Information for Development in The Global South
Theme: Information for Development in The Global South
Presenters: Murumba Joan Wakasa and Kamau Victor Gitau email: Media:firstname.lastname@example.org
Information Week, School Of Information Sciences, Moi University, Eldoret
This paper spells out the importance of information in the development. It explains the detriments of having information as a commodity of trade. It goes further to examine the copyright and how it has made information a commodity. Finally it shows how decommodification of information is the solution for development in the Global South.
Once upon a time in England, there existed two kinds of people; the rich and the poor. The rich, from greed, persecuted the poor and made sure that they had no access to the factors of production. This, they hoped would maintain the status quo. They were wrong! God heard the prayers of the poor and gave them Robbinhood. His holy mission being; stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. The same situation exists today. Globally, we have only two opposing partakers in the world development; the North and the South. The North representing the developed world and the South the developing world. The North just like the early England is advantaged for having developed before the south and would do anything to maintain the status quo. Civilization has reached every part of the world and the North has realised it cannot conquer by restricting access to factors of production through waging war; the best method to maintain the status quo is by denying the South access to the most important factor which without it all others are derailed; this factor is information. Thus they have introduced the concept of International Copyright Law. This law has been successful in meeting it purpose as it is evident that in the South people have to struggle to gain access to information in all formats, and when get it is out dated- donations from the north- and has outlived its intention, we get negative information about the South from their media about the South- war in Sudan, communism in China, corruption in Kenya and HIV/Aids in Africa- we have no academic and educational books in learning institutions, and we get information in a language not understandable to us, therefore, unusable. But God has heard the prayer of the South and has sent us our Robinhood to save us from the North and get us information which for long we have been denied. Our Robinhood hood is decommodification!
DEFINITION OF IMPORTANT TERMS
Decommodification It is a word made from the verb commodity, which means, something that can be bought and sold. (Macmillan English dictionary 2002) The process of making a thing tradable (can be sold or bought) is referred to as commodification. The reverse is decommodification. Decommodification in this paper is used to mean the process of availing information to the users gratis (free of charge). Information Information is data, signals, facts, views, opinions, ideas, events, news etc of significance, able to influence manâ€�s actions, behaviour and decisions as he goes about interacting with others in a given environment. This kind of information should reduce uncertainty in choices: should basically be related to specifics in context of time and space and in the content of individual as well as social, economical and scientific needs and the problem it is intended to solve further more it must be capable of being produced or generated, acquired, stored, retrieved and disseminate or transmitted through some kind of communication channel recorded or oral, manual or electronic, from a source to a recipient. The relevance of such information will be determined by the recipient who is in a position to utilize it for personal benefit or for that of others. (Lundu, 1995) Copyright It is one of the intellectual property rights (others are, patent, trademark and design rights) that arises automatically on the creation of various categories of work, and protects the rights and interests of the creators of literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, sound recordings, films, broadcasts, satellite and cable programmes, and the typographical arrangements of published editions. Copyright has been called the trading system for works of the mind. (Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia, 2004) According to Kent, A. and Lancour, H. (eds) (1971) copyright is the exclusive, legally secured, right to publish and sell the substance and form of a literary, musical, or artistic work.
INFORMATION FOR DEVELOPMENT
The information society is built upon information. The Net already provides the structure for realising an unfulfilled revolutionary demand: media freedom for all. Authors can publish their writings on their own websites. Musicians can release their tunes on MP3 first. Film-makers can distribute digital files of their movies. Not just the right to consume media, but also the right to produce media too. Even better, the Net is inspiring novel forms of expressions. Information is one of the major factors of production and therefore without information nothing can be done. Information is power, and this is clearly evident by the work information does. Information is required for economic, social, political and cultural development; this shows that information is required in all spheres for forward development. Information helps people solve problems; obtain knowledge either through reading or listening, for research purposes among others. Some ways through which information has propagated development include:
Agricultural information Agricultural activities are sources of economic development since the farmers generate income both to the country and to themselves. Agricultural information can comprise of: good farming methods, best seeds and fertilizers, information on the climate and what is suitable for the planting season and so on. This information is mostly important to farmers who use this to support their economic activities. The information can be either through word of mouth in seminars and workshops by agricultural extension officers. It can also be through the media both print and electronic and therefore if it is a basic need to farmers. The availability of this information leads to high productivity which raises the GDP of the economy. Trade and industry (Formal and informal sector) Most developing countries are low income earners who live below the poverty line. These countries are characterised with informal sectors like the Jua kali sectors in Kenya. These people need information on how to improve the value of their products. They need information on the new technology which when used will double the supplies. Since most of them are school drop outs they need directions on how to obtain financial assistance from the organizations concerned which when put in place will add to the countries revenue.
Education and training Students are taught in schools and other learning institutions in order to get acquainted with knowledge. Courses such as entrepreneurship are taught in universities to enable students be independent minded and able to identify opportunities for business. This will generate income both the individual and the country as well. It is through education and training that current technologies such as ICTs are taught and made used to retrieve information for solving problems. For example the Internet provides vast amount of information to researchers which is beneficial in solving problems. The web provides information on the effects of pollution to the environment. Both air and land pollution do not promote agricultural activities and when this is said and done, people will try to look for ways to curb down pollution which is an obstacle to economic development. Communication networks foster both social and economic development because when people are networked resources (information) is shared which in turn leads to prosperity. Information on health education. Human beings are the sources of labour and before any work whether manual or electrical they have to be present for any work to be done. It is therefore important that they be in good health. Information about how to control some health hazards becomes a necessity. Health information is necessary, for example, first aid knowledge will help to save an individuals life when in danger. Guidance and counselling Basic information on good morals is important to any individual. It provides one with the ability to live a straight and upright life. Societal evils such as pregnancy and abortion, drug abuse, HIV and Aids will help especially the young generation to know how to present themselves in the society.
Information about other cultures allows us to be able to adjust to other peopleâ€�s way of life and this will prevent cultural shock. Cultural information records our heritage and this in turn informs the society about its past which is a foundation or a base to the future.
This provides a country with what is happening in the political arena. Information enhances democracy. We are able to get information from other countries which contain information on human rights and fight for them. It is through information that we get to know on corruption in our governmental structures. It is through information that we get to know whether or not we are justly treated.
INFORMATION IN THE WRONG HANDS
Information for development can only be helpful to the South only and only if they have it in their own hands. Information is tricky and the one who has it has an upper hand over the one who does not have it- he can restrict it or use it negatively against the one who donâ€�t have it. Here we look at the wrong hands information can be in. Entrepreneurs: publishers, distributors etc. These are people who bridge the gap between the creator of information work and the intended users. They donâ€�t add any value to information and neither use it; their purpose is to make profit. These people hoard information waiting for an opportune time to gain the maximum profit denying the intended user the opportunity to gain maximumly from it. The North These are the developed countries that are in competition with the global South; their goal is to maintain the status quo. They donâ€�t want the South to get access to information since they already know the importance, value and power attached to information. Capitalists Capitalists are those who practice capitalism. This is the economic system in which private individuals and business firms carry on the production and exchange of goods and services through a complex network of prices and markets. Their purpose is to make profit through increasing demand by reducing supply, and supplying only to those who are capable of buying at the highest price.
INFORMATION AS A COMMODITY
Why are songs composed, books written, or photographs taken? There are at least two reasons, among others. One rationale is that such works express the creative urges and aspirations of individuals and of wider societies. They are produced to communicate thoughts, to solve problems, to teach others, to express ideas and feelings and emotions. Collectively, they are part of the common heritage and culture Of groups, of communities, and of nations. A competing view or rationale is that songs and books and photographs are commodities produced for the purpose of exchanging them for something; they are property, albeit intangible property, created primarily for trade and for commerce. Story, A (et al) (eds) (2006) The second rationale is what is called commodification and linked to copyright laws. This is further linked linked with mechanisms of trade and commerce by the 1994 agreement on Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) by the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Copyright is the legal right given to creators of informational works to make copies of the same for distribution and exorcize everybody else from copying and distributing the work. Copyright beginnings are in the sixteenth century by a company called Stationers. This company sought to protect copying of works between the players in the industry by then. It was made national by the statute of Anne of 1709. Since then copyright law has developed widely. Most countries now have legislation that broadly follows the tenets of the United States Copyright Act of 1976, or the United Kingdom Copyright, Designs, and Patents Act of 1988, or the Acts of 1956 and 1911 that preceded it. International copyright law started out of the need to harmonize the various national copyright laws and the need to protect the creations of information in other countries as well. This was due to the ease of movement that made publications available in one country to be sold in another. These international copyright laws include the Berne Convention of 1886 (with later revisions) and the Universal Copyright Convention (UCC) of 1952 All national and international copyright laws promise the following: 1. Provides Incentive to creativity and innovativeness 2. Creators should economically benefit from their creations 3. The creator should maintain basic control over his creation 4. Fair use exemptions provide enough allowances to use copyrighted material for review, critism, parody and similar purposes. 5. Copyright laws offers a provision for compulsory reprint or translation licenses for books needed for educational purposes in the Global South (1971 Paris Revision to the Berne Convention)
HOW COPYRIGHT HAS FAILED
The main purpose of copy right is to protect the creators works from unauthorized copying which will deny the chance to make profit. This purpose has not been met since there are numerous cases in courts. Examples of piracy include downloading music files, CD- writing etc. â€�The biggest problem (to Kenyan musician) has been rampant piracy and failures of broadcasters to pay them royalties.â€�Royalties and Copyrights: The Vicious Circle in Buzz Sunday Nation July 16th 2006. Copyright does not promote creativity and innovation Jack Valenti, former head of the Motion Picture Association of America is quoted in, Story, A. (et al) (Eds) (2006) stating that â€�copyright protects not just the financial interest of people who create artistic or intellectual property, but the very existence of creative work.â€ There arises problems form this quote: it is true that creativity existed before copyright was brought about; it is also true that those who were able to create information before copyright law was introduced did not do it for money- infact they were the bourgeoisie; it is also true that there exists many authors/creators who are not yet published therefore, do not sell their creations but give free to achieve fame for their works to be accepted by publishers. What copyright does, is to make creators dependent of corporation to enforce and to implement the copyright laws on their behalf. This has made the corporations benefit more than the creators. These entrepreneurial corporations (publishers, music and movie producers, and media houses) force the creators to relinquish their rights to them in order to fight for them and make profit. They only allow what will make more profit rejecting creative works of authors, musicians, and script writers on the basis that it will not do well in the market. Creativity and innovation is suppressed. As a result cultural diversity suffers, especially when the number of these corporations is consistently shrinking, since there is little profit in specialists or minority tastes. Creators of works on special and minority tastes get continuously demotivated because of copyright.
Copyright puts the human and societyâ€�s culture and heritage into the hands of one individual or a group of individuals
Human culture and societyâ€�s heritage is inherent in the information we read in books and on the internet, in the music we dance to, in the art we enjoy, and in the stories we listen. To put all these on one individual of a group of individualsâ€™�hands is a grievous mistake. Information is a product of human interaction with the environment. It is the societyâ€�s record of events, situations, solutions and adjustment to the environment. This should be the property of the society. Not individuals. The society should have the control of information, ideas, concepts, and dreams it has. Not those who, because of their capitalistic greed and economical endowment, are capable to express this culture and heritage into a reproducible form. When we copyright information, what put our heritage, our values, our history, and our culture onto one personâ€�s hand who disguise himself as a creator. He then gets all the rights to restrict our heritage and culture and also becomes the one to shape our culture. Kent, A. and Lancour, H. (eds) (1971) recognized this and stated: â€�The law of the copyright is thus the law that help to shape the culture of our society. For it is a major factor in determining what books we read; what art we enjoy; what music we hear.â€ We should not let copyright be the author of our culture. We should reject the principles of copyright as it is today. Culture existed before copyright and this should be the case always. Copyright should not come in the way.
Copyright applies equally to all works
All works of the mind are not equal. This is because information is only important when someone needs it and thus makes use of it. Some information is not necessary at all, for example, we can all do without the hip hop music, the American bloc buster movies and their novels that have a lot of praise for American culture. But we cannot do without the Physics and Biology textbooks written for both secondary and tertiary education. When copyright is made to apply to all types of works equally, we are left with no choice but to have our educationâ€�s future held by the copyright owners as they will dictate who, what, where, when and how much information we can access. This is because copyright gives the rights of control of information to the owner to decide what will be done with the information, its distribution, and its pricing. Important information materials such as scientific and educational may be limited, denying the Global South the opportunity to develop scientifically and educational which is the basis of all development. This case is made worse by the fact that the Global South doesnâ€�t have the economic purchasing power required to buy the information and those who can afford are few that even if they buy, it will make little profit the producers of the North.
Copyright restricts access to information.
Copyright gives the creators of the information the sole right to control, to determine its distribution, its price, and its availability. The restriction to access derives from this control the creator is given. Kent, A. and Lancour, H. (eds) (1971): â€�The price paid to the creator and the entrepreneur (producer and distributor), however, is high for copyright is a monopoly. The control of his work that the law gives to the copyright owner is absolute. He may or may not disseminate the work as he chooses; he may or may not make it available at reasonable prices and in sufficient quantities; he may or may not let others copy the work, regardless of the motive of the copier or the lack of any impairment of the usefulness of the work to him.â€�In Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science. New York; Marcel Dekker. The copyright law is based on profit motive therefore encouraging the copyright owner to only avail his work only when he can earn some profit. This means that those who have no purchasing power will not access the information. This mostly will affect the countries of the Global South where most of the people live below poverty line. There other reason is bias of the copyright owner. He will not avail his work if he feels that by doing so he will be putting the other person at an advantage of ousting him in the future. The beginnings of copyright are known to be based on this reason: â€�copyright from it beginnings in England in the sixteenth century , has been a means of protecting the â€�havesâ€- of limiting access to books and information in order to maintain order and discipline in the trade- of creating a monopoly over knowledgeâ€�Altbact, P. (1995) Everybody knows that information is power and by denying information they are denying power. By the virtual of enacting copyright laws- which places the decision of distribution to the copyright owner (the North), the North denies the Global South the chance of being powerful.
Fair use exemptions do not provide enough allowances to use of copyrighted materials
This is given as a tenet of copyright but in real sense it is not. In the Global South very few people can afford to buy the information from abroad and many libraries are full of old, donated books therefore most of the population do not have access to information materials. For this to be a tenet, it requires that the material be available in the institutions of learning and libraries so that it can be fairly used. Without at least one copy in each library and institution it will not apply. Many creators will, is to disseminate information as further and wider as possible Many creators would like their intellectual property to be disseminate as wide and further as possible, some even opt donating. Copyright comes in the way of this will. There are authors who write for the purpose of doing good to the society, they would rather have little profit and their creations be disseminate rather than it be sold to only a few who are rich. Informationâ€�s value is not derived from its price or package; it is derived from its use. Authors know this well and would not care how their creations are packaged as long as somebody somewhere found it valuable. It is the copyrights that restricts the authors to offer their creativeness free of charge through such corporations as publishers who would want the author to give his rights to them. One way to disseminate information further and wider is to offer it free but this will be at the disadvantage of the copyright owner as he will be forced to make copies for each user for the user is restricted by copyright to make copies for himself. The other choice which is the best one is to denounce the copyright protection of a work and allow the users to make copies for themselves.
Copyright and promotion of immorality
We have seen that copyright covers all types of information works; so does it cover pornography production, satanic informational materials, prostitution information materials and many other evil informational materials. How then does copyright promote immorality? When the immoral works are created they become copyright material; the creator has the right to reproduce and distribute at as he wishes to distribute it. Because these materials are worth to be products of sale, thanks to copyright, the copyright owner makes money. This profit motivates him to make more moral degrading works which enables him to even employ people to act pornographic movies and pose naked before cameras. The best problem to solve this problem of pornographic materials from our streets is not to harass our hawkers by prosecuting them and fining them, it is not to tax highly these materials so that few people can buy; the best method is to make them unavailable. This could be done by removing copyright protection such that when they will not be produced because of they will be pirated and distorted leading to losses. This will at least work in the Global South, where people will surely pirate without protection rather than buy. Without copyright moral decay through information materials such as books, films, magazines will be controlled.
Copyright is based on the Northâ€�s culture of individualism that the Global South donâ€�t understand
Copyright protects the form of expression and not the idea itself. Therefore, does not protect the indigenous art/knowledge. It is based on the western (North) cultural values of propertization that do not coincide with many indigenous collective mores. With copyright, that which is protected becomes the legal property of the individual owning the copyright. This approach does not merge with traditional (the Global South) approaches to community property and culture. Andy Abeita, president, Council for Indigenous Arts and Culture (CIAC) in March 24, 2000 by interview said â€�we as natives peoples, do not understand this concept of ownershipâ€�quoted in Fowler, B.J. (2004) Cultural development is one facet of development every nation wants to advance in education, economy, and politics and in science and technology. The Global Southâ€�s culture of community hood will be destroyed if we accept every ideology of the west and incorporate it in our system. For example, the Maasai of Kenya are known world wide and are attraction to tourists and we as Kenyans are proud to be associated with them, this is as a result because of they culture which is well preserved. Thus, we can say, regarding the Maasai, Kenya we cultural development. China is developing because of their culture, Americans also developed because first they developed and protected they culture of individualism form contamination by communism. For us in the Global South to develop we have to protect our community property and culture kind of ownership, our values to earn respect and to develop. Motivation for producing information is not money in our culture, doing good to the society is. â€�It has been taken for granted (in the Global South) that any wise man writing something is motivated by the ideal of doing good to the society. The idea of financial remuneration to the writer of the book was alien to the ancient societies (the Global South).â€�Malhotra, D.N. (1995) How were the needs of the information providers met then? The same author continues: â€�Ancient societies worked on the assumption that the worldly needs of the sages, the wise men, the intellectuals and the writers were to be taken care of by the society. Therefore, the idea of payment to the writer, and that the writings of an author were his property, seemed quite naÃ¯ve to them.â€ (ibid)
Copyright creates a monopoly in the market
By copyrighting information, the person granted the copyright becomes sole owner. This crates monopoly and monopoly means, no competition. Without competition, the price of information will increase and increase as long as it (information) remains relevant. The North, with better knowledge infrastructure, will produce more information that the Global South and this informationâ€�s price will be dictated by them at the detriment of the Global South. Copyright is unfair in that two or more people with the same idea (it is very possible) cannot be allowed same expression of their ideas. This make only one expression of an equal idea can exist in the market leaving the consumers with no choice and making the copyright owner the master of the trade. Monopolizing of information keeps prices high and the net effect is to deny those who cannot purchase the information the chance of getting knowledge which could motivate them to be innovative and creative. Innovation is born from the urge to support or reject the ideology presented on other peopleâ€�s creative work.
Implementation of international copyright law creates unequal exchange
Implementation of international copyright law is the greatest injustice that ever happened to the Global South. International intellectual property rights works in a way that every country that is a signatory protects the works, published in other member countries, in that country. Why is it an injustice then? The Global South is disadvantaged as it doest have enough knowledge infrastructure thus do not produce knowledge for export. They do not need protection in other countries. Should they protect others in their own? And by doing so, putting their citizens between a stone and a hard place. First the citizens cannot legally copy the information published in other countries and second they cannot purchase it because; it is not available at reasonable prices. Thirdly, the information is required to teach, train, and educate. Implementing the international copyright law in the Global South is to the detriment of the Global South. This law when implemented by the Global South will lead to prosecution and sentence of the Global Southâ€�s citizens for having the initiative to equip himself with knowledge which could be used to develop the country. Some countries calling for international application of copyright only joined after they had the capability to export information created by their authors/creators. Examples of these countries are USA, 1952, Russia, and China, 1990s.
Democracy is not allowed to thrive in making of the international copyright law
The method used to come up with the international copyright law is undemocratic. These laws were made without reference to the needs of the Global South and the possible disadvantage they could have the Global South. Democracy according to Book, M. (2006) is â€œâ€�is not only a question of the formal structures of decision making, nor even of participation and majority power, it is also an issue of openness and tolerance.â€�If this definition is anything to go by, then there was no democracy in making of the international copyright law; there was no openness, the North hid neo-liberalism in pretence to protect creators of information. There was no tolerance, the Global South concept of ownership i.e. community property and culture approach, was not considered. What we have is the North makes the laws and base them on their culture the force the Global South to comply. We should have either make our laws that are addressing our needs and seeks to solve our problems or have to quit from the international copyright agreements.
The problems with the 1971 Paris revision to the Berne convention
The 1971 Paris Revision to the Berne Convention and the Universal Copyright Convention gave provision for the granting of compulsory reprint or translation licenses for books needed for educational purposes in member states which have claimed official status as developing countries. This revision was made after the countries of the Global South complained that they were not able to access information because of the copyright laws they enacted and because of the signing of the convention(s). The countries of the North had hitherto resisted allowing the countries a unique treatment because they were equal members. They finally obliged out of pressure of the countries of the Global South mainly India threatening to quit. But what they give solved the problem at hand and crated more problems that it solved. The problems are hereby outlined.
No access to current information
This revision allows a publisher in the Global South to apply for a compulsory reprint or translation if the document is not available in the Global South. This is only possible if the document has been marketed in the North and has been sold such that the Global South has knowledge of its existence. By the time it is applied for, it is not current, the original publisher gets a chance to earn royalties in selling something that is outdated! The quality of licensed edition is frequently very low reducing usefulness of the book to the end user This is because the publishing firms in the Global South cannot be comparable to those in the North. Their products are cheaply made and also the translation and reprints could have errors that could arise out of incxpertise. This will lead to materials that will have reduced usefulness to the final user of the information. This is a disadvantage to the Global South as the information that will be available to them will be different from that the North has access to and ours is distorted and invaluable.
Low cost edition and international studentsâ€™�edition give an unfair competition to locally produced information materials
Because licensing leads to less useful materials to users and detrimental to the efforts of the author and the producer, the North has invented methods of availing the information in the North to the Global South. These methods include low cost editions and international studentsâ€™�editions produced by the assistance of Northâ€�s government such as Educational Low-cost Books Scheme (ELBS) in Britain. These editions are distributed to the Global South at low cost because the publishers have been paid subsidies to do so giving the locally produced books an unfair competition and taking the chance of the Global Southâ€�s publishers to reprint or translate.
The local publishers depend most on licenses thus killing motivation of creator in the Global South
This revision makes the Global Southâ€�s publishers depend most on foreign licenses which will come ready and have already market thus do not require budgeting for marketing and promotion. This makes the local authors to lose their hope to see themselves in print and eventually kill motivation and creativeness. Another negative effect of this is it will create a connotation in the Global South that only the North can produce quality information thus we will get what they want us to get and know what they want us to know. They get to be in control of the fuel of development. This is having information in the wrong hands.
This revision makes the Global South dependent on the North as sole source of information
By providing us with information for reprint and translation and also providing us with low cost and international studentsâ€™�editions, the North makes us depend on them on our academic and educational information. The picture they give us is that of powerful North and dependent, poor, diseased, and dangerous Global South full of wars, inequality, and election rigging. We end up being brainwashed that it only when we speak English, French and German that we can be civilised and educated. We lack information materials in our own languages; we lack information materials with local content and so never develop socially, culturally, economically and politically.
Creation of branches by the North kills local publishing and authorship industry.
Another option provided by the provision is that the North could provide information to the Global South itself instead of giving out licenses. This provision gives the publishing and producing firms opportunity to set up branches in the Global South. With the support form the headquarters the branches get to publish quality books and sell them at low cost beating the local publishing firm out of the market. The premise on which the multinational firm is built on will dictate the material it will publish and that which it will reject; a material like the one you are reading now will be rejected!
Taxation on royalties
The North publishers claim that by having the taxation of royalties only meagre payments reach the copyright owner, thus, it is uneconomical to give licences to local publishers. This argument leads them to ask for tax waivers on the royalties they earn and they have writers to support them: â€�I have advocated that there should be no tax on royalties at allâ€¦. The copyright fees called royalties should not be taxed at allâ€�Malhotra, D.N. (1995) if the governments of the Global South and agrees and let the publishers from the North earn tax-free profit would be letting the North steal from the Global South. The economy will be affected and every profit should be taxed furthermore, the local ones are being taxed.
Information should be for sharing not for selling
This is made possible by the new media- internet- which affords the creators of information cheap means of processing and distribution of information eradication the barrier of copyright and the publishing firms. Authors can publish their materials and share without requiring the help of established media and publishing houses which world require him to transfer his copyright to them. When you go on-line, most information is available for free. Other users are happy to share music, movies and software with you. People spend hours building websites which they don't charge you for visiting. You are invited to join list servers which will fill your in-box with e-mails every day. What makes the new media into something new is the vitality of these non-commercial activities. Information is for sharing not for selling. Knowledge is a gift not a commodity.
Return to our culture and honour creators of information in a humane way
Copyright has failed to offer incentive to the creators of information because, first not all information creators are motivated by money and two, the need for the corporations to fight for them has changed priorities from motivating to profit making. Going back to the way the sages, the wise, and the knowledgeable people were honoured in our culture is one of the solutions to archiving decommodification. Authors are important people and they should earn from where they work i.e. the materials they produce. The government should have an independent funding scheme for paying all recognized authors who contribute to the society positively and assist the authors in dissemination of their materials so that every body in the country has access to the information. Secondly these information creators will be allowed to organize public lectures, teach in universities, collages and schools so that they disseminate the knowledge they have to the leaders of tomorrow. Copying of works will not be restricted as long as moral rights of the author are observed: these are right to integrity- right of the author to object to derogatory treatment of his work; right of paternity- the right of the author to be identified as the author or editor or director of the work; and false attribution- the right of the author not to be credited with things he did not write or say.
The creators can be supported by donations to provide information free
Another option available is for the creators to receive donations from willing people and organisations to further their work. This will work very well in the electronic environment where the costs involved are less. The wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia offers information free of charge and is supported by public donations. Other organisations that offer free information include non-governmental organisations, and individual websites.
Do away with international copyright laws and protect only locally produced works
This could harm the international relations but it will be to our advantage. Forstly, the number of information we export is negligible, if any, so we need no protection by the other countries. Secondly, by protecting locally created works we are strengthening our publishing and information industry. Thirdly, the information that will be available will be made by us, for use, to solve our problems and to develop us. There is nothing long to protect our own and not protect others, the developed countries did the same; the first United States copyright act was passed in 1790 which protected only the works produced in their own country. They only joined the international copyright protection in 1952 after they had enjoyed using other countries- Europe- works without restriction. Soviet Union did the same and joined in 1960s and china did same thing and joined in 1990s. Looking at this tread one can conclude that acquiescence comes with time just as Altbact, P.G. (1995) puts it: â€�copyright compliance comes naturally with economic and social developmentâ€
International Copyright law is the only law made to protect non-citizens form citizens. It is the only law made to suppress development of information industry in the Global South. Itâ€�s only fit for developed countries. Henry Chakava, a renowned Kenyan publisher in his conclusion of the paper â€�International Copyright and Africa: The Unequal Exchangeâ€�published in 1995 says that: â€œâ€¦.�It can be argued that, by signing, (international copyright conventions) book-poor African countries have compromised their human right of access to knowledge, and they will realize their folly when they will have acquired the much needed capacity to exploit these works, only to discover that the protectionism inherent in these convections and sealed by their own signatures have prohibited them from doing soâ€ Decommodifying information is the only true solution of development for the global south. By doing this, will have more information in the public domain increasing access and hence knowledge, we will have more and more local content in the information materials, we will have only what is good for the society as authors will be honoured according to their works value to the society, we will have our culture and heritage on our hands and not on individuals hands, and since all facets of development are dependent on information we will have equal development in all facets, in all areas o the global south (as there is no restriction to information access) and in all levels.
Altbact, P.G. (1995) â€�The Subtle Inequalities of Copyrightâ€�In Altbatch, P.G. (Ed) Copyright and Development: Inequality in the Information Age. Oxford, UK; Bellagio publishing network
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