culture) project is working to build a dialogue between developing nations on culture, media and intellectual property. It works in a context of the push for a development agenda being sought by Brazil, Argentina and others at the World Intellectual Property Organization, and alternative intellectual property licensing models, according to the centre.The A2K (Access to Knowledge) project of the centre promotes research and awareness of the issue from a Brazilian perspective. The project is looking for partners and seeks to include the public interest point of view alongside the private-sector perspective, it said. It is taking into account the WIPO development agenda proposal as well as debates over limitations and exceptions from copyrights for certain groups. The aim is to create awareness and propose amendments to Brazilian copyright law. Another interest is the proposal at WIPO for an Access to Knowledge treaty.Open Business, a joint initiative with entities in South Africa and the United Kingdom, is mapping and studying potential business models in which content or services are provided in a free and open fashion. “An open business entrepreneur balances the need to make money with higher professional satisfaction and more socially optimal ways of doing business. Often giving something away for free is the basis of an open business model, rather than making it scarce, controlled and high cost,” the centre said.Additional centre projects include a Brazilian government-commissioned study on the regulatory framework of free software; the use of Creative Commons by Trama, Brazil’s biggest recording company (and translation for free distribution of Stanford University professor Lawrence Lessig’s book “Free Culture”), and distance learning law courses.Funding for the centre’s projects come from the Ford Foundation, Open Society Initiative, the International Development Research Centre, and the Brazilian government, particularly the Ministry of Science and Technology. The group also has joint projects and partnerships with universities and other centres around the world, such as Yale University (United States), the Creative Commons, the Learning Information Networking and Knowledge (LINK) Centre at the University of the Witwatersand in Johannesburg (South Africa), and the Copy South group at the University of Kent (United Kingdom).“In the 21st century, access to knowledge has become paramount for development,” Lemos said. “The Creative Commons is an important contribution in this sense, because it creates a system where the transaction costs for accessing information is very low. And lowering transaction costs make all the difference for development countries.”A second role of Creative Commons is “media pluralisation,” the appropriation of technology on the part of the global ‘peripheries’, which is leading to new forms of cultural production, Lemos said.“This is a very exciting moment,” he said. “The Creative Commons is an important tool for this content to emerge throughout the established and forthcoming networks, such as the 80 million existing cell phones in Brazil and the digital television, respectively. The Creative Commons can provide the necessary legal framework for these new forms of content to emerge, and be disseminated through old and new media.”Share this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Related"Centre Highlights Brazil’s Leadership In IP, Free/Open Source Issues" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.