We Can Help Bridge the Digital Divide

Michael Geist, Apr 25, 2005
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I agree with the Friends of Development coalition that "that global intellectual property rules must do a better job of meeting the interests of both the developed and developing world." My position is informed by the recognition, as Michael Geist summarizes in this column, that "Canada’s own intellectual property position is closer to the developing world that most might think." It's not simply that we are net importers of intellectual property. It is clear to me that small companies such as are found here cannot hope to compete against large enterprises when the tools of production - ideas and algorithms - are locked down under copyright and patent protection (even when they have not actually been developed, let alone released). Canada's digital economy, like that of Brazil's and India's, will thrive only if there is sufficient open content and open source to allow it to do so.
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